There are three shark cage diving “hot spots” for viewing the Great White Sharks in South Africa. These shark cage diving “hotspots” include Seal Island in Mossel Bay, Dyer Island and Geyser Rock near Gansbaai, and the infamous Seal Island in False Bay, which is also home to the “flying” Great White Sharks.
Our shark cage diving trips depart from Simon’s Town pier, which is only roughly 40 minutes from Cape Town, and it is a short 20-25 minute boat ride to Seal Island, False Bay. A full safety briefing and overview of the trip is given before each shark cage diving trip.
Our morning shark cage diving trips depart for Seal Island in the pre-dawn darkness at 07hoo, as this allows us to maximise our chances of seeing the natural predation interactions with the Cape Fur Seals during our peak season (June – August), which can often lead to the Great White Shark exploding out of the water with such intense shear force in pursuit of it’s prey. All guests are briefed on what to be on the lookout for, as well as information regarding seal movement and the sharks hunting behaviour.
Once the natural predation activity has quietened down, we try for a short decoy tow using a fake cut out carpet seal where we attempt to get the great whites to breach. Towing of the decoy allows for the best photographic opportunity. Being eco-sensitive, we only do this for a limited period.
We do an inspection lap of the Island before anchoring up to begin the shark cage diving, giving information on the animal and bird life that is found on Seal Island, as well as a history of the island and structures that are to be found on it.
We then choose the best spot to anchor up at the Island with regard to wind and swell direction so that we can begin the shark cage diving, and the shark cage is lowered into the water. A bait line is put in the water as well as the carpet seal decoy, so as to lure the sharks closer to the boat and cage. Every precaution is taken not to injure the shark. We do not feed sharks, nor touch sharks. We are NOT an adrenalin outfit. The Great White Sharks sometimes arrive in minutes, while at other times, long moments can pass without seeing so much as a dorsal fin. When they do arrive however, they are often very cautious at first.
The first divers will then put on their wetsuits that we provide and will slowly enter the cage to begin the shark cage diving. The Great White Shark is a very curious animal and will often circle and come up to the cage, as if to get a “personal” look at the diver, while you are having a personal look at it. Shark cage diving is extremely safe and the our two-man cage is strapped and secured to the side of the boat at all times during the dive. We also use SCUBA for our shark cage diving, and no previous diving experience is needed to join us on one of our shark cage diving trips. The average dive time is 20 minutes depending on the shark activity. Once everyone has had a go, then a second dive is allowed for those interested in diving again. The crew is highly trained and safety is of utmost importance. Should you not wish to participate in the shark cage diving, you will still have excellent views of the Great White Sharks as they are surface feeders.
One of the several on board guides will interact with the clients during the course of the shark cage diving trip to supply information and answer any questions the guest may have.
Once each guest that wants to dive has had their turn at shark cage diving, we head back to Simon’s Town harbour, hopefully having changed the misconceptions of these magnificent creatures into positive views about the Great White Sharks.