Great white sharks are like a ripped sports figure mixed with J. D. Salinger and that guy from high school you follow on Facebook who still continues to get cooler than you with age. We are looking to throw ourselves to the sharks in June (the beginning of the peak season for shark sitings which runs through August) when we are in Cape Town for the Put Foot Rally. We’ll be the ones in ill-fitting shorts staring down the linebacker. The internet assures us that these beasts of the open water have gotten a bad rep and that their bites are often only “sample tastings.” Since we assume we taste like an old rubber band ball wrapped around beer-soaked whale blubber, we should be good to get out with only a scratch. They also have pores around their eyes and nose, which are extremely sensitive to smell and magnetic fields. Our magnetic personalities should be repelled by the odor, especially if we pursue this adventure after 16 days living together in a truck. All of this to say, you don’t scare me with your three rows of teeth! Not enough to miss getting to see them up close.
Have you ever noticed that you don’t see great whites in aquariums? That is because the one thing they can’t survive is captivity. They will swim into the glass over and over until they die from injury or stress. A cage dive or breaching tour is about the only way to get a look at them in person. They are so elusive to us mere humans that even science knows very little about their mating, gestation, lifespan and such. Maybe that is why such brutal tales are told.
We are looking into White Shark Diving Company in Gansbaai, which is a couple hours drive outside Cape Town and takes you to Shark Alley. Dyer Island is around the corner and home to about 50,000 fur seals, otherwise known as a shark buffet. One thing that draws us to this company is their work toward education and conservation, which is a handshake away from our goals with these adventures.
Know of other companies you would suggest? Should we add a breaching tour to see them in their full magnificence? Have you dived and survived? Because we all remember this viral video from a few years ago.