SOUTH AFRICA SHARK SAFARI
2014 TRIP REPORT
On this year's False Bay Shark Safari we
found every single shark we hoped to dive with and more!
Some days were a little windier than we would have liked but
we were still able to dive on all five days that we planned
to and still had time for a game drive to shoot the big
For the first two days we dove on and around
False Bays spectacular reefs. Seconds after decending we
were immediately in the company of the resident broadnose
sevengill sharks that congregate exclusively in one small
bay in Simonstown. I think everyone was surprised how close
they could get to the lumbering sevengills as they wove
through the bamboo kelp.
Here and there swimming around the reef we
also encountered countless catsharks. Among the line up were
large striped pyjama catsharks, leopard catsharks, puffadder
shysharks, dark shysharks and (I believe) Natal shysharks.
We were also lucky enough to get buzzed by a
couple of illusive spotted gully sharks. It was a great
couple of days of reef diving. The kelp covered reefs around
False Bay are extremely colorful and also host some
fascinating local species like South African hagfish and
cuttlefish. The surge this year was a bit of a challenge but
even on the dives with a lot of swell the sharks continued
Day three was too windy to dive so we drove
inland to Aquila Game Reserve and spent the day chasing the
big five. The highlight for me was when two adult white
rhinos decided to charge our truck.
On the next two days we motored out to Seal
Island where 70,000 Cape fur seals crowd onto a small rocky
island surrounded by hungry white sharks. As soon as we
arrived we threw a seal shaped decoy in the water and
trained our cameras on it in the hope of catching a breach
On the first day we got a few partial
breaches and then dropped the cage over the side for some
close underwater encounters with great white white sharks.
The visibility was not great but we persevered.
On the second day at Seal Island the weather
was much better. We towed the decoy for much longer in
calmer seas and were rewarded with multiple hits including a
spectacular full breach that we managed to catch on film.
The cage action was also really good and the viz had
improved dramatically. It was a great morning at the island.
Most of us decided to sneak in some extra
reef diving in the afternoon so we went back to the kelp
forest to play with the sevengills and catshark. But first,
we did a dive at a much smaller seal colony where we were
buzzed by rambunctious fur seals.
The winds completely dropped out on our last
day in False Bay and that was just what we needed to head
far offshore to chum for pelagics. Leaving the safety of the
bay completely, we sailed out past the Cape of Good Hope and
into the Southern Atlantic.
An hour later we were floating in clear blue
water as the first mako found our chum slick. An hour after
that, we slipped into the water with four mako sharks and
upwards of 25 blue sharks in excellent visibilty. It was a
great end to a shark filled week of South African diving.
You can't ask for more than ten-out-of-ten
shark species but during this trip we actually managed to do
I brought along the Deep Cam and deployed it
in the deepest water I could find in False Bay.
Unfortunately the bay is only about 45m deep in most parts
so no truly abyssal sharks showed up but we did attract
plenty of shallow water species. Lots of the regular
catsharks came in to take a bite at the bait and on one drop
a large sevengill buzzed the camera for more than two hours.
But perhaps the coolest visitor was a tiny
tiger catshark; a species that has only been photographed a
few times and never before caught on video (as far as I
Needless to say, we'll be back next year for
another False Bay Shark Safari. If you're looking for an
eclectic and visually spectacular week with sharks, join us
False Bay Shark Safari 2015