What happened at lunch time May 19th at Seal Island…?!

The last week has been hugely varied in terms of shark action on the African Shark Eco charters’ trips. Today was a prime example. Our morning trip started relatively slowly, we towed our seal decoy, had a shark make a slight lunge for the decoy but then head off. So we moored up, saw one great white shark swim past and then it went very quiet for a while. The call was made to change sites, and obviously as we pulled anchor only a few metres from our boat a great white took a seal! This is a very distinctive shark, as although we have never seen it come to our boat, we do see it in the distance chasing seals and breaching. Its dorsal fin looks like it has been chopped off at the top, so instead of pointing up out of the water its flat! My only guess is a boat propeller has cut it clean off but it does make it very easy to ID. We continue our location change and moved sites up to the Launch-pad, and here we picked up a few new sharks. None were very active, or termed a ‘player’ as we call the sharks that stay around interacting with the boat for a while. Nearly all the sightings were larger sharks, over 3.5m, who glanced at the bait but were not that intrigued by us.   But they still offered good cage sightings, and a bit of surface action. We were happy to see all these new sharks, as it means numbers are continually on the up!  Unfortunately the bad weather that’s passed through False Bay this week meant a slight chop on the water, so after everyone had seen in the cage we headed on home. The extra chop usually means the great whites are active, so it seemed quite strange that the sharks were so chilled out!

Meeting the afternoon guests in the African Shark Eco Charters shop I told them about our morning trip and answered the usual questions about shark numbers, behaviour that morning and so on. I wish I had had some idea then of what was in store for these guys!!!

There really are no words for how good our trip was. The sharks were on fire!! All new ones again, except for just one that we had also seen that morning. But in the one hour we had been absent from Seal Island something major must have happened. Wow!! The great whites were jumping out left right and centre – and that is not an exaggeration. We had breaches and predations next to the boat, full attacks on the bait, ai rborn sharks countless times! Every couple of minutes for the entire trip, a great white shark would appear out of the gloomy depths, or the sun glare and fly at the bait. Even with all of us spotting for the sharks, nearly every time they outwitted us. They were incredible. I’m sure they spent more time out of the water than in!!! It was like we were in a different place from this morning’s trip! The photos the guests got were national geographic level! Lots of teeth, lots of smiles, lots of streamlined gray and white bodies lunging out of the water. And that was just from viewings on the boat!!! Infact one guest decided to sit out the second cage viewing rotation as she said ‘from in the water they look so graceful, peaceful and relaxed when they are swimming. But viewing them from on the boat when they come in for that bait, it’s so exciting! You really get to see an unbelievable view of their behaviour; they look too ‘relaxed’ in the water’.

If we could pay the sharks to perform, then today would have been a millionaires performance. All of us crew were beside ourselves with excitement, we could not believe what was happening infront of our eyes! Infact if I had not been on the boat I would not believe the stories! The guests all fed off our enjoyment, as they realised that something special was happening . The cheering, banging, shouting and whooping coming from our boat, I promise they would have heard us back in Simonstown! I can’t wait to see the photos and videos from this afternoons trip on the African Shark Eco Charters facebook page, I had a small taster session back on the jetty and they were the stuff of dreams! I like these new visitors to Seal Island, fingers crossed they stick around for a while. These guys are ready for the shark high season!!!!

But the happiest news of the day had to come from one of our pregnant guests. She loved the trip, great whites and the cage diving so much she is going to call her baby after one of the crazy sharks we met this afternoon (yes, there may have been a little prompting from me….). Sad news for her that at the moment that shark is called Psycho….  J . We look forward to photos of Baby Psycho in a few months time!

So just to sum up, a message to the 5 sharks who made the crew and guests entire world this afternoon – Same time, same place tomorrow?? It really does show how unpredictable these creatures are, there is no such thing as ‘normal’ behaviour. Mooring in the same place, doing the same things only 1 hour apart and we had such different trips! However, one thing did stay the same – everyone had an amazing day J.

Kimberley