December 22nd, 2006 – by: Chelsea
Kelp Gull, I think
Shark diving â€“ or watching, I should say â€“ was different to what I expected. There wasnâ€™t much diving involved, because the bubbles scare the sharks away. Yes, bubbles scare Great White Sharks â€“ I bet you didnâ€™t see that one coming!
We saw one shark.
It circled the boat about 50 m away. From a distance, the shark looked like a black shadow moving through the water. Every so often, a fin pierced the waterâ€™s surface. When it came right up to the boat and poked its head out of the water to have a look at us, I was too busy gawking at it to take a photo. Nobody took photographs, so my photos of seagulls, cormorants and fish will have to suffice. We expected the shark to come back, but it didnâ€™t. It reminded us that even though sharks are spotted so often, theyâ€™re still wild animals that can come and go as they please.
And they are beautiful wild animals, at that. When the shark we saw surfaced to feel the bait, I noticed its body was slick and shiny: it was a really clean, beautiful big fish. It was a lot darker on top than I thought it would be, and it was bright white underneath. It was there for a split second, and then it vanished.
I counted myself lucky to see one at all, because theyâ€™re not around as much at this time of year. Itâ€™s a beautiful time of year to be out at sea, though. It was a beautiful, bright and sunny day. It wouldnâ€™t have been pleasant being in pouring rain in an ocean so rough you feel like youâ€™re being tossed around in a washing machine.
Rough seas or not, many boatloads of people come out to see the sharks.
I think the other boats around us saw more sharks, but I was pretty chuffed just to see one in low season and for it to have been such a nice day.
Fish attracted by shark bait
Hermanus is absolutely stunning: here in the Western Cape, the mountains touch the edge of the ocean. Itâ€™s really spectacular. The landscape here provided a beautiful backdrop for whale-watching. Before we boarded the boat in Gansbaai, we stopped in Hermanus to look for whales. We saw a mother Southern Right Whale with a calf; pretty cool.
What added the perfect touch to a perfect day was the sunset. It was probably the best sunset Iâ€™ve ever seen â€“ and thatâ€™s saying a lot, since I live in Australia (where I think we have some of the most awesome sunsets). I saw the sunset as we were driving back to Cape Town. We were descending into the city along a coastal road, and the view was a big, beautiful bay. The sky was every pastel colour under the sun, and there was a fog over the water. On the other side of the bay, there were more mountains. No words or photos do it justice. It was something special. Really, South Africa is probably the most beautiful country Iâ€™ve seen. I feel like Iâ€™m in a postcard!