Great White Sharks - the only thing to see here!!
Picture this….A small metal cage, sitting on the seabed at 16 metres…..4 great white sharks, ranging from 3m to Big Bad Bob at 5m….five or six 2-3m smooth sting rays….2 spotted eagle rays….a 3m bronze whaler shark…..a plethora of leather jackets, kingfish and many others….all furiously circling the cage, attracted to the massive tuna carcase lying on the floor of the cage, currently being gutted by hand, with guts strewn through the water…..the cage door is open…and Andrew Fox is half way out of the cage recording some sweet video footage! I swear he must have had eyes in the back of his head…he would have to, otherwise he was likely to lose said head!
Lets just say – the experience out there in the Neptune Islands was indescribable. Usually you do a dive trip, where you say…if only we had seen xxxx, if only the weather/crew/boat/food was better…etc. I have to say this was the Perfect trip, I couldn't have thought of anything further to ask for!! About 9 great whites in the four days, calm seas, lots of sun for sun bathing, great people and ace food…life is good!
Big Bad Bob was my fave – firstly at 5m he was the biggest….and we all know size matters! Was like being in the water with a Mack truck! He was easily identifiable by the blue paint on his head….whenever he missed the bait, he would try for a chunk of the cage…or the blue painted hull of the boat! Made for some nice shots! Was funny – the first day down in the cage, we were all very careful to keep hands and cameras well inside the cage…by the end it was arms fully extended outside the cage trying to get those close up shots! Was amazing how such massive creatures move so gracefully through the water, and turn on a dime. Mostly it was just a matter of standing in the cage in awe being in the same water as such a magnificent animal..and feeling very small!
But the reason the sharks were out there was due to the fact that there were heaps of baby seals being reared on the islands. We took the rubber dingy to the island to go exploring, and visit the shark food! The seal pups were so cute – hiding beneath rocks, awaiting the return of their mothers with food. With big brown eyes, they were like little puppy dogs….not quite as friendly as puppies, there was to be no cuddling there, but very cute, and photogenic nonetheless. Oh and as a climax to the excursion…Big Bad Bob escorted the dinghy back to the main boat….with him substantially outsizing the boat, it was a matter of bums inside the boat…..Amusing, but funnily, not scary at any point during the trip…seriously!
Bit of history though…..I made the trip with Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions, and was lucky enough to have Rodney on the boat. Rodney was attacked by a great white 40 years ago whilst spearfishing. It was a ferocious attack, but somehow he did survive to tell his tale…and my oh my, was he a great storyteller. Night after night all the guests would sit riveted by his many varied shark encounters. Far from being scared off sharks after his attack, he ultimately has become an avid shark conservationist, and a leading expert on sharks and their behaviours. I will never forget seeing the footage of him belting a great hammerhead over the head with a video camera in order to avoid its menacing bite. Awesome!
But all in all, a spectacular trip…..gotta live on the edge somehow! It blew my budget big time, but was worth every cent….
Trip leaves from Pt Lincoln, with Qantas providing connections from Adelaide. Check out www.rodneyfox.com.au.