Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sharks and Then Some

Today, Saturday 22 January, 2011 (I'm beginning to loose all sense of time, running on "Africa Time.") 

Shark diving has been the thing I was most looking forward to doing here in South Africa. I have an odd fascination with marine life, in particularly the sharks, and what better to see than the Great Whites! I somehow met a group of friends here who were just as into this idea as I was, so off we went! The bus picked us up at our hostel in Cape Town, (we left Mamre for the weekend so we could make the most of our down time from the schools), and took us on the two hour drive to Gansbaai, South Africa where "Shark Ally" is. We had to be ready at 445am to leave which was rough, but honestly I had so much excitement I didn't even need to sleep on the bus ride there. We got on the boat around 8 and got outfitted in wet suits. I had a ton of trouble with mine because they gave me the wrong size. I had about 4 of the crew guys helping me pull up my suit and when it was all said and done I realised I could not breathe at all. The suit cut off at the top of my neck and I was done. They got me another suit but by that point I was suffocating like and started to feel sea sick. So I finally got into the proper suit and by this point at least 10 of the 12 of us started to feel sick. Needless to say, choppy Atlantic waters led to all of us vomiting off the sides for hours. Once it was finally our turn to go into the cage and see some sharks, all of the nausea went away. It was totally worth it to be eye to eye with a Great White! We saw some get quite close and one even thrashed its tail against the cage which threw us all to one side. The water was absolutely freezing, we had a bit of a "Titanic" moment with the shaking hands and quivering lips, but seeing those animals was just an unreal experience. 

The boat ride back was still choppy but this time we were also freezing cold. Some of the girls and I just cuddled as close as we could and covered ourselves up in whatever towels we could find. The crew were so nice, they saw us so chilly and offered their personal sweaters and jackets to keep warm with. The had a fireplace and hot soup at the office for us when we got back which was very comforting.

The bus ride back was another incredible experience. Our driver and tour guide (essentially) was so accommodating to us and took the longer route which drives up and down the coast. We saw some of the most beautiful, majestic scenery I've ever seen. (Okay, it was the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen). We stopped at this beach to take a few pictures and just took our time driving back. 

Tonight is a nice dinner downtown and some drinks, (by the way, drinks are super affordable here. A glass of wine is maybe 2 or 3 dollars USD and a cocktail is about the same) Tomorrow we have hired the same driver as today to drive us to the Cape of Good Hope and see the Southernmost Point in Africa, as well as check out the penguins and hopefully take a dip in the Indian and Atlantic Ocean.



1 comment: