Khwezi Baleni is a qualified marine wild life tour guide and used to be the "doctor" on board the whale watching boat Whale Whisperer for more than 4 years before he joined the shark cage diving team on Slashfin a year ago. Armed with a First Aid certificate and vivid recollections of his own first seasick days at sea before he acquired "sea legs", Khwezi is an expert at recognising the symptoms and lending professional assistance to those who feel queasy. He is still the ideal "doctor" to have on board, although these days he mentors his successor in that art and has become an expert decoy master.
He loves the excitement of luring the sharks closer to the boat with the decoy and works closely in sync with bait line handler Pieter du Toit. Khwezi hails from Umtata in the Eastern Cape. He came a long way since he first joined Wilfred Chivell's company almost 6 years ago as an ignorant appy with little knowledge and experience of the ocean. Today, Khwezi also boasts a driver's licence and cannot wait to learn more about the sea and marine life.
"I love my job and the opportunities it provides for training and ongoing studies. Skipper Hennie treats his crew members as equals with mutual trust and respect. We are all involved in decision-making and our opinions are valued." Khwezi's long interaction with the Southern Right Whales earned them a special place in his heart. "Of all the sea animaIs, I still prefer the whales. These giants are friendly, curious animals. However, the Great Whites are fascinating too. The most extraordinary experience I have had at sea was witnessing a Great White breaching right in front of me to catch a seagull. It was amazing - it came right out of the water, caught the gull and then spat it out again - sharks don't like the feathers!"
Khwezi's eight year old boy Zola lives in Umtata with his grandmother, but regularly comes to visit Khwezi during school holidays and loves joining him on the boat trips.