Sunday, December 2, 2007

Gansbaai and Great White Sharks

Tuesday, September 26th 2007: I decided to drive myself the 2 hours plus to Gansbaai (pronounced Hahns-bye) at 5:30 am. This was the king of bad ideas. 4 hours sleep, jet lag, anti nausea medication, left handed stick shift and driving on the wrong side of the mountain roads in the dark. This was much more dangerous than what was to come. Still, there is a unique sense of freedom in being behind the wheel and the ability to go wherever you want to. The unrealized potential, or the process of realizing the potential of freedom.

The way that most guides conduct the dive is to have 8-10 divers on the boat, with the cage holding 5. Because the water is cold, they rotate the divers on a steady pace. The view from up top is almost as good as the cage. On this day we saw 6 different specimens with the largest somewhere between 12-14 feet. Visibility needs to be 8-10 meters. Any less and the shark can be on top of you and you might not see him. Anymore and the sharks get spooked by the sight of the boat and stay far off. We had the best conditions today, as it was also just windy enough. To much wind and the waves are enormous, to calm and the sharks can see the boat from too far away.

I was in the cage for 2 hits. The sharks annihilated the tuna heads they were dragging as bait. The shark struck the cage with the full force of it's tail and bent some of the mesh of the cage. Only at that point do you get a sense of how strong they really are.

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