Sharks carry an aura about them which causes most people to shudder in disgust, but at the same time in a way respecting the natural way that nature works its course. Sharks have to eat to live, and as long as it is not us that they are eating, watching them can be a fascinating pastime.

That is why a shark diving Cape Town excursion can be an exciting and exhilarating experience for most people. And that is what you will get as you book a position on one of the boats that will take you right to the action.

Actually, the people who sign up for these excursions are never in any danger at all, as one boat captain put it, “We have a 14 year perfect safety record.” And rightly so, as the “cage” that the viewers are contained in fits at surface level and it is strapped to the boat, so it is not going anywhere.

Groups are limited in size in these shark boats to about 20 people and they leave their moorings in Cape Town at about 9:00am and reach their destination of Gansbaai around 11:30am to the shark infested area, which is a channel situated between two islands.

The boat is a motorized catamaran which has been designed expressly for shark watching and cage diving. Once the boat is anchored in the channel area, the shark watchers, donned in their wet suits and goggles, climb into the cage. It holds six individuals, who are heavily protected by the steel bars on the cage, which floats on the surface and is attached to the boat.

The shark watchers can dive one meter under the water, which is about 3.3 feet, but can never go near the outer edge of the cage. They have a continuous supply of air from hoses in the cage, or they can use snorkels to breath from if they wish.

There is no diving certification required for the event as they are not free form diving and are confined to the cage. Chum is put out for the sharks in order to attract them. Sharks are not guaranteed to come, because you can’t always predict what they will do, but if everyone is patient and enough chum is distributed, they will come.

Once the majestic white sharks arrive it is an awesome experience to watch them, especially when they are “up close” at the edge of the cage. Sometimes the will open their mouths very wide for a terrifying view of their teeth and huge gaping jaws which could make short work of seals, dolphins and us. They cannot get close, however and are more interested in the chum anyway.

The people in the boat spend about a half hour in the water, and then they rotate with the others on the boat, so everyone gets a turn. The great white sharks are surface feeders, so even the people on the deck who are not in the water have a tremendous view of what is happening.

A shark diving Cape Town experience is one that no one will quickly forget as it is a once in a lifetime occasion.