Do you recall the international headline about 17 volunteers in South Africa who decided to go shark diving one morning and it ended with their boat sinking and then each one being ripped apart by an army of great white sharks? No?
That’s what played through my head during the three-hour bus ride to Gansbaai at four in the morning. What if something like that were to happen? I can’t even imagine. That, however, was the least of my worries. The rocking motion of the ocean is what concerned me. I took one motion tablet before I left because every other excursion I went on, one tablet did the trick. Now that everything is said and done, I should have took two. Probably three.
After the bus ride, we finally made it to Gansbaai, the site of our shark cage diving adventure. The captain introduced himself and his crew members while we stuffed ourselves with breakfast. That was my first mistake. I was about to go on a boat for several hours with a full belly, knowing full well I succumb to motion sickness all too easy. I liked to look at it as, we’re fattening ourselves up for the sharks. My unselfish contribution to the food chain.
The ocean was wavy and I was fine on the way to the middle of it. And then we stopped and set anchor. That’s when I started to feel it. That’s when a handful of us started to feel it. But I was too excited to think about it. Especially when I saw a crew member throw chum into the water to lure the beasts. Their chum consisted of the biggest heads of fish I have ever seen. After about fifteen minutes give or take, we finally spotted a huge behemoth lurking beneath our boat. I underestimated the size of the Great White. I knew they were big, but to actually see them in their wild state is something else.
I was in the first group to go into the cage. The cage went about a meter or two in the water and could fit about five divers. I got in. And I started to feel it even more. Since we were the first group, it took awhile before the sharks started to come. And as I waited in the rocking cage, I became nauseous. I needed to see some sharks now before I puked all over my diving partners! And then finally they came!
They crept by directly in front of us looking all rugged and beastly. They had the look. The look like they knew they ruled the ocean. And they do. I knew it. They knew it. It was fascinating. Overtime, the sharks other shark buddies would come and swim around, underneath, and right in front of us. My sickness went out the window and I was mesmerized…
…But then my sickness came back through the window and said “Dan, time to get out before you puke all over yourself.” I got out and immediately took off my wetsuit, took a seat, and shut my eyes. You know that feeling where you don’t have to vomit, but you know you’ll have to eventually? That’s how I felt. But I wasn’t the only one. On the opposite side of the boat there was a row of sick people already vomiting overboard.
Some didn’t even go into the cage because they were so ill the whole time. After awhile, the sharks started to grow more aggressive and would even leap out of the water. I had to ignore my motion weakness and pull out my camera to get some shots. It’s not everyday you get to do this. I managed to get some decent photos for a few minutes.
Eventually I went to the others hanging over the boat to join them in a simultaneous puke session. I hope the other healthy volunteers enjoyed our contribution of “chum” to attract the sharks. My other unselfish contribution. Immediately afterwards, I felt fine. I learned my lesson…boats are the worst! Take three tablets next time 🙂
On our way back to the dock we passed Geyser Island, a haven full of seals.
There were hundreds upon hundreds of seals! It sounded like they were all shouting “Hey! Hey!” as we slowly passed by. It did smell pretty bad though. We finally made it to dock and were treated to a nice lunch with complimentary wine and beer. I was in no mood to drink after being on that boat, but I did however manage to snag a bottle of red wine for later on.
What? It was complimentary. 🙂