Adventurers Dive Log:Great White Shark Cage Diving and Pictures


Face-to-face with Jaws

by Graham Lambert, Capetown South Africa

As a diver, you have a slightly different view-point on the so-called extinction of the one thing you fear most. After all, the prospect of being someone's dinner is NOT a comfortable feeling. I was once harrased by a fairly large shark off Cape Point, but as it kept underneath me I could never be sure what it was.... but I had my suspicions! Since then I've wanted to meet number one on his own terms.

On Saturday 31, May I was priveledged to go on a Great White Shark Dive at Dyer Island near Gansbaai as a guest of JP Botha. It was a perfect day with flat sea and good viz, and as we headed out from Gansbaai, I couldn't help wondering if the delicate looking cage on the deck would keep me off the menu! We anchored over a reef just west of Dyer Island, and within 10 minuites a large, healthy, 4m great white female began to circle the boat. She cruised past, with a calculated look at us on the deck. It was an electifying first encounter! You really felt her sizing you up. At times she put her eye above the waterline and fixed you with that black, impassionate stare.

We were at sea for 6 hours and were constantly accompanied by at least one, and often up to 4 great whites, ranging from 3 to 5 metres long. My turn came to drop into the cage - taking great care not to miss the narrow opening at the top! I sucked hard on myr demand valve and stared out at the blue green wall at the limit of my visibility 8m away. Suddenly she was there, right in front, coming straight at me. No fear. No hesitation. She is the boss, supremely powerful and awsomely graceful. No wasted effort, she seemed hardly to move, more like a torpedo than a fish. Then there were two and I didn't know which one to face! They bumped the cage, tased the bars and gave me that spine-chilling look. After a bit I felt brave enought to reach out through the cage and touch them just after the terrible mouth went past. I had an hour in the cage and they never left me. This truly is a magnificent creature, unchanged for thosands of years, and very much worth preserving. It was a spiritual experience to be so close to death and live.

Adventurers Dive Log

Graham Lambert's Site