Seeing great white sharks has always been a dream of mine. They are
the apex predators of the ocean and the only place you will see one (alive)
is in the ocean. A number of aquariums have tried to keep white sharks
in captivity, but every single one has become sick or died. Before traveling
to South Africa, I made plans to visit Gansbaai, the undisputed "Great
White" capital of the world. There are more white sharks here than any
other place on the planet. The primary reason is the location of Dyer Island
just offshore. This island has a cape fur seal population of more than
60,000 animals year round. During the winter months (May - August in South
Africa) the seals give birth and the area becomes a buffet for the sharks.
Because of the bottom terrain surrounding the island, the sharks are able
stalk their prey from deep depths and skyrocket upwards. It is for this
reason that 99.9% of all video you see of great white sharks breaching
was recorded at this location.
I visited the area during the beginning summer (early December), which
is the low season for shark activity. The young seal population has diminished
and the sharks move away from the island to feed on the large fish which
move up and down the shoreline. That being said, I was still fortunate
enough to see at least 20 different sharks over a two day period. Seeing
one of natures most perfected predators in their natural environment was
a truly thrilling opportunity.
Gansbaai is located on the southern-most coastline of
the African continent, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet.
White Shark Diving Company
This is the entire harbor of Kleinbaai.
Driving down the beach to the dive sight.
On the top deck waiting to launch the cage.
The cage never looks quite as strong when it's floating in the water
A young male great white, already longer than the cage.
Coming up for a bite.
This is what the sharks are feeding on during the winter months.
Nothing can compare to the smell of excrement of 60,000 seals that
eat nothing but fish.
The baitfish are attracted to the chum put out for the sharks.
Strict federal regulations only allow crews to use chum from fish products,
no mammal blood.