Home | South Africa | Shark Cage Diving in South Africa: 3 Stages of My Heroic Descend Among the White Sharks

Shark Cage Diving in South Africa: 3 Stages of My Heroic Descend Among the White Sharks

Great white shark
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My assistant was kind of surprised, when she found out I wanted her to organize my vacation in South Africa. What perhaps surprised her the most though, was the shark cage diving I wanted to include. I’m not going to lie; it was an experience that will long be remembered. And now, I will share it with you. What did I expect and how did it turn out in reality? Get some popcorn and sit back while I tell you how it went.  

I love the delegation of tasks 

I can’t see how my staff got surprised when I appointed them to take care of this. It’s no secret I consider the delegation of tasks
to be an extremely effective and productive way of working. I delegate approximately 50–70 % of all my operative tasks, so it’s basically an everyday part of my life. What did I expect exactly? 
 

Expectation: Just a quick cool selfie with the shark and out to the deck 

First of all, shark cage diving was all my idea. Despite my knowledge about the white shark, with a length of up to six meters
(20 feet) and weight of about three tons. This monster can live up to more than 70 years and it belongs among the fastest shark species. The great white shark is also a synonym for men-eating, as it holds the record for attacking humankind among all the shark species. 
 

Regardless of what I just told you, my idea of this activity was quite simple. Hereby I attach a rough illustration of what I thought it would look like:

A bear riding the shark with automatic rifle in his hands. 

To put it simply, as soon as I was reading the travel itinerary, I pictured myself bragging to all of my friends and acquaintances, painting the picture of my glorious self with pumped up muscles and a tamed white shark in the background.

If your instincts are telling you this was nowhere near reality, you’re right.  

Reality: Don’t expect Jan’s muscle-flexing snapshot 

My virtual assistant at myTimi sent me the last of the instructions for our journey on the eve of our departure. And we were both 
(I and my wife Karin) thrilled in anticipation of the most intense experience of our vacation.  

The early wake-up call at 4.30 AM and the two-hour journey were an experience in itself. But hey, the white shark won’t be waiting for you in the hotel lobby, right? So, two hours later I was welcomed by nice people offering breakfast followed by short “safety first” training. Of course, in my head I already saw myself taming the shark instead of listening to the trainer.

Great white shark in the shadows.

1. Shark Alley, the home of the great white shark 

All the tourists were told during the safety training, that there are lollipops on the boat—a guaranteed cure for seasickness. That information was followed by loud laughter, water with 12 °C (54 °F) and huge waves. A less experienced person might have been scared at this moment, but not me, Jan, who used to swim in the (surely much colder) Jizera river when he was young. I’m fearless. 

A boy in superhero costume

Everyone hopped on the deck and the boat anchored at Shark Alley, the place with the highest numbers of white sharks in the whole world. And we rested reassured by the thought that should we not see the shark that day, we could try again two days after.  

2. The poor souls with the lollipops 

Would I write a diary, next entry would look like this: 

“After several warnings (and to my great surprise), there truly are waves on site. And huge ones. First people are starting to be sick, poor souls. Not me, though, I am never sick… not even at the worst, most challenging roller coasters. There are some desperate men that take the lollipops everyone laughed at. 

The others grin at the sick losers with lollipops in their hands. The seamen throw chunks of fish to the sea to lure the sharks. Thirty minutes later, all 20 tourists involved looked like this stock photo.” 

Kids sitting on the bench, eating lollipops.

3. First shark, second shark… 

The whole deck sits with lollipops in their mouths, some of us are throwing up and it takes dozens of minutes before the first two beautiful sharks arrive. Due to severe seasickness, I can’t help but ignore their beauty as well as my GoPro camera, bought solely for this purpose. My diary entry continues: 

“I wish I were back at shore. I was a fool to think that the nausea would be better in water. It isn’t. In fact, it’s even worse in the cage. My spoiled-Czech feelings are pretty close to those in the picture below. I saw the shark several times, however, due to my pitiful, frozen-to-death state and stomach discomfort I couldn’t do better than ignore it and focus on my suffering.” 

Rose and Jack freezing in the water after Titanic crushed

A true hero 

Believe me, the alternating vomiting and freezing is not a perfect part of vacation. Despite that, I came back excited and enriched by new, most intense and in a way also the best experience of this vacation. And I would do it again without hesitation. Maybe it wasn’t completely what I had in mind, leaving the hotel at that early morning, but it was definitely worth it and as a true hero, I regret nothing (except the breakfast maybe). 

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