A creature that remains one of the ocean’s great secrets is the great white shark. Mysterious, cloaked in myth, superstition and an abundance of bad press, there are few known actual facts about these elusive predators. We do know that they are far more fearsome in our imaginations than in reality. Perhaps it is because we know so little about them that we fear them so irrationally. While we know a lot about their physical characteristics and internal physiology and even a good deal about their feeding behaviour, this is where the knowledge ends. How much of their behaviour is ‘learned’ in terms of intellect and how much is instinctual remains a great mystery. While great white sharks often display high levels of curiosity, it’s hard to say if this is based on complex intelligence or a more visceral characteristic based on being an opportunistic feeder.
The social behaviour of great whites eludes us still. Although solitary, we know they congregate around large food sources, like Seal Island, where there seems to be a distinct pecking order, taking into account sex and size. However, interactions besides those around food, have never been documented. It’s also puzzling that some white sharks have been known to swim vast distances, thousands of miles, while others seem content to have a smaller range. The patterns and purpose of the sharks that do migrate has yet to be discovered. Also, mating in great white sharks is far from being understood. No one has ever seen white sharks mate or give birth, although we know that the eggs hatch inside the female and are born live and are about one meter in length. While we know that white sharks take a long time to become sexually mature, about 12-15 years, the where, how and frequency of mating is unknown, as is the gestation period.
While the science ‘sound bites’ on the news these days tend to be reserved for Mars exploration, in my opinion, it would be better to know and understand more about the workings of our own planet before spending trillions of dollars heading off into the stars. It’s unbelievable really, how vast our ignorance of the ocean remains at this day and age. The ocean’s mysteries are fascinating; even within this one species, the great white shark, there is still so much to be discovered.
Come shark cage diving with African Shark Eco Charters and get a glimpse into the secret life of a great white shark. Come appreciate the unknown.
Here is some info about our trips for you to read.
Simon’s Town is just 40min from Cape Town and the base from where our boat departs early in the morning. A short 20 minute will take you into False Bay, famous for the great white “Flying Sharks”, a term used for their highly athletic breaching and hunting behavior.
NO QUALIFICATIONS for shark cage diving are necessary! The cage floats just under the surface of the water, and it is situated alongside the boat. Only two enter the cage at a time, all scuba equipment stays on board and only the scuba hose enters the cage, allowing you to enjoy a great dive without cumbersome, heavy tanks and gear.
The average dive time is 20 minutes depending on the shark activity. Once everyone has had a go, then a second dive is allowed for those interested in diving again. The crew is highly trained and safety is of utmost importance.
The Great White is a very curious animal and will often circle and come up to the cage, as if to get a “personal” look at the diver, while you are having a personal look at it.
Transfers: Optional: Return transfers from designated pickup points in Cape Town
Duration:Approx 5.5 hours. The trip departs from Simon’s town at 7am sharp and returns at 12h30.
How many guests on the boat? 12. We don’t want you just to be a number, which is why, unlike many other operators we choose to take out only small groups, making it a more personal experience, as well as then being able to spend enough time sharing our love and knowledge of the great white shark with you.
How many divers in the cage? 2 maximum. Not 5-8 like a lot of other operators.
Do you offer scuba? Yes All diving equipment is supplied. No diving experience is necessary.
Does using scuba affect the sharks coming to the boat? No. In our experience working in False Bay since 1996, we have found that the bubbles or scuba noise have no effect on the great white sharks.
Do you use shark liver to attract sharks? No
Do: Come along even if just surface-viewing.
What to do: Our guides try to chat with all the guests but its very hard if you are not open to talk “shark”. So, please ask questions! Engage with the guides. They love to share their knowledge and its much easier if you are open, talkative and show interest in the sharks. This is what shark cage diving is all about.
Shark Cage Diving Itinerary
05.45 – 06.00: Pick up in Cape Town (Optional)
06.45: Meet at the Simons Town Pier for briefing (overview of day). Do not be late.
07.00: Departure to Seal Island. Do not be late. The boat will not wait for you.
Tour around island, do an inspection lap. Choosing the best spot to anchor up with regard to wind and swell direction and start diving.The cage is lowered into the water to free up the working area on the deck. A bait line is put in the water as well as the carpet seal decoy. Every precaution is taken not to injure the shark. We do not feed sharks, nor touch sharks. We are NOT an adrenalin outfit. You will still have excellent views of the Great White Shark should you chose not to dive.
12.30. Return to Simons Town.
13.00 Transfer Back in Cape Town (Optional)
IMPORTANT- Please Note: We have a very high success rate, but we are working with wild animals. Please be aware of this, so you do not arrive with unrealistic expectations. Shark sightings and activity are never guaranteed and even during peak season there may be days when the sightings are lower than expected. No refunds will be made for non-sightings. We will however offer you a voucher for another trip.