While we were munching turkey and mince pies our treasurer was having a rather different Xmas experience. Over to PJ:
“Just done the Great White experience, on a commercial boat out of Kleinbaii, near the southernmost tip of Africa. The location was a large bay with a backdrop of dunes and low mountains. The first shock was to discover that we would be getting into the floating cage with a water temperature of 10 degrees. 7mm hoody wetsuits were provided. Unfortunately I didn’t notice the bucket of boots until it was my turn to get in the water! The anchored cage was secured to the side of the boat, and the first seven climbed into the long cage, awaiting the instruction to descend to the bottom.
Encouraged by a bucket of diluted offal, it didn’t take long for a 2.5m shark to be around the boat, and attacking a large tuna head being thrown around on the end of a rope. Even half grown it provided an impressive sight, and the first seven divers dropped to the bottom of the cage for as long as they could hold their breath. From the deck there was a good view of the fish, while Ron, St.John and I waited our turn. We climbed into the chill water, when I appreciated the benefit the boots might have offered! We were shouted at to go down almost immediately. The viz was good, and we had a clear sighting of the fish, some 3m away. Came up, and waited for its return. The next sighting was better, the shark swimming alongside the cage, but my camera had steamed up in the very cold water! Then out of the cage for the rotation of groups. I dried out the camera housing climbed onto the upper deck for a different view of the shark. Everyone got a second set of underwater sightings except our last group – the beast seemingly bored by our game, so no chance of better underwater video than the first wide pass.
We were all left with a sense of disappointment. We had chosen Mike Rutzen’s Shark Diving Unlimited, because we believed it to be the most conservation orientated of the numerous White Shark commercial experiences on offer. Nothing we saw gave indication of this – they are just another commercial operation.”