May 10, 2017
The Great White Life – The arrival
Hello, my name is Donovan Lewis. If you’ve seen the posts on the Blue Planet Facebook page then you’ll know what you’re about to read, if not then that’s not a problem I’ll explain.
I’m a Guest experience presenter and Shark diver at Blue Planet Aquarium located in Ellesmere port, Blue planet has funded me to come and work alongside shark experts with the White shark diving company here in South Africa (The shark capital of the world). Throughout my time here I’m hoping to see a number of different species with the one I’m most excited for being the Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
After loads of goodbyes and tears at the departures gate it was time to head to other side of the world to realise a lifelong dream. The journey to South Africa was the longest journey I’ve ever taken so far but went by surprisingly fast.
I started in Manchester where I did the 70 minute flight to Paris, I had a quick stopover with just enough time to get from one plane to another. The flight from Paris to Johannesburg was the long one with around 9 or so hours through the one flight, I decided to have a snooze as it was a night flight and decided it may be best. I thought I would only get around 3 hours sleep but managed to get 7, I woke up just in time for breakfast and for landing at Johannesburg. Johannesburg airport is huge and I was thankful that a local man helped me to my gate, I got to the gate just intime for my final flight to cape town with was about an hour and a half.
I finally landed in Cape town around 2pm, in the taxi and on the way to Ashanti we left driving down a 4 lane motorway towards table mountain my driver was telling me all about cape town and what goes on around town and how on certain beaches you can even get roaming ostriches. We drove past a bush fire with smoke bellowing over the motorway before arriving at ashanti backpacers.
I stayed in Ashanti for 2 nights before being picked up at 7am on the 1st of May and did the two and a half hour drive to Gansbaai, we pulled up at the white shark diving company building and were quickly escorted to the seating area where we had a safety briefing done by Lalo about how the day will work and the do’s and don’ts in and around the cage.
We were told that they had seen Great Whites the day before but on the first trip of this day they had not seen any so they told it us we could still see some but nothing is certain.
We steamed out for the summer inshore sight where we checked with another boat to see if they had seen any sharks, there wasn’t any so we picked up the cage and moved out to dyer island where we chummed for over an hour. It was quiet so I took the opportunity to ask some questions to the crew about the sharks and area but eventually due to the waves people begun to become sea sick, the skipper decided that best thing to do is to have a quick sail through shark alley and have a look at the famous Geyser rock seal colony which has an average of 64,000 cape fur seals living on it. It was noisy and busy but truly incredible to see the place I had only ever seen on documentaries. The seal pups were all swimming in the shallows and the big males were sat on higher rocks to assert that they were the boss of their section of shoreline. Even though we did not see any sharks on this trip it was still incredible to just be on the boat and see everything happening as it was.
We soon then turned and headed back to Gansbaai harbour where we were then escorted to the volunteer house.
We settled and unpacked before the welcome braai (BBQ) with loads of amazing food. The volunteer house is amazing its all shark themed and each area of the house a cool name; e.g the kitchen is called Soupfin kitchen for the Soupfin shark.
Since being here for the last week we have still not seen a Great white shark but the reasons why will be explained in the next blog entry. This week we got to watch a science first something which is bith sad but incredible al at the same time! Stay tuned for a special blog entry.