About White Shark Cage Diving
All the important things you need to know
White Shark Cage Diving photographs
Once in a lifetime moments captured by our team...
Diving – So… you want an eyeball to eyeball encounter with a Great White Shark in South Africa?
Boy, you are in for much, much more than that on board Slashfin! Our marine biologists and expert crew members will not only show you where these mysterious and misunderstood apex predators hunt and hide, but they will also explain to you how and where they feed, breed and breach.
Going Great White Shark Diving in South Africa and more specifically a trip on the Slashfin, is a combination of goosebump thrills, education and relaxation on a luxury boat in the company of experienced experts and researchers! They will show you how to distinguish between a male and female shark and how to identify a specific shark by its unique dorsal fin and scars. The 20 – 25 minute boat trip to where the activity is to take place, is by itself an exhilarating adventure.
Named after a legendary 3,3 m male shark with a very distinctive dorsal fin, the Slashfin is a unique, multi-million rand aluminium boat custom designed for speed, stability, safety and space and can comfortably accommodate 40 passengers and the crew at a time.
On any given day, we also usually see at least two or more members of the Marine Big Five – sharks, dolphins, whales, seals and penguins, as well as several bird species.
Here is a brief breakdown of what to expect:
- Before the trip guests meet at the Great White House in Kleinbaai
- You will receive breakfast or lunch and register your wetsuit size
- Guests receive a pre-trip safety briefing about what to expect during the trip and a biological background on great white sharks
- We then take a 200m stroll down to the harbour to board Slashfin
- Travel time to Dyer Island is approximately 20 minutes, with the shallows being a short 10 minute ride (where we anchor depends on where the sharks are)
- On average, we anchor for 2 hours, but this depends on shark activity, conditions, as well as number of divers
- Weather permitting, we take a quick trip through the infamous Shark Alley
- Lastly, a debrief in the Great White House and a celebratory beverage to toast the occasion!
Our boat – Why is it called Slashfin?
The name ‘Slashfin’ was inspired by the tenacious survival instincts and healing powers of a legendary 3,3m young male shark that grabbed the imagination of shark researchers who followed his migrating patterns and recovery over a number of years.
Dubbed Slashfin after the severe damage caused to his dorsal fin – probably by a propeller or an unfortunate encounter with other sharks – the shark cage diving community was able to identify him and follow his recovery for over six years during his annual visits to the Dyer Island area between March and July. The fin used to be shredded to pieces and the researchers were astonished to see how well it healed so that now it is only distinguished by two parallel scars.
Slashfin has grown by at least 1 and a half metres since he was first spotted in the Gansbaai area. He is still a famous and favourite annual visitor to our waters and who knows, he may even be aware that he has been immortalised on our boat!
Taking the plunge to actually get into the cage can be a bit scary if it is your first introduction to the iconic top-predators of the ocean, but rest assured. It is extremely unlikely that a shark will be able to break into a cage, or will be more interested in you than the juicy tuna head or decoy that our expert bait handler throws into the water to lure them closer. The bait is not fed to the sharks – it is merely used to entice them to come closer to the cage and is pulled back before they can get to it. Never in the 15 years of the business has a Great White Shark shown anything but mere cautious curiosity in any of the tourists in the cages!
- The sturdy steel cage is professionally engineered and made out of a 25mm galvanised mild steel covered with 10mm galvanised mild steel security mesh.
- It has no sharp edges on which a shark can injure itself.
- The cage is firmly secured to the side of the boat and divers can easily get out whenever they want to.
- The cage never sinks or floats away.
- The cage can accommodate 7 divers at a time
- The steel hand and foot bars inside the cage offer ample grip and support to pull yourself up or to push down.
- Your head will never be more than a metre under the surface and you can decide when and how long you want to stay underwater.