November 12th, 2007 – by: cath_shafto
Our log cabin
Having heard the wind rattling through our log cabin during the night, we got up at 7am worried that our shark dive might be cancelled due to the weather, but we went down to the dive shop anyway. Unfortunately the 35 knot winds meant that the beach was closed and it wasn't safe to launch. However, helpful Gail had looked at the weather forecast and found out that the storm should blow through in a day, so she negotiated for us to stay another day and dive on Tuesday instead.
Instead we went to Pick ''n' Pay to get some breakfast and lunch - I relived some memories from my childhood - Willards crinkle cut tomato sauce chips (still good), guava juice (still disgusting) and pawpaw (still don't like it!).
After lunch we decided to see some sharks anyway, so we drove into Durban to the Ushaka Marine World.
Black Tip shark
I wasn't so keen on the dolphin show (would rather see them in the wild), but the aquarium itself was good. I found it a useful introduction to some of the South African species I would see on the dives to come. The highlight however, was probably watching a diver come into the tank to feed the sharks and potato bass.
We had been thinking about going to the beach later on, but when we came out of the aquarium, we found that the weather had closed in and it had begun to rain, so we quickly returned to the car and tried to navigate our way round the city. The rain continued as we drove back down the highway to Rocky Bay and I certainly didn't envy the blacks we passed in the back of a bakkie!!!
After a kingklip dinner at the local pub and a slightly later bed time of 9.
This is how close the shark got to Tom!
30pm (the early starts had taken their toll), we had much better luck with the weather on Tuesday and 6 of us began to kit up at 8am. Marcus was in charge of the chum and Keith was the skipper. The journey out to sea was enlivened by the hammerhead shark, manta ray and flying fish we spotted (and that was just from the boat!). On board we had a washing machine drum of sardines and other fish oils etc (which you didn't want to get down wind of!) - Marcus offloaded the drum and then poured the oils into the ocean to attract the sharks. We then had to sit and wait for the action to come to us. Unfortunately Tom felt rather queasy just as we began to kit up.
Once we were in the water, we were given instructions to stay about 5m below our dive guide and the other 2 snorkellers and also not to go in the scent trail of the drum, but to watch the sharks approach from the side.
Dusky and black tip shark
There must have been at least 20 sharks in the water at any one time!!! The majority were black tips, but also some duskies and apparently 3 female tiger sharks (which have a dappled pattern on them). They certainly got very close and I wasn't as scared as I thought (perhaps because I didn't see their teeth!), but when I saw them biting at a fin strap which had been accidentally dropped, I realised that they were wild animals whose behaviour could change very quickly!! Time flew by and we'd already been in the water 40 mins before i looked at my computer. After an hour, Tom had had enough and I'd almost used up my camera battery, so we decided to get back on the boat.