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Great white shark cage diving is an experience like no other. To get up close to the ocean's number one predator in its natural environment is a humbling experience you will never forget.
The boat leaves Gansbaai harbour mid-morning after a safety briefing and an explanation of the day's itinerary. It is a short distance, about 5 miles, to Dyer Island where the crew will drop anchor and make final preparations before the sharks arrive.
A chum is prepared and poured into the water. This chum, each skipper has his own secret recipe, is irresistible to a Great White Shark and attracts the sharks to come and investigate. Shark Alley is so well populated by sharks that the operators are able to almost guarantee fantastic sightings of the magnificent creatures.
The Great White Shark is the world's largest predatory fish. Hugely powerful, they are able to propel their bodies, up to 6 metres in length and weighing close to a tonne, clear of the water. Stay alert and you may be lucky enough to witness the shark's natural predation of Cape Fur Seals.
The emphasis behind this experience is education. Gansbaai is still a community heavily reliant on fishing, before it was made illegal many of the teams now involved in cage diving previously fished for and killed Great Whites, something they all now deeply regret. They more than anyone have a huge respect for the sharks, work closely with researchers to try to understand them more and are key campaigners for their ongoing protection.
By mid afternoon, when everyone has had the opportunity to spend time in the cage and to take photographs from the boat, the crew will take you back to port. Keep your eyes open on the short trip back as often there are fantastic whale and dolphin sightings.
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