Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Swimming with Sharks!

Much can be said about birthdays. The more you have... the longer you live!
        --- Personally, I like them.

This year's birthday was extra special though; I got to cross off another long life dream from my bucket list.

I went swimming with Great White Sharks!

For anyone who knows me even a little, you aren't surprised by my thrill seeking decisions.
        --- Life is an adventure and is worth living well! 

So when I realized that I'd be in South Africa again on my birthday this year, (attending the wonderful and amazing Calvary Chapel African Conference near Cape Town!) I immediately started planning how and when I might swim with the fishes (aka: the Great White overgrown guppies with teeth!)

As it would turn out, the cost was much less than I expected and all was arranged pretty quickly. My missionary friends were not interested in joining me but they were willing to get me to the boat on time. This was no easy task however, as we had to be out the door by five a.m. to make it!

Fortunately the day was warm and beautiful for this time of year and the sea was calm. Since it is still late winter in South Africa, the waters were chilly --a startling 53 degrees Fahrenheit (or 11 degrees Celsius).

As I waited my turn, five to six sharks turned circles about our boat, nibbling at our fish-head bait before moving on. I was surprised to learn that although they come to investigate the bait, sharks are not scavengers by nature. They much prefer fresh meals. Who knew?!

I also learned that they are not at all interested in human blood. (It does not register as 'food' to them.) And shark attacks are usually as a result of them confusing humans for seals --especially those humans on surf boards.
      ---What a crunchy surprise they must have at first chomp!

Convincing myself to get into the water was hard, however. It was not the sharks but the cold that worried me. Even with my full body wet suit, I'd knew I'd freeze. But in the end, the desire to see the slick beasts up close won out, and I jumped in.

The visibility was fair but the viewing was best from the boat by the time my turn at the cage came around. Fortunately, I was able to see at least one of the sharks underwater before we had to close up shop and head home.

Since my camera was unable to capture the overgrown guppies when they surfaced, I purchased a video of the day from the boat photographer. Enjoy!

Video filmed by the unknown boat photographer at Shark Lady Adventures.