Today I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to go shark diving with great whites. When you go cage diving it’s not just an exhilarating experience but also an educational one. Often sharks are only seen for their rows of razor sharp teeth, however, they are complex animals which are often misperceived due to media and television. They are curious animals whose interests in food lie with seals and not humans.
Our day started early, with a briefing on the animals themselves as well as the safety regulations put in place to keep both us and the sharks safe during the 3-hour trip. Once completed we were then lead onto the pier where the boat sat waiting. It took about 15 minutes to arrive at seal rock, a small island just off the coast where cape fur seals reside. It is here where the largest accumulation of great white sharks hunt and rest, making it one of the best locations to observe these apex predators. There were three sharks in total that we saw today. All were over 7ft in length, and that’s just the size of a juvenile! Mature great white sharks can get up to 13ft in length.
It truly is a strange feeling being in the water and knowing you are not alone. Going in I must admit I was quite nervous, with the media painting these creatures as deadly man hunters it becomes difficult to rid yourself of those sigmas. However, the moment I saw our first shark those sigmas changed. Sharks, especially great white sharks, are one of the top apex predators on our planet making it understandable as to why we should fear them. But they are more than that. Just like us they are rulers of their domain. They live, breed, eat, and die in their waters making them just as real and complex as ourselves. It is in my opinion now, after encountering one in its world, that they should be approached with respect. Yes, they could kill you and yes they do look mean, but just relying on those facts to classify them is wrong. Instead, we should view them as the animals they are beautiful, mysterious and powerful.