Gansbaai is such a good place to do shark cage diving because of the huge seal colony on Geyser Rock, which lies about 500m from Dyer Island across a channel affectionately known as Shark Alley. In winter great white sharks patrol the alley looking out for nice fat baby seals that have gotten separated from their mums, while the birds on the nearby Dyer Island watch over the whole thing with avian disdain.
And, while the sharks home in on the seals, the shark cage diving boats home in on the sharks. The tour guides will toss a bit of fish blood and oil in the water to whet the appetites of the sleek prowling grey beasts and then, when the sharks come in for a closer look, they keep their interest up by dangling a big fish head temptingly on a line. And that’s when you get your camera out or take your turn in the cage to come eyeball to eyeball with this supreme predator.
Cage diving is rapidly growing in popularity, especially among younger people and tourists. Cage diving offers a safe way of getting a close-up view of these fearsome predators in their natural habitat. A current concern of cage diving is that the sharks are becoming used to humans, and because fish is used to draw them towards the cage, that sharks are beginning to associate humans with food. Responsible dive operators should not feed the sharks, and cage diving should be practised away from tourist spots.
If you are interested in a shark cage diving adventure, Gansbaai is an easy day trip from Cape Town. If you do not want to leave the city, you can also check out the sharks in False Bay near Seal Island, where Great Whites are known to congregate. In areas known to be populated with Great Whites, some operators will offer Great White shark cage diving tours.