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  • In Gansbaai, the largest white shark ever caught was at Danger Point and measured up to 5.9m. The exact world record white shark is a contested issue, but chances are it is between 6-7m.

  • If you see a white shark in the water don’t panic. Chances are high that the shark has already detected you and isn’t interested. White shark attacks are normally associated with poor visibility, so avoid murky conditions.

  • White sharks have a unique system called a “counter current heat exchange”, which keeps their body  tempreture +/- 7C above the surrounding water temperature. 

  • All sharks have an incredibly unique system on the tip of their nose called the “ampillae of Lorenzini”. These are small pores filled with a gel that transmits the electrical currents in the water to the shark’s brain so that it can assess its environment.

  • White sharks give birth to live young (not eggs), and they give birth to 6-8 pups at one time. Pups are usually between 1.0-1.5m in length and are born with teeth.

  • Body language has been a well documented form of shark communication and has identified body arching, jaw gaping, and other postures as specific social tactics.

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Sharkwatch SA Blog

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Daily Blog 16 April 2018 | Great White Shark Cage Diving Gansbaai

Author: Sarah Munro-Kennedy (Guiding Biologist)

Guest comments: “Had an amazing time! Love the work you do with conservation. I would love to come volunteer!” – Emily

“Our marine biologist was the best! She answered all my questions and kept the quiet parts of the trip interesting.” – Frank

“I had an amazing tour! Thank you so much. It was so crazy and beautiful to do the shark cage diving, It will not be my last tour with you!” - Maria

16/04/2018

Location: Joubertsdam
Water Temperature: 12.2’C + 12.4’C
Depth: 8 m + 9 m
Visibility:  0.5 m + 0.5 m
White Sharks Seen: 3 + 1
Conditions: Beautiful sunshine with a constant breeze that blew the swell flat.

With the sun shining and a breeze blowing, Slashfin launched out of Kleinbaai harbor hopeful for what the day would bring. We anchored in the shallows and were anxious to see how long it would take before a white shark would grace us with its appearance. It didn't take long, with a 40-minute wait before a stunning 3.9-meter white shark appeared, being a bit elusive and cautious at first, then becoming more inquisitive about our seal decoy as it spent more time with us.

As it circled the boat, a familiar fin approached. It was a 3.8-meter female that we've seen several times this past week with distinct white marking on the leading edge of her dorsal fin. She stayed with us for a while, giving everyone some stunning views of her hydrodynamic body. Near the boat, a Giant Petrel flew by. These large sea birds are often called the vultures of the sea, often seen this time of year eating dead seals or any scraps from a marine predators hunt.

In the distance, a massive flock of Cape Cormorants left Dyer Island for the day, off to hunt for fish. Approximately 60% of the entire Cape Cormorant population call Dyer Island home and we were fortunate to see these beautiful sea birds fly by. We also had a visit from the typically bottom dwelling Short Tailed Stingray, curious about our bait and seal decoy. Not to be outshined, a third white shark came for a visit, approximately 3.5 meters long and very pale in coloration. It didn’t stay long as the large 3.9 meter white shark from the beginning of the trip returned for another try at our seal decoy. What a fin-tastic way to end the trip!

After dropping off our first group of clients, we head back out to sea again in the hopes of spending a bit time with some cartilaginous fish.  On the ride out, we quickly acquired an avian friend in the form of a Sub Antarctic Skua. These large gulls are predominately scavengers when they visit us, after travelling all the way from islands off the coast of Zealand to join us during the winter months.

Once we had reached anchor, we got everyone suited up and then waited around 40 minutes until we spotted our first shadow in the water.  After some vigorous tapping and stomping to create vibrations, shark number one popped up in the form of a gorgeous 4.5m animal.  A new visitor to the bay, we were all super impressed by the girth and neat appearance of this animal, who’s jet black dorsal surface had no imperfections bar a few pesky parasites who have decided to call this mighty creature home. Although this guy was the only shark to join us during the trip, we had quite a bit of fun trying to get him to the cage as he seemed to prefer taking a long loop around the boat before returning to the front of the cage to give us another view. This sharks behaviour around the cage was also truly fascinating, as he didn’t seem too perturbed by the bait line or the decoy, moving instead towards the cage for a closer look. This was to the delight of the divers in the cage, who got to see, up close and personal, just how gigantic this beauty really was. This was much appreciated due to the water being a little on the murky side.

We went on to have a few more interactions with this wild and wonderful specimen, with him moving in and out of the sighting just enough to keep us on our toes. In his absence, we also got the occasional view of a very large Short Tailed Sting Ray. Towards the end of the trip, the sightings slowed down a bit so we finished off the tour with a game of “Dunk the volunteer”. This involved a very brave Tyler, who entered the water without a wetsuit. Every time a question was asked and a wrong answer given. Dear Tyler had to take a dunk on behalf of all in the cage, much to the enjoyment of all on board. This was a wonderful way to pass the time and took us through all the way to the last “5 minute call”.

On the way back to the harbour, we were treated to the sight of thousands of Cape Cormorants making their way through the bay.



If you are looking to get up close and personal with the great white shark then Great White Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai, and more specifically with Marine Dynamics, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to miss. Book and pay online with us and get a free video of your encounter with the world’s apex predator.

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