To rendezvous with the sharks off the Cape coast means an early start – around 5am we bundled out to the waiting minivans for the two hour drive to the small fishing village of Gansbaai. After a hearty breakfast and introductory chat about the proceedings of the day we were off in our powerboat clipping along to ‘Shark Alley’ – a channel between Dyer island and the coast where sharks tend to loiter due to the presence of a seal colony nearby – their favourite food.
Once out on the water with the other boats, for there were already a handful, they started ‘chumming’ the water by pouring water with churned up bits of fish into the sea to pique the shark curiosity. Once piqued the lure was a big tuna head tethered to the end of a rope pulled past the cage itself. I was in the first batch into the water in our wetsuit and it was cold – flashbacks to childhood beach water cold on Ireland’s Atlantic coast!
At this stage they were merely curious and passing within a few metres of the cage hung somewhat precariously off the side the boat. Inside the cage there is a bar to hold onto but when a razor tooth filled two tonne mass is coming at you every fibre tells you to let go and pin yourself to the back of the cage!
By the time the second group were in it was all really getting going! Here are some photos Jen took with her underwater camera from inside the cage!
By the end we managed to get a second go in the cage and the sharks were really within arms-reach of us as they whizzed by. The water visibility wasn’t great and so this enormous creature would literally just appear from the deep with a second or two warning! Although knowing you are safe inside the cage there is a frisson of excitement to see such an animal up close – and a bit of fear I don’t think is entirely irrational and seems quite healthy!
That evening we headed for more fish encounters but less threatening this time. Heading over the mountain to Camps Bay for sunset was the perfect round off to the day.
The background of Table Mountain really is stunning in the evening sun and we stayed for sundowner cocktails by the beach before heading to Codfathers seafood restaurant.
Yours truly had taken the liberty of making a booking for our group but unwittingly had booked the branch in Joburg – luckily there was space!
We had the most delicious seafood selection, with wine and desserts – top notch service and it all came to £125 – for 8 people!