Very unpredictable ‘sharkyness’ has been going on all week! We have gone from one extreme of great white shark behaviour, to another. Towards the end of last week the visibility around Seal Island, False Bay was incredible. At one point we were anchored in 12 metres of water, watching seals swim around the boat in crystal clear water – almost unheard of! We could clearly see the rocky substrate on the bottom, and therefore any activity beneath the surface. Unfortunately for us, this clear water meant the sharks were very chilled and slow, to the point where we waited for over 2 hours for a viewing. For our afternoon trip that day we explained the situation to the guests, and told them to expect longer than usual waiting time – especially as it was a fully booked boat with everyone wanting to go into the cage. However, the great white sharks always love to prove us wrong, and this was no exception. The whole afternoon was filled with hit after hit, great cage diving viewing, and a couple of very big great white showing their smiley faces after the bait! This is part of the reason I love this place, it is so unpredictable! Our crew can be out there for up to 10 hours a day, and we will still have no clue as to what may happen! These beautiful creatures are an absolute mystery, and force unto themselves! Which makes every single trip as exciting as the next! Case in point came from a returning guest this week. He remembered me from his trip last April, and as we all leapt around with excitement over the sharks this year he turned to me and said ‘ Do you know my favourite thing about you Kim? You are just as silly now about these animals as you were last year”. I take that as a compliment : ), although I fail to see how anyone could be any different!
I imagine every week there will be a stand out moment on the African Shark Eco Charters boat, and the one for this week was a shark jumping out as we anchored, hitting the side of the cabin (our new crew member Luke actually had to dodge out of the way), and then falling back into the water. Lukes face afterwards was a picture, and all he managed to say was, “That was a shark…..”
We have been very lucky with our guests this week too! Our three youngest cage divers all did so well! Miguel from Portugal chose to come onboard with us for his 9th birthday, along with his 11 year old sister, and mother and father; who all got into the cage together! As well as Tess (11 years old) who did amazingly in the cage, and loved it! The cage diving isn’t for everyone, and we are very careful about putting youngsters into the cage and explaining how it all works, but all 3 did a great job and hopefully now have some fantastic stories to tell their friends back home!
Over this long Easter weekend we have missed a couple of days at sea due to some strong winds flying around False Bay, but we are sneaking in trips as and when we can. Saturday morning was touch and go for a little while as winds were slightly stronger than predicted, but after finding a great spot at Seal Island we decided to stick it out. And lucky we did! Wow! Immediately after anchoring a great white took a seal from right next to our boat! But he was not a very good seal killer, and it took him several minutes on the surface to eat his prey. Meanwhile giving us a great show only metres away! And from that start the sharks’ behaviour around the boat was very active. We had at least 3 active sharks (The all seem to be called Mark at the moment…. Mark 1, Mark 2, and 3!). They made sure we lost a few baits that morning, mostly as the glare on the water meant it was very hard for us to spot the sharks coming! Several great views of white sharks with their mouths open coming out of the water were seen from our boat. And it wasn’t just above water that we were having active viewings. At one point we went to take the guests out of the cage, and they told us they had been watching sharks beneath them for 10 minutes, which we couldn’t see at all from the suns glare!
The common dolphins are seen on most trips, although not in such huge numbers since we saw the orcas! A couple of Brydes whales fed near the boat for hours on one morning trip, bait balls are seen daily, with birds, dolphins and whales feeding on them, and there clearly is a lot of plankton in the water! Shark activity seems to be picking up, predations are definitely on the increase with one or two being seen on trips now. It seems our bay is waking up…..!! Come and see for yourself!