Cage diving in South Africa’s Shark Alley makes for an extreme excursion
Between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock is the ominously named Shark Alley, which, by no coincidence, is also home to some 60,000 Cape fur seals. White Shark Diving Co. tours begin in Gansbaai, a town that’s 2½ hours by boat from Cape Town and also a prime viewing spot for southern right whales. The ride’s a choppy one, so the wet suits and flippers provided come in handy–of course, donning them while navigating the rocking waves is another matter, so bring a change of dry clothes. And anyone prone to seasickness will want to pre-medicate, if not reconsider.
The cages, which remain affixed to the side of the boat, hold five people and linger at the water’s surface where great whites do most of their feeding. Fish heads hooked to a rope act as bait for the carnivorous creatures. During the 15-20 minute dive, sharks swim by exhilaratingly close and putting your head below water yields a spine-tingling experience. Bring your underwater camera to shoot blindly from the hip and really earn those bragging rights. Watching from the top deck may be close enough for some though, especially when hunger strikes and you want to have some snacks without fear of being one.