Gansbaai is widely known as the Great White Shark Capital of the World – it has the planet’s densest population of Great Whites and is internationally recognised as a centre of research as well as the home of cage diving.
However, during my visits I have found that the bay offers much more – particularly from July to December when it is the breeding ground for dozens of the magnificent Southern Right Whales visiting from Antarctica. I was there this week and was privileged to be the first to see the area’s latest attraction – the only privately displayed and freely accessible Southern Right Whale skeleton in South Africa.
This magnificent sight has just opened in the Great White House – the headquarters of the shark cage diving company Marine Dynamics; whale watching and eco tour company Dyer Island Cruises; and, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust which sponsors the marine research in the area. The 14 metre skeleton (recovered from a whale killed by a ship in 2005) has been mounted by Piet Pretorius, the renowned taxidermist from Cape Town museum, and hangs in the stunning building which also houses an excellent restaurant and educational displays on whales, sharks, dolphins and the endangered African Penguin.
For me the Great White House has always been the exciting gateway to an unforgettable trip into the bay with one of this dedicated team of guides who are so passionate about protecting and conserving this very special part of the world. Now with the display of the skeleton you just look up and marvel at this magnificent animal and at the efforts of the Gansbaai team which have given us the opportunity to see it in such surroundings.