We holed up in Hermanus as a midpoint between Cape Town and the dive spot, Gansbaai. Hermanus is apparently the best land-based whale watching spot; however, according to the locals, the whales were being shy at the moment. We were a couple of weeks too early for the whales. Not much in Hermanus, otherwise.
In our boredom, we created a new drink: the Hermanus Hammer. Not good and i don’t think it will catch on. Grape Fanta, Jaeger, Red Bull and Vodka.
After our Hammer invention, we were pretty tired and went to bed in our 5 bed hostel room. Maybe it wasn’t a five star hotel…or even a one star, but…well, there are no positives.
The next morning we drove up the coast to the dive spot, Gansbaai. http://www.sharkcagediving.net/ was the tour company, and Brian McFarlane was our company. Apparently, he is of some fame…and he was great. Very excited to captain and show us the sharks. The harbor is a rocky enclave that the boats need to shoot through the surfline to get out…needs a little work. After getting through the break, it is about a 10-15 minute ride to a small island and its neighbor island. The small gap is called “Shark Alley” which is the highest concentration of great whites on the planet.
The tour boat is 51′ and holds 40 people. We had 36 people on our tour, and groups of 8 people were in the cage at a time. With the chum, tuna head as bait and the seal decoy, the sharks arrived immediately. We saw between 10-12 great whites, that were between 12-15 feet and weighed about a ton.
They were massive, curious, quick, powerful, graceful and scary. It was awesome. You stand in this cage with your eyesight at the water line. As a shark is nearby, the crew yells a shark is coming and you lower yourself into the water to watch them swim, eat and explore. (Except the English guy next to me- he told me it was safer to look from above…With no sound, it was eery; you would be looking one way at a shark and gaze to the other side and a huge shark would be 5 feet away. Humans really have no chance against them. That being said, they weren’t too interested in us or the boat at all once the bait was removed from the water.
At certain points, the sharks would come straight up and attack the seal decoy at a good pace, which was spectalur. They can accelerate very quickly and when you are in the path of their wake, it is quite impressive how much water they displace.One group, entering the cage with great whites around, screamed, “close the lid!! Please.” Pretty funny, actually.
After everyone gets a dive, if you are interested, you can go back in, which we all did. Glad we had a cage…and overall a great experience! Well, not the part when they dragged a dead tuna’s head over my head…but everything else was pretty amazing.