Cage Diving with Sharks, Recommended: Day 48


About six weeks prior, I had trouble jumping off a 12 meter cliff into beautiful teal waters. I danced nervously atop a rocky precipice and looked to the skies to counteract the damage done from staring at the water below. But for some reason, I had absolutely no trouble throwing a lead weight around my neck and getting into the chummy, bloody waters that would make a whale shiver. Not to mention, these waters had some terrifying inhabitants, man-eaters for sure, and it was only a couple steel rods between me and the world's scariest smiles. Chris and Carly were quite skeptical of this experience, but why was I so gung-ho? Sometimes my travel huevos just decide to show up, I guess.

And so, as the sun rose over the Western Cape of South Africa, Carly, Chris and I were boarding a small vessel equipped with wetsuits, soft drinks, and a five-person cage for great white shark viewing. Tying the cage to the side of the boat, five or six people piled in, looking like identical Scuba Steves, and awaited the sharks who were being tempted by tuna heads on ropes, bloody water, and chum a-plenty.

The first shark was a little guy, relatively speaking, and he went for the tuna head with patience and very little pre-meditation. Soon, there arrived a couple more bigger guys that had the fire in their eyes. One ran straight into the cage beside Chris' scared-stiff body, its razor sharp teeth squealing as they smashed against the metal. He emerged from the water frantic and not amused.

By the time I jumped into the thoroughly nasty waters, the bad boys circling our cage and boat were like swimming cars...with killer grills. I forgot to hold my breath a couple times and came up sputtering, taking in drops of the bloody, salt water, and nearly tossing chunks. Luckily, the adrenalin surging through my body kept me aware and together enough to know not to put my feet on the back of the cage and not thrash around to attract the beasts. And just as I was about to crawl out of the Southern Ocean, the grand-daddy of great whites went for the tuna head, putting his massive body vertical in the water and smack dab against our rattling cage. He could have eaten the Jetta parked in my garage at home.

Why did we go deep into frigid waters and taunt these terrors? What made us feel safe in this little, rocking boat? These adventure dudes sure know how to make you feel safe, and I am definitely pleased I saw such awesome nature all up in my face. Ah, travel huevos...if you've got 'em, utilize 'em...and go shark diving! Just listen to them when they say, "Don't try to pet the sharks. I know you want to. But...don't.”