Great White Fascination

Leaving Simons Town harbour on the way shark cage diving. Seal Island False Bay

My first season with African Shark Eco Charters has been a whirlwind of dramatic hunting sequences, teeth, claws, flying sharks, chewed decoys and excited tourists.  The 2012 great white shark season has been action packed and I have loved and appreciated every moment of it.

Last week on the Blue Pointer 2 a guest told me she was surprised to find that the crew members were as thrilled as the tourists were about seeing great white sharks.  She couldn’t believe we were so enthusiastic when we see the sharks every day… surely we get used to it and it gets old??  I can honestly say that the excitement never wears off. No matter how many times I have seen these unique predators, every day is different and extraordinary. What’s important to remember is that these great white sharks are rare; they are one of the rarest predators on the planet. Unlike other large predators great white sharks cannot be kept in captivity long-term, which makes viewing them in the wild the only option available and since their medium of life is the open ocean this makes them even more difficult to find.

Nature shows on television these days artificially skew the natural world; shot after shot of lion, leopard and great white shark are shown intimately to viewers. What viewers don’t understand is the many weeks and sometimes months it takes to get just one of the spectacular sequences shown in wildlife documentaries and because of this people sometimes have a false sense of how rare some species are, including the great white shark. This is the reason I am still excited everyday to see the sharks; my enthusiasm is so evident because I know how special and unique Seal Island is. It is literally one of only a few places on the planet you can go where you have a high likelihood of viewing white sharks in their environment. At African Shark Eco Charters we know how lucky we are and that passion is evident everyday at sunrise when we approach the island.

This season I have discovered a lot about sharks, but also a lot about people. As much as the sharks fascinate me, equally as intriguing are people’s intense feelings towards sharks. People love or fear or hate or reveal sharks, or feel a complex combination of many emotions, but, whatever they feel they generally feel it strongly. People are transfixed by sharks, myself happily included.  We are passionate about them; even though and perhaps because, we don’t fully understand them. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had this year to influence people’s opinions about these remarkable and often misunderstood predators.

Please come join us next season, starting February 2013, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will not soon forget!

 

Allie Skidmore