Gansbaii in South Africa is known as a top spot for cage diving; a thrill-seeking activity unlike any other.
The Gansbaai shore is even referred to as ‘the Great White Capital of the World’, with cage diving being the main tourist attraction. It’s been reported the great white sharks attract the highest number of tourists to South Africa after Kruger National Park.
Year after year, tourists, cinematographers and marine biologists flock to the small fishing town to get up close and personal to the great white sharks which roam the infamous strip of sea known as ‘Shark Alley’.
Here, nestled between Geyser Rock and Dyer Island, these majestic beasts prey on seals, who stand almost no chance whatsoever against the predators’ razor sharp teeth.
Those brave enough are submerged below the surface in cages; getting an incomparable view of the underwater kingdom of the shark.
According to the Gainsbaai tourism website:
A typical white shark diving excursion takes between 3-5 hours, depending on the weather, sea conditions and shark behaviour.
Trips depart from Kleinbaai harbour and anchor site depends on the sea conditions, weather and previous shark sightings.
In the summer months the sightings tend to be more towards the shore and in winter the sharks tend to move to the islands where they start predating on seals.
However, sometimes the awe-struck gasps can all too quickly turn to petrified screams….
Nightmarish footage captured by a tourist in Gansbaai has emerged, showing a great white shark bashing its mighty head against the cage while investigating its appearance.
The underwater screams of the cage divers as they cower from the gigantic shark are heart-stopping, with one person audibly yelling, ‘oh god!’ as the shark churns up the water into a frenzy.
The shark goes away but circles back for another attempt; huge mouth horrifyingly close as it shoves its nose through the bars. The cage itself suddenly appears like nothing more than a flimsy plaything for the pitiless predator.
A view from above the water shows the shark’s fin speeding along the surface. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.
According to Marine Dynamics, one of eight shark cage diving operators in the Gansbaai area, the fear we have of Great Whites is ‘irrational’, and influenced by popular culture:
Great White Shark Diving in South Africa has in recent years become one of the most popular extreme sports. The prospect of being in a steel cage within centimetres of those powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth is enough to send icy chills down anyone’s spine!
The adrenaline rush, however, is mostly based on mankind’s irrational fear of the Great white shark. Let’s face it, the name ‘Great white’ generally conjures up stereotypical images of a blood-thirsty killing machine.
Movies such as Jaws and the likes have subconsciously brainwashed many into believing these apex predators of the ocean are mindless man eating monsters that will hunt, mangle and devour anything.
Subjective and overly sensational media reports on shark attacks have also, over the years, created mass hysteria and contributed to the unfair stigma attached to these elegant hunters. Thankfully, the truth is far different from the stereotype and it is our mission to display this to every client every day on our trips.
Marine Biologist, Alison Towner, joined by @Benfogle post his shark dive, doing an interview for one of his upcoming series 'Survival of the Species'. #SOS #ScienceSavesSharks #DiscoverProtectEducate pic.twitter.com/AjmPeO4Njf
— Marine Dynamics (@MarineDynamics) August 29, 2018
Sharks are beautiful, fascinating animals which of course deserve our upmost respect. I’d still be careful to keep my fingers well inside the cage though if I were you…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.