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October 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Shark Explorers, Cape Town, South Africa

only if you must see great whites in any way possible

from the October, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Great white shark diving is a big business in Cape Town, so many American divers headed to South Africa for a land safari often set aside a couple days to dive with the big guys. Trouble is, like any sort of diving, trips get canceled, and if yours does during high season, you may find yourself shut out of shark diving. One of our veteran reporters took his chances and, well, his trip was canceled and he struggled to find another option, a pretty bare-bones one at that. Should the sharks of Cape Town be on your bucket list, go forewarned.

* * * * *

Dear Fellow Diver:

Admit it. You've seen Jaws umpteen times. You watch Shark Week every year, have seen Big Fluffy banging on the cage off Guadelupe Island, were amazed by the size of the female great whites at Stewart Island and gawped over Air Jaws erupting from the sea in South Africa. And you know you want to see the teeth. You want to see "lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes." You want to be in the cage. I admit it, too. So it was on a recent trip to South Africa that I found myself off Seal Island, shoulder-deep in 55-degree water, clinging to the top of a re-bar cage, waiting.

Shark cage diving, Cape Town, South AfricaI had originally booked a one-day trip with Go Shark Diving. They were to pick up my buddy and me at 8:30 a.m. from our Cape Town hotel, drive two hours to Gansbaai, provide wetsuits, put us in the cage, call the sharks over, chompclick, chomp-click, and we'd be out of the water and back to the hotel by 4:30 p.m. No sweat. So I was damn well put off when they called me the day we arrived and canceled the next day's trip, due to "conditions," or high seas. With only two full days in Cape Town before heading off to a safari camp, that left only one possible shot for my Bucket List trip. Go Shark Diving said they'd call back the next day and let us know if a trip in two days was possible....

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