09 June 2009

The Great White Hope

The great white shark diving adventure is no longer a hope, it is an amazing reality! This by far was my favorite part of the trip. The day was ideal at 63 degrees, minimal wind, and zero clouds. The perfect conditions for going out on the sea. I was concerned when we were told that sometimes groups wait a few hours, sometimes only seeing one or two sharks make a few passes. Well, it was our lucky day! The coordinator told us that she hasn't had a day this busy with shark activity in five months!!! I was never nervous, but it took me a few minutes to acclimate to the ill-fitting wet suit (I think it was designed for someone 6' tall) and mask while trying to feel comfortable inside the cage. Grab the wrong bar and you could pull back a nub for a hand. The sights were absolutely incredible. It only took about 5 minutes before the chum attracted the first shark. Soon another joined, and others kept coming. Our crew told us that within two hours we saw 12+ sharks; no more than three around at a time. While we were in the cage, the crew would attract the shark with a large tuna bait thrown in front of the cage. The sharks would swim by, sometimes 3' away, sometimes inches. We would surface to catch our breath and rest, and when a shark was coming in, they would tell us to dive and look in a certain direction. The crew was able to bring the sharks to the surface at the side of the boat and pet their noses; yes, a real Jaws moment! We were told that the sharks we were seeing were juvenile and small (at about 3-4' wide and 10-13' long). The great white shark is being threatened. The large sharks are being killed for their jaws (to be displayed as trophies) and also for their fins. These large sharks are mating size and being killed off, creating the concern. The Great White Project, our tour company, was created to preserve and protect these sharks (logging each and every shark sighting).
I have no pictures to post because I was using a waterproof 35mm camera. I only hope the pictures and quality compare to what I experienced. Just ask Ricky Martin or Nicholas Cage, they've also been diving with The Great White Project.

HIGHLIGHT: Knowing that this adventure is unique. There is no greater population of great white sharks than off the coast of Dyer's Island, South Africa--where Shark Alley is located.


  1. Oh my...It sounds like you are having the time of your life!! Cannot wait to see the pictures!

  2. Daa Dumm....Daa Dumm!! Can't wait to see the pictures of Jaws! I'm sure you two are sorry to see this amazing trip come to an end. I know you will enjoy the memories. I'm sure you will be able to sleep on the plane even if you have another person hanging over the seat and snooring. Unless.......'Snakes on a Plane'??
    See you soon. Love
    Mom C

  3. AWESOME!! I'll have to let Joe read that. He keeps asking me "Has Mr. Coutras gone swimming with the sharks, yet?" ;-)
    Can't wait to see the pics!!
    When are you coming home?
    Talk to you soon!