After a few days in wine country, we moved on to a small seaside town called Hermanus. This is where we booked on to our shark cage diving tour! The town is also well known for its whale population, which are clearly visible just off shore. Southern Right whales come to these shores every year to give birth to their young. From the various viewing points, you can see them playing around, splashing their fins and blowing water up!
As the weather was poor out at sea our shark dive was cancelled, but we were assured that the next day it would go a head. So at 5am we were out of bed and on the road for 5.45! At 6.30am we arrived in Gansbaai, the world's best place to see Great White sharks. After a light breakfast we got on the boat and headed for the world famous Shark Alley, right beside Seal Island. It was a six mile boat ride off the main land and it was a very bumpy ride. Many of the people on the trip had blue and green faces. It wasn't long until the first of them began to puke up over the side of the boat. Even Bex was finding it hard to keep her breakfast down but I (James) would never give my breakfast up that easily. Indecently most of the sick passengers were English!
As soon as we dropped anchor the crew began to tip 'chum' out into the sea to attract the sharks and also threw out a bait line, which had attached a large tuna head (yeap, just the head). After a few minutes, we had our first Great White and to be honest I was surprised at how cautious it was. The cage was tied on to the side of the boat, so you could stand up in it and just put your head under the water to see these huge sharks more closely! We were then handed our wet suits and asked to climb in (yes, we were in a cage…I certainly had some concerns about it!), so that you could get even closer to these mysterious and deadly predators. I could hear the "Jaws" theme music going on in my head as the shark came closer to the cage, but surprising enough it wasn't as scary as I had first thought it would be. I loved it and as the shark ran himself along the cage with all his teeth on show, I just thought how amazing the whole experience was. I also remembered what the guy said before I got in the cage, don't stick you hand out!!! Even though I didn't what to get out of the cage, I had lost feeling in my feet, fingers and lips, which gave me little option but to get out and warm up. Bex also got into the cage, which I have to say surprised me as I didn't knowas I didn't know if she would definitely do it, but my wife is braver than sometimes I give her credit for! Bex was in the cage for quite a while, but like all the other English on the boat she had to get out to run over to the other side to be sick once again (and properly 5 or 6 times after that too!).
We made our way back to land via Seal Island, which is basically a huge rock home to around forty thousand seals.
After we got back on shore and Bex got her land legs back again, we headed straight on to Mossel Bay, which is a small town on the coast of S. Africa. To be honest there wasn't much here apart from a beautiful beach. The highlight of our visit was that we were staying on a train, yes a train! The train was decommissioned and had been parked up on the beach and turned into a hostel. The views out the cabin windows were amazing and we went to sleep with the sound of the crashing waves… and woke up to some drunk idiot asking if this was Karen's cabin, in the early hours of the morning! He would have had some shock if I (James) had opened the door.