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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Time I Went Shark Diving

This week is  S H A R K  W E E K  on Discovery Channel. But unless you live under a rock, or are my dad, then you already know that. During Shark Week the Discovery Channel televises shows about sharks around the clock. And I? Love it!

Little known fact about me... I'm a huge shark dork. I know a lot about sharks. Seriously, I do. One of my favorite games to play is Shark Trivia. The game consists of my husband thinking of things to ask me about sharks and me answering. (He is not as enthusiastic about this game as I am!)

It started around seven years ago. I caught a few episodes of Shark Week on TV. Before that I had always had a healthy fear and fascination with sharks but after seeing some educational programming about them my interest peaked.

One of my bucket list items became diving with Great White Sharks off the coast of South Africa.

That dream came true when I vacationed in South Africa in 2008. 

I spent most of the trip on safari, but I also visited Cape Town, and I went Shark Diving in Hans Bay right in the heart of "Shark Alley" near Seal Island (both Shark Alley and Seal Island are regularly featured on Shark Week!).

I'll never forget the day of the dive. I was up bright and early and met up with the dive team at their dock. We boarded the famous Shark Fever and headed out to Shark Alley.

The boat ride out was beautiful!

We caught sight of Southern Right Whales, one after another after another. 

Upon arrival at Shark Alley, we donned wet suits. (Super flattering, no?)

The dive master asked who would like to go first into the cage. I *might* have resembled George Castanza as I knocked women and children out of the way to be one of the first in line. Fortunately, not everyone shared my enthusiasm. Most passengers wanted to wait and watch the firsts group, so that worked well for me!

I hopped into the cage with this family who were on holiday from Italy.

And then there were the sharks.

Great White Sharks were everywhere. To the left, to the right, below... everywhere we looked we saw these majestic creatures swimming. Ten, twelve, fourteen feet long! Some were so close I could have reached out of the steel cage and touched them!

The sharks were there to hunt seals but given their curious nature, they came over to the cage to see what we were. They were not at all aggressive. They simply came over, got their big black eye as close as they could and peered in the cage as they swam by. 

It was certainly one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I cannot wait Can. Not. Wait. to do it again! Oh yes, I am definitely doing that again. Once was not enough for this huge shark dork!

After that incredible experience, I returned to shore for a fabulous lunch overlooking the ocean the very sharks I swam with call home.

South Africa is amazing. Breath-taking. Beautiful. Heart-breaking. From the animals to the people to the scenery, something about Africa gets a hold of you and never lets go. 

From the sharks to the lions, the sandy beach to the sandy plain, once you meet this beautiful country you feel compelled to return.

And I already can't wait to do just that with my husband and children!

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