South Australia: Shark Cage Diving in Port Lincoln
It seems that there’s only two places to swim with the scariest thing in the ocean without dying, one of them being South Africa, and the other being Port Lincoln in Australia. I had the opportunity to go swimming with the ultimate predator of the ocean, the Great White Shark on my road trip around South Australia.
It seems that not everyone is so keen to swim with this creature but I certainly wanted to see Jaws up close for myself. duh duh, duh duh….
We arrived into the Harbour at 6am to board the Calypso Star boat with a couple of Kilkennys and a few tablets to prevent sleeping sickness. One of our friends who did it the day before said there was a beautiful buffet but that unfortunately he has been vomiting the entire time… I was not going to follow suit. An incident on a boat in Portugal for my friend’s 21st birthday means I will now always carry travel sickness tablets with me despite the fact that they knock me out like a horse tranquilizer. Better that than being sick on the high-seas!
We were joined on board by Australian boxing champion Danny Green- I had no idea who he was but the reporter from the local news with the big TV camera sort of gave it away! Danny was the first person to turn Green (like my pun?) and was vomiting over the side of the boat. Not long after a few other people started throwing up but I sat there smugly on TravelCalm! The ocean seriously was rough, at one point I thought the boat would actually turn on its side but that’s me being a little over dramatic. The crew played a video about the Great White and it was quite fascinating to learn that people don’t really know very much about this creature. One thing I did know is that the crew had seen many of them out at the Neptune Islands, which is where we were heading.
When we finally anchored up the crew threw the tuna bait in the water, lowered the shark cage and it was game on! The crew demonstrated how we should get in the cage, you put a wetsuit on because the waters pretty chilly, attach some weights and then put a regulator in your mouth which is attached to the top of the cage so there’s no heavy tank on your back. The cage itself has a viewing gap but there is no way the shark can open its mouth if it stuck its head in.
Everyone relaxed a bit, stopped hurling off the side of the boat, got the fishing rods out and did a spot of fishing. We caught plenty of fish but there were no white pointers to be seen!
We waited…and waited.
Trent got into the shark cage for a swim with no wetsuit on so many times that he was starting to look blue! It was rather disappointing but as the crew pointed out, they are wild animals and it is not 100% guaranteed that you will see them. At the hefty price tag I think it depends how desperate you are to see them. One couple had gone on three seperate occasions at different times of the year and hadn’t seen a thing. But of course other people have, it’s just luck of the draw.
There weren’t any sharks but there was a proposal of marriage! Now to me that’s a rather bizarre choice to conduct a proposal, amongst scary Great Whites, but he held up a sign whilst they were underwater saying “Will you marry me” and she said yes.
We all took turns to swim in the cage- the cage itself is creepy without the sharks being in the water as you look out at the bait with all the fish swimming around it. I’m not sure how I would feel about a man-eating shark swimming towards me!
The crew prepared us an amazing lunch of oysters, mussels, prawns, chicken, salad…we were fed really well on the boat and on the way back there was free beers!!! The engagement was an excuse for a little party on the top deck with everyone drinking a few West End Draughts and having a good time.
So there were no great whites but everyone had an awesome experience- great food, great day out on the water, great people, a proposal and a boxer.
Back in the marina everyone including Danny Green and his crew stopped for a few drinks and pizzas and bonded over the events of the day! One of the highlights of our trip despite being let down by those Great Whites.