July 05, 2003

Gansbaai and Great White Shark

I went today to Gansbaai and do Great White Shark diving. The water was a chilly 12C and visibility was poor, a brave 3m at most. All this in a rough sea. That said, we managed to see about 6 or 7 Great White sharks ranging from 4.5m to 1.5m for a small baby. I did not manage to take good pictures on the surface of the shark because it was really fast action and the swell did not make things easy.

Underwater, all hell broke lose as well, due to the swell, it was like being in a washing machine, because of the visibility it was worth than at the surface and you were seeing the shark at the last time, with the wind the boat and cage was constantly moving direction and changing dramatically light exposure. The best shot I have taken was a lucky one and was actually shot when I was adjusting settings of the camera by focusing of the close bait. Just when I pressed the shutter, the shark appeared in the frame.

I was quite lucky anyway. My first idea was to come to Gansbaai until I met a South African when diving in Protea Banks that told me it was better to go diving in Mossel Bay as operators where a little bit more business friendly. In case you don't see any shark they give you half your money back while they do not do anything in Gansbaai.

However you are pretty sure to see many sharks in Gansbaai, especially during winter where seeing 6-7 shark a day seems pretty common. In Mossel Bay you will be lucky if you see 3 of them.

On the price side, in Gansbaai they charge about 800R, in Mossel Bay about R900 (US$120). Compare this with prices charged in the US which is about US$775 for Great White Adventures. In South Australia there are expeditions with Rodney Fox that charge about $US2000 for a 8-day liveaboard. Operators in the US and OZ feature more intensive diving and water seems more pristine however (though that's what the brochure says, reality might be different and I don't want to pay that amount to check it )

In the late afternoon I left from Hermanus and went to Capetown. I managed to go to Ashanti Lodge thanks to my copilot ( a swiss girl I gave a lift from Hermanus Backpackers and who is working in Capetown with pinguins. Sounds weird, I know.) and found Celine there (I met her in Zambia and we went to Chobe together).

We then went out in town to have dinner and get a few drinks and went back a little bit smashed around 3AM.

Posted by stephane at July 5, 2003 12:38 PM