You want to go cage diving with white sharks? Read this.

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I sat on the top deck of the small boat that barely fit our group of 16 people. I tried taming my hair but the strong winds didn’t let me. Never had I understood why people got seasick until today. For the first time ever I really had to hold on to the railing to not fall off. The waves were high and had the effect of a rollercoaster on my stomach. Only three of us enjoyed the top; the others, including our guide Matt* (names have been changed) stayed at the lower deck where the wind didn’t have as much of an impact.

white shark cage diving

Our boat Barracuda being let into the water.

A bird came so close to us and kept following our boat that I was almost able to touch him. Wow, Mother Nature can be so awesome, I thought. Ha! “Nature” turned out to be Matt feeding the bird with something that looked like a cheeto. And because the shark diving crews come out every day, the guides know exactly how to lure the birds to impress adventure-hungry tourists.

white shark cage diving

Another bird sitting super close to us.

As Matt started to explain how we’d go about putting on our equipment and hopping into the cage, the crew members threw “chum,” a mixture of fish juices, small fish, and blood into the water to attract the sharks. About five other boats within our vicinity did the same thing.

white shark cage diving

Henry and Matt finding a good place to drop anchor.

At the end of a rope that crew member Henry* threw into the ocean was a big, grotesque looking, cut-off fish head – a sight no vegetarian would enjoy. But hey, sharks sure do and soon enough we saw the first one trying to bite into the cadaver piece. Everything happened within 2 seconds – so fast that I had barely time to get the sharks on video. Fortunately, there were multiple occasions!

Henry dropping the bait.

Then, it was time to put the diving gear on that our company provided: wetsuit, slippers, and goggles. The crew helped us to get into the cage, which fit seven people. The ice cold water left all of us shaking. All I could think of was that I didn’t want to catch a bladder infection or something worse.

white shark cage diving

The cage from above before it was let down into the water and onto the side of the boat.

white shark cage diving

In the cage, waiting for sharks!

We were supposed to hold the top bars while kneeling on a bar wrapped by a yellow rope towards the front of the cage. When our guide yelled “Down!”, we knew it was time to take a deep breath, put our feet on the bottom of the cage, and dive down as soon as possible to see the sharks in front of us. Unfortunately, the water was murky and none of us were able to see much more than the outlines of the sharks for a few seconds or even less.

white shark cage diving

Spotted! The view from the boat was way better than from the cage!

That’s why when we finally got out of the freezing water, a few people in our group shared with me that they had expected more. More of an adrenaline rush, more excitement, more danger. And a longer experience because at around noon, we were already back at the hotel (which was in Cape Town, and thus a 2-hour drive from Gansbaai).

Would I do it again?

No, because it was a one time bucket list thing. If I were able to, I’d go diving without a cage, but unfortunately, an ear condition won’t allow it.

Should you do it?
Sure, if it’s something you’re really into!
Here are some pointers if you choose the provider Extreme Scene:
– They will provide you with towels, snacks, & diving gear
– You can shower at their office
– They will shoot a video you’re later able to buy
– The morning excursion took from 6 until noon (including a roundtrip to Cape Town -> 4h total)
– Cost: around $150 (you can choose different pick up options)
– They can be flexible with dates in case of the unfortunate weather circumstances, just talk to them
– We had kids in our group (7-12), so it’s definitely a kid-friendly activity

But perhaps not if you read these articles:

Is it ethical to swim with sharks?

Why I won’t go shark cage diving

Is it ethical to go shark cage diving?

Here’s a video I shot:

Have you ever been cage diving with white sharks? If yes, where and how was it? If not, is it on your list or is it something you would never do? Why?

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