This time when the alarm went off, we didn’t mind. It was early in the morning and we had a lot planned. My dad, grandpa, and I piled into a van for a 2 hour trip to Gansbaai, South Africa.
While on the drive we drove up the side of a mountain and on the top we saw something peculiar. The mountain was filled with orchards, vineyards, factories, and even big towns. The two hours felt like two minutes because there was so much to look at.
We finally arrived at a place called “Marine Dynamics” and there we were met a marine biologist who gave us safety instructions. She also went on to show us an informational video about Great White Sharks which told about their current position and how they’re given the label “vulnerable”.
After she finished talking, she led us to the boat where we’d go to the sharks’ feeding grounds for the next 4 hours. The crew
members would bait the ocean using chum and have two people on each side of the boat with decoys of fish heads tied onto a rope to get the shark as close to the cage as possible.
We were the last group to get in the cage because it could only fit 8 people at a time, and each group was in the cage for around 45 minutes, depending on the shark activity of the area we were in. The crew said we got, “extremely lucky,” because the shark activity of the waters was very heavy.
When we finally got inside the cage, the ocean water was extremely cold. However, we weren’t going to let that get in the way of us being able to say we “swam with the sharks.” Seeing these wild predators literally several feet away from me was the most amazing thing I had experienced in my life.
About halfway through our time, one of the sharks was able to grab hold of the bait before the crew member could pull it back. The shark jumped out of the water so fast, grabbed the bait, then slammed into the side of our cage right next to my dad and I. This obviously caught us off guard, and caused us to lose our balance and hit the back of the cage. When our time was up, the crew opened the cage for us to start climbing out, but as soon as they did so, a shark ran into the front of our cage with its mouth wide open, proving to be the scariest thing I have ever been through. I can still see all its teeth right in front of me, but it also gave us a nice goodbye to the legendary apex predator of the ocean.
Once we finally got out of the cage we were given hot chocolate and told to change out of our wet suits when we got back to the building. We got back, changed, then had a quick snack before heading back to Cape Town. With another 2 hour drive ahead of us, we spent that time talking about the sharks and looking through all the glorious pictures we took.
Quickly we arrived in Cape Town, where we then decided to have dinner and do some more shopping. We didn’t stay out too
late because we were all extremely exhausted after everything we had done that day.
Back at the hotel, we got ready for bed, and this time the internet was good enough for us to send a text back home to my mom. All we did was send a picture of us in the cage, followed up by our pictures of the sharks. Once we were done, it didn’t take long for us to fall asleep after the most exciting day in Africa yet.