Joburg Expat: More Diving with Sharks

September 2, 2011

More Diving with Sharks

If you've read "13th Birthday in Style," you will know that our cage diving expedition to see the great white sharks in the wild was only one part of Jabulani's birthday package. The other part was what he was actually most looking forward to, the dive in the predator tank of Two Oceans Aquarium.

Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town


We arrived early on Sunday morning and were led through back doors and up staircases, through all the inner workings of the aquarium.


Up on the rooftop, we were treated to a beautiful view of Table Mountain while visited by a Penguin. It never occurred to me that aquariums are open at the top, so that whatever lives in them is free to step out, if able to, and wander about.


Pretty cool to see what an aquarium looks like on top

This guy was very curious

Then everyone got started getting changed and testing the equipment. Or, rather, Noisette and Ben got changed and tested the equipment while I was left to my own devices finding my way back down the stairs. I'm very surprised I actually made it and not still wandering through the corridors.


This is what the experience looked like from the visitor's side, separated by thick (and lighting-wise very uncooperative) glass:



Watch out, danger from above!


My favorite picture that day

It was over all too soon, the actual dive lasting about 30 minutes, but the reward for being done was a very hot and gratifying shower afterwards.


It was only then that our guide told us that these ragged-tooth sharks swimming in the tank are not all that docile. They frequently eat other fish (when no one is watching, I'm sure) and just recently one of them attacked her while she was trying to shoo it away from another visitor who was diving with her that day. That's why she was carrying that stick with her and why they were always creeping along the edge and bottom of the tank, where I had such a hard time getting a good shot at them. I kept wishing they'd move up to where the lighting was better but I was glad afterwards that all the proper precautions were taken.

The kelp forest tank, open for advanced divers, is next on Jabulani's list

All in all, a wonderful experience. It was very cool to swim with sharks both with and without a cage on the same trip. Jabulani added another few shark teeth to his collection, and even Noisette - who initially was mystified why I had signed him up as well - said it was great. We can highly recommend adding the Two Oceans shark dive (if you're scuba-certified) to your list of must-do's in South Africa, and for R450 it is a good value.