posted by Rebecca Keenan | 0 Comments
The thing is, I'm a good swimmer. In a swimming pool at least. When it comes to the ocean though, it's a different story.
I left Mossel Bay Backpackers bright and early this morning to catch the Shark Warrior, the boat belonging to White Shark Africa. After 30 minutes of fast sailing we got to the dive site and after another 30 minutes the first sharks started to appear.
I suited up, waited my turn and...totally bottled it as soon as I was in the cage. I literally got in the cage and then asked them to take me straight back out. Embarrassing? Yep, just a bit. And you know what, it wasn't even that sharks that were freaking me out. It was the swell of the waves and the thought of being submerged. So childhood dreams of one day living on the Seaquest? Yeah, not sure those will ever come true.
However! I still had a fantastic trip. Around 6 sharks in total appeared during our time there. One female called Tricks came back a few times and she was a pretty playful girl, getting right up close to the boat.
It was amazing to see such incredible creatures in their natural habitat. They're such an important part of the ocean's ecosystem and one that's still sadly in danger due to things like the finning trade. Which, to be quite blunt about it, sucks.
Because seeing these sharks up close? Just really brought home the fact to me that they're incredible predators who are curious about their surroundings and are a vital part of life in the ocean.
Almost everyone else on the boat went down in the cage and they saw some amazing things including three sharks in the area at the same time. It was even amazing to see that from the boat as I believe great whites are mostly loaners so seeing them all together like that is rare.
After spending a lot of time observing the sharks, the cage was pulled up and we headed back to land. On the way, we even saw some dolphins which was an awesome way to cap the trip.
Once we were back on dry land (feeling a little wobbly as generally happens to me after a bit of a panic plus being on the sea), Mike who's the Education Programme Director at White Shark Africa recorded a podcast for me. He genuinely loves these sharks and I think that definitely comes through in the interview. It was really interesting to hear all about the education and research programmes the company is involved in.
Hopefully thanks to efforts of people like Mike and everyone at White Shark Africa, we'll be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these creatures for many years to come.
After all that excitement I went for some food and now I think a bit of a rest is in order. I'm starting to feel all this non-stop going. Tomorrow morning is my last morning in Mossel Bay though. I'm off to Cape Town in the afternoon where I'll have a couple of days off!