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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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The Crew

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Hennie Otto

Skipper & General Manager

General Manager and Skipper Hennie Otto regards his vast responsibilities as captain of the crew as "a full-time paid holiday and a way of life" rather than a job. A versatile all-rounder who also boasts in-depth knowledge of seabirds (both vagrants and residents) and a fundi with cameras, Hennie is the guy to help you set your camera for those once in a lifetime shots. "It is extremely rewarding and an immense privilege to work close to nature every day amongst the creatures that you love. Every day is different and a new adventure - you never know what to expect."

Hennie is a highly qualified and experienced skipper and sea lover who earned his steady sea legs and keen eye for the marine life years ago as owner of a commercial fishing boat. Born and bred in Vryheid, Natal, he has been involved in the commercial line fishing business in Gansbaai and Cape Agulhas since 1990. He knows exactly where the reefs lie and where the Great Whites hunt for yellowtail and other species of prey.

In September 2008 he traded his commercial involvement in Gansbaai's prolific sea life for the conservation and protection thereof as skipper for Marine Dynamics. "Instead of killing our marine species for the industrial market, I now earn my living by protecting and conserving the ocean's wildlife - and that is an honour and a privilege!" A naturalist who studied Zoology and Geography, Hennie has always had a keen interest in animals and their interaction and behaviour in different geographical and environmental habitats.  He also gained valuable experience as research coordinator for Irvin & Johnson's abalone culture facility at Danger Point and was subsequently introduced to the field of parasitology.

He has attended many International Marine Science and Parasitology Symposia over the years and presented at Texas A&M University as part of a marine development, aquarium and educational programme. Hennie is still actively involved in various research studies and projects in conjunction with the universities of Limpopo and the North (Potchefstroom). These studies entail the prevalence of parasites on the ocean's top-predators and fish species, as well as the bio-accumulation of toxic substances in the ocean's food chain. 
 
"Nature is so amazing - the more we learn, the more we realise how little we know. It is fascinating, yet of crucial importance, to find out how a minuscule toxic algal cell on which small fish feed can eventually and slowly poison a whole spectrum of marine wildlife in the food chain by the accumulation of toxic substances that can ultimately also harm humans. It is time that people become more knowledgeable about nature's intricate balances and find ways to help protect and preserve it . . .  and that's exactly what Marine Dynamics is all about!"

Hennie's love and respect for the sea is reflected in his crew - they work together as a close-knit team and the crew respects the way he leads by example and involves all the team members in decision-making processes. "Everybody must feel comfortable with a decision. I cannot, for example, decide to drop anchor at a specific location without consulting with my team members. Each decision is a joint effort and everyone must be happy with it and feel worthy and respected."