Cage Diving with White Sharks

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Aug 5th, 2004, 02:01 PM
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Cage Diving with White Sharks

Questions have been raised in another post about cage diving with white sharks and, so my information, doesn't get buried, I thought I'd start a separate post.

I went diving twice, the first time in May 2000 (with Jackie Smits' operation -- I thought the boat and trip were good but we saw only one shark for less than a minute from the boat) and the second in August 2002 (with White Shark Ecoventures). The second trip was great and this is what I will describe.

In August 2002, the dollar was much stronger than it now is and the trip was around $100 (included round trip van transfer from Cape Town, breakfast and lunch, the boat trip and diving, and a stop for whale watching in Hermanus on the return).

About 10 of us were on the boat, but, and I found this surprising, only four of us got into the cage. By the way, its not really accurate to refer to it as cage diving since we used a snorkel (apparently bubbles frighten the sharks).

The water was cold but tolerable, and the adrenalin rush keeps you warm.

I would suggest checking out the website for White Shark Ecoventures. I did a lot of research and based on research and recommendations, I thought they were the best.

Have fun.


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Aug 5th, 2004, 03:16 PM
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thit_cho-
Thanks for starting a separate thread on this. Good idea. And thanks so much for the info.

Hopefully, I'll get around to diving w/ these beautiful critters one day soon. Diving w/ the great whites might be the only thing that can surpass diving in the Galapagos Islands which, hands down, beats anywhere I've dived to date.

There is now a liveaboard dive experience near Guadeloupe Island off of the San Diego coast which offers great white shark diving. Geographically, it may be easier to get to but I'll use any excuse to get back to Africa.
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Aug 5th, 2004, 03:39 PM
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We used White Shark Project here is the link http://www.whitesharkprojects.co.za/
I liked their old website better. The new one is too cutesy.They also offer a 12 night shark safari
http://www.whitesharkprojects.co.za/index_2.htm
This tour is involves diving with shark other than white shark without a cage. Could be interesting for the experienced diver.
That said the experience we had with them was excellent. I don't know if it was the time of year but we saw 14-15 sharks. As I mentioned in the previous post the water was 15 degrees celsius but you don't feel it once you spot a shark. The waiting is what kills people.
There were 10 people on our boat also.
The cage held 3 people and was almost always full. Towards the end of the trip (around 2:00 pm) there were only 2 people in the cage. They saw most of the sharks. They were also bumped around a bit by a couple of sharks.
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Aug 5th, 2004, 03:58 PM
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Both you guys have had incredible experiences with them. Wow! Definitely is up there for out of the ordinary travel experiences. Not too many people can talk about diving with or seeing great whites.

Though the water is cooler than the Galapagos (which isn't very warm either) by quite a few degrees I think the adrenalin rush would work it's magic on me too!

It's just one of those things you really can't fully imagine till you do it. I can't wait and I don't even have a trip planned. Better get started!
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Aug 6th, 2004, 06:13 AM
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One other operator in Cape Town is African Shark Eco-Charters, which is owned and operated by Chris Fallows and Rob Lawrence. They have filmed a large number of Discovery Channel and National Geographic out at Seal Island (including "Air Jaws"), and I believe they are one of only 2 boats that have a permit to go to that island (everyone else goes to Dyer Island). Their boat only holds 4-6 people, so it would be a smaller-scale experience. We enjoyed our experience with them, but when we went in late September, the sharks had mostly departed from the island and we didn't get to dive. We are planning to go back to Africa, and try with Chris & Rob again, but this time in June or July, which is the peak season.
Their web site is http://www.ultimate-animals.com/

Chris
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Aug 6th, 2004, 06:53 AM
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Divewop, I have also gone diving/snorkeling in the Galapagos, and the two experiences are very different.

With the white sharks, you will of course be in a cage, and you will use a snorkel, not scuba. Also, I spent most of my time above the water and only submerged when the sharks approached.

Nonetheless, its a great experience and even though I have done it twice, I can foresee a third trip in the next few years.
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Aug 6th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Chris_GA_Atl-

I've seen all of Chris & Rob's specials and have visited the website before. I really loved that AirJaws when they filmed the great whites jumping out of the water. What great footage.

I have researched the months to go as well and do know that the prime viewing months for the sharks in S.A. are our summer months here in the states.

Did you only wear the snorkel did you put all the gear on? Just curious as to how different or similar each shark dive operator is.
By the way, do you by any chance live in Atlanta? Just curious from your board name.


Thit_cho-
I know the diving (or snorkeling) w/ the great whites will be extremely different than probably anywhere I've been but well worth it I'm sure.

By any chance, when you dove in the Galapagos, did you get a chance to dive at Wolf and Darwin Islands, the two northernmost islands? They are incredible and the pinnacle of what great diving is. Would love to spend a whole week just diving those two islands (as opposed to the three days we dove there.)
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Aug 6th, 2004, 08:10 PM
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Divewop -- we do indeed live in Atlanta. Rob & Chris use SCUBA gear, not snorkels. So you obviously have to be certified to go out with them, which I am.
If you liked "Air Jaws," you should also check out the recent Kratt Brothers' "Be The Creature" National Geographic Special, which was also filed by Rob using the same boat/cage/location where they take tourists. Rob told me it was filmed over two weeks last June.
Although we did not actually get to dive with the sharks when we went last September, we did see two attacks on seals (one successful and one miss) and we did see a couple of sharks cruise near the boat, but they did not hang around to be seen close up. We did see about half a dozen right whales on the way back in to Simons Town, though, and one of them breached, which my wife saw and I missed.
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Aug 7th, 2004, 04:06 AM
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Chris-
I also live in the Atl. Always glad to chat w/ a fellow diver (and Africa lover!) living here. And glad to hear Rob & Chris do use Scuba gear. I thought they did from the info on their website.

And I also do watch the Kratt brothers specials all the time but haven't caught the great white one yet.

There is another shark adventurer who frequents the islands off of S.A. in search of the great white. Amos Nachoum and his link is:

http://www.biganimals.com/gw_shark.html

He's a little on the expensive side but also has other great dive adventures throughout the world. And only takes a few people on each trip. Have not taken one through his outfit yet but definitely has my interest.
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Aug 8th, 2004, 04:47 AM
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Divewop -- excellent to hear it. Atlanta is a great place to travel from! Are you going to Cape Town any time specific to do a shark dive, or are you just in the planning stages?
Chris
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Aug 8th, 2004, 05:10 AM
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Chris-
Still in the early planning stages unfortunately. And I may try to get dry suit certified before I go. I don't know if my 7 mil and hood will be warm enough. I got by w/ it through the chilly waters of the Galapagos but for S.A. is sounds like I may need a dry suit.

You know the more I think about it, I should just move to S.A. since it has everything I'm looking for in a country. Great diving both w/ the whites and also in the Indian Ocean, great wildlife, beautiful landscapes, and big city life (just in case I need to go to one).

By the way, check out the below link. I actually may try to do this one first since it is so much closer. I don't know if you saw it but during shark week on Discovery last week, they had a special about the Guadelupe Island great whites.

http://www.sdsharkdiving.com

Looked pretty cool to me.
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Aug 9th, 2004, 08:53 AM
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Moving to SA sounds awesome -- Cape Town is the most beautiful city I have ever seen!
Re the dry suit, I know that Rob & Chris use wetsuits, but the water temp at seal island is something like 55 degrees year round, so when we go again, I am DEFINITELY going to get dry suit certified and take/rent one for the shark diving.
I did see last week's special filmed at Guadalupe. I have also seen white shark diving at Guadalupe on several other shows. However, all of the operations I have seen on TV either use snorkels or surface-fed air (neither of which appeals to me), and the cages they use seem a little insubstantial to me. They don't look as safe as the ones Rob & Chris use. So if you go there, I would definitely suggest looking at the cage before you sign up! I saw a report recently of a cage where a white shark basically ripped the door off with people inside, and I believe it was in Guadalupe.
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Aug 9th, 2004, 12:43 PM
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Chris-
I don't mind the door being ripped off the cage as long as someone else is in front of me

Seriously, thanks for the heads up that it's either snorkel or surface air w/ the operation in Guadelupe.

I'm with you on the diving. I have problems snorkeling now just because I automatically and subconsciously want to go under and stay. Unless I grow gills, that ain't working.

I'll check that website again. And/or do much more research before I go out there. It does say that several "dives" are done daily but it doesn't refer as to what style of diving.

And 55 degrees is nowhere near wetsuit diving for me. Yikes, that is cold. Brrrrrrr! Drysuit here I come!!
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Aug 9th, 2004, 01:00 PM
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Divewop -- the site you listed says they use "hookah" lines from an air source on the boat, which is exactly what I have seen on TV in Guadalupe. If the cage comes loose from the boat you would be screwed! Their cage also has huge gaps in it! I hate that!
You know there are a couple of operators that also do cage diving in the Farallon Islands near San Francisco -- that might be something to check out for a closer experience. My recall is that their rates are very high -- like $750+ per day. I was so spoiled in Cape Town, where you can go shark diving with famous filmmakers for $160 a day!
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Aug 9th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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OK, OK...you've convinced me to try it in S.A. If I'm going to do it, I might as well do it right! And do it w/ the filmmakers that I've enviously watched on TV.

Why spend that kind of money in San Francisco when I can spend it in Africa. I might as well go somewhere I'm passionate about and really want to be anyway.
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Aug 9th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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Just be sure to go in June or July. Rob told me they see up to 15 seal attacks per day during that part of the year, and there are lots of sharks around. But bundle up, becuase I bet it gets pretty cold in Cape Town that time of year!
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