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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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Pieter du Toit

Skipper

Pieter du Toit, skipper on Slashfin, has quickly mastered the art of identifying the various sharks that frequent the area between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock and even "befriended" several by name! Pieter also enjoys handling the sharks when on board. He knows exactly how, when and where to cast the bait and when to deftly pull it back to ensure the divers get some really close encounters.

"There's more to it than meets the eye - it is quite tricky and one has to consider the underwater visiblity and read the body language of the different sharks. Some cruise slowly towards the bait, while others jump or rush towards it. You learn to identify the sharks and their individual habits and manoeuvres."

Pieter grew up in De Doorns, but spent most of his childhood family holidays in Gansbaai and thus knows this coastline like the palm of his hand. After matric he joined the commercial fishing industry in Gansbaai . . . and never left. He knew skipper Hennie from the line fishing business and when a Slashfin crew member emigrated earlier this year, Pieter jumped at the opportunity to replace him as shark handler. "I have been working at sea for the past 20 years and truly love it. To be actively involved in the conservation and research of the marine life now, is a dream come true. The sea has always taken care of me - even now - but now I can give back."

This father of 3 young children is fascinated by the mysterious Great Whites and their interaction with people. He has immense respect for these misunderstood predators and loves the daily contact with them and to expertly lure them closer to the boat so that guests can get a closer look at (and a better understanding of!) these magnificent animals.