South Africa, Durban. Darkness is still outside the window (in the end it’s a winter time, only 20 Celsius degrees during the day). I open one eye and groped trying to deactivate the alarm, which rang exactly at 5 am. I still didn’t rest properly after flight from the desert, but I don’t care. In front of me there’s a unique opportunity to commune with sharks in their natural habitat.
Splash water in my face, teeth brushed, camera hanged on shoulder and we’re already in the car, taking us over the Ocean. With me: American Elizabeth, two rookies, which operate just the first flight in their sky-career, Fumika from Japan and Petra from Indonesia. In head many thoughts, how cold is the ocean, how much actually it going to cost me, will be the time to take a nap after come back before returning flight?
These and many other irrelevant thoughts went through my head, forgetting about the most important thing. I’ll be underwater in a cage among sharks! About this I just realized only at the boat, clad in a wet suit, listening to instructions of the boss of escapade – John. God forbid, do not expose the limbs outside the cage! Even fingers, because you can easily lost them. Place your feet exactly where the orange line is. Remember that!
We set sail out to full ocean. Coast getting further and further. I look in scarlet surface of the water in the hope that maybe somewhere a White Great Shark will appear, which apparently was seen by John two weeks ago.
Finally motors are silent. Denis, one of the two chief’s helpers, throws meat into the water. Less then a minute passes and the surface of the water is cut by a few dorsal fins of Dusky Sharks (reaches up to 4.2 meters length and 347 kg weight) and Spinner Sharks (up to 3 m in length and 280 kg weight). Just this view gives you shivers and goose skin.
We jump into the cage. The water turns out to be much warmer than the time of the year (winter) might indicate. 24 degrees Celsius. If only Baltic Sea (Poland) would have such temperature in summer…
We’re taking a deep breath and dive. Plenty of another sharks are coming. Stimulated by meat, circle us from each side. If not that I was underwater, I might say that I was watching this spectacle with bated breath. The initial fear slowly metamorphosed into an interest. Sharks were everywhere! On the left, right, below us. So close that it was even tempting to touch them. Fortunately, common sense has been with me.
After about 20 minutes in the water, the crew pulls us back on a motorboat. We return completely dazed and astonished where we just were and what we’ve just seen.
Communing with these intriguing and majestic animals was an amazing experience, despite the fact that they weren’t, after all, the largest representatives of the family of sharks.
Meanwhile, the sleep deficit deepened, what I felt especially on the return night flight. Fortunately, the geographical knowledge of our charming American girl was making me laugh enough that I was able to stay awake. Trying to guess to which country belongs the flag pinned to uniform of our colleague Sofija from Bosnia and Herzegovina, she fired: Honduras? :)