A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Adventure with the Great White Sharks!

My first full day in South Africa, I did something that I never thought I would do. In fact, if Stacie didn't want to sign up for it, I don't think I would have. I'm so glad that she did though because it is easily one of the coolest things that I have done so far in my life.

The Day started very early. We were picked up from our hotel at a quarter to 6am and drove 2 hours until we reached Gansbaai. There we met our skipper & shark expert and met everyone else that was going to be going on the dive with us. We also had some breakfast. They then gave us instructions and we were on the boat and on our way.

They gave us big rain coats to block the wind and the waves. I still got wet, and was still a little cold (because it was still pretty early in the morning) but that jacket helped a lot.

On the way we saw the Seal Island (nice food supply for the Great White Sharks). When we sailed by it, it smelled like death. Seals smell bad... seriously they do. Why? If you have ever been around them you know what I'm talking about... so imagine an entire island of them. eeewww!!! Regardless they were still cool to see. P.S. On another day I got to feed a big Seal... which was cool.

Also while we were on the boat, there is this Seagull that always follows their boat when it goes out because it knows they will give him bread... so one person held out a piece of bread and the bird came and ate it out of their hand while the boat was going. A little entertainment on our 15 minute boat ride.

I took a motion sickness pill just in case like an hour before we left... but I don't think it worked. I was fine while the boat was moving, but as soon as we stopped the boat to try and attract the sharks, it hit me and it hit me hard. It took a while to attract the sharks. What did they use? Chum!!

While they were trying to attract the sharks, the boat rocked back and forth alot. The water was REALLY choppy... but there is nothing else you can do, that is where the sharks are. So I laid down on the bench seat and closed my eyes and breathed in and out real deep. It worked for a while, but then the sharks came and everyone started taking pictures. I had to get up! This is what I paid for. No matter how crappy I was feeling, I needed to get up and grab my camera and start taking pictures of these awesome Great white Sharks. So I did. This was NOT okay with my stomach, but I tried to tuff my way through it. That didn't last very long. I got a couple pictures and then needed to go lay back down. It's okay, they are not as cool to watch from the top anyway. Here is what you see from the boat. Just pretty cool.

I started to lay back down but it was too late... my stomach was upset at me. I almost threw up so I sat back up and just tried to breathe deep again. One of the crew members looked at me and asked me if I was okay. I said I was okay and he looked at me and said, no your not, get down to the bottom of the boat, it will help. So I did what he said.... even though it was hard for me to move. When I got down there, all of the sudden the first group was done in the cage and it was me and Stacie's turn to get in. Before I could get nervous or think about still needing to throw up, the crew members were putting a wetsuit, booties and goggles on me. Then a weighted belt around my waist. Then they told me to get in the cage while the top was still open. So I sat at the edge of the boat and hopped into the cage and they closed the top. The water was very cold... I couldn't imagine what it would be like without the wetsuit on. I still wasn't feeling good although it felt better to be in the water. So I handed the camera to Stacie to take pictures. She was about to take a picture of me and I told her to wait. With a little bit of salt water getting in my mouth and the weighted belt pushing against my stomach, it didn't take long before I threw up my breakfast. My automatic reaction was to apologize. It was gross, I felt sorry for the people next to me in the cage. The crew members told me it was okay (I guess a girl from the first group on our boat did the same thing and many others got sick and were throwing up on the boat) and to just let it float away. People were nice and kept asking me if I was okay. As soon as I threw up I felt better and told Stacie it was now okay to take my picture. ha ha.

Now that was out of the way... it was show time. I was so busy trying not to throw up before to be nervous and now it was too late to turn back, I was IN THE CAGE!! I couldn't pee my pants because they told us specifically not to pee in the wetsuits. Turns out I wouldn't have anyway. As soon as I was in the cage I just thought how cool it all was and I wasn't nervous at all. Basically how it worked was the crew members were on the boat and throwing out the chum to the sharks (we had 10 different Great White sharks that day) when they would see one coming, they would yell that the shark was on the left or right and we would all take a deep breath and hold it and push ourselves down in the cage and hold ourselves there to watch the sharks until we ran out of breath and do the same thing all over again. Having just gotten scuba certified... I wished that we had scuba gear on and could just stay down there and watch.... but that was not how it worked. Regardless, it was still AWESOME!!!

So much better than watching from the boat. I was amazing how close they would come to the cage. They would swim RIGHT by us and they were SO big. Nothing on the discovery channel or Shark week can compare to seeing them for yourself that close. It was awesome! I ended up throwing up one more time ( I probably just helped attract more sharks) but it was still TOTALLY worth it. Pretty sure you can't say throwing up was worth it in too many situations. The only exception I can think of besides this one is having a baby. It was awesome because since we were the last ones in the cage and nobody else wanted to get back in AND we had a smaller group to begin with, so they let Stacie and I stay in the cage as long as we wanted. I think we were in there for about a half hour. That is a lot of Shark time. We even saw a group of dolphins go by when we were in the cage. So awesome.

*This is a great picture to show how close we were to these sharks! You can see the hand on the cage and then the shark RIGHT THERE*

After we got out of the cage and out of our wetsuits, we rode back to shore (which I have never been so happy to get off a boat) and we watched the DVD that they made of our dive that I almost bought but didn't because we got so many awesome pictures and then it was a 2 hour drive back to our hotel. You better believe we both showered and crashed when we got home because we were so tired. What an awesome day though. I am SO glad that Stacie wanted to do it and pushed me to do it too. I totally recommend this experience if you ever get the chance to do it. I know it is not for everyone, but it is really not as scary as it sounds. Turns out most people have the wrong idea about Jaws. He is a lot nicer than people make him out to be. ;)

*Here is a video I found online of the same type of dive that I did. Here is pretty much what I saw*


Bre said...

SO FUN! I would have totally done it with you. Glad you had an AMAZING time!

flux biota. said...

all I can say is, "wow."

You lead an interesting and adventurous life.

Ashley said...

This is legit!! I have never wanted to do this before but after seeing your pictures i think it would be awesome! just hope that i wouldn't throw up haha! Sad that you got sick, but at least it was worth it!! Cant wait to see the rest of your pictures!

Caytlin said...

Holy crap that's my worst nightmare. I am so afraid of sharks, I couldn't even look at all your pictures!! I probably would have hyperventilated, thrown up and passed out. Props to you for doing something so daring!

THE LIZARD'S said...

oh my gosh tracy!!!!you are the MAN!!! gettin in a cage of sharks..everytime I see this sort of situation on tv and someone gets bit or hurt..i'm WHY would you get in a cage so close to sharks..you live life on the edge!!! sooo fun. I like how you were like..i had to throw up and then i was in a wet suit and in a cage by sharks!!! what? so funny.

A Little Cuppa Tea said...

So awesome! I'm glad you did it!

jamie hixon said...

Seriously, that is way too intense for me. And Jaws was NOT nice, FYI. And the seals smelling like death made me laugh. It also made me think that they were less cute.
And that barf thing... yikes. I'm glad for you that nobody else cared. I probably would have. Ha!

Lynette Mills said...

being sea sick is so not fun... thank goodness you had something great to show for it. I would totally do that!

Lori said...

You lasted a lot longer than i would have before loosing your breakfast!! haha
So! Awesome!