Let me tell you a story…
(AND show you a SCARY photo…)
And to do it, I’ll be answering this question from another email subscriber at the same time:
“Paul… Loved your email last week about Chicago – have been to America but not to Chicago – I gets the sense from your comments it’s a place to go and “do”, as well as see!
Anyways, I digress and my question is really this:
I note from your emails (and newspaper column), and generally can just sense, that you like to travel (on planes).
I’m wondering then if you’ve ever seen anything or done anything that’s a little bit “different” from the usual sight seeing and picture taking and if you have, would mind sharing it with me and your other readers”?
Keep up the nice Sunday emails.
-Brian. 57, Saltburn By-The-Sea
By different, if Brian means “SWIMMING WITH GREAT WHITE SHARKS…then YES I have !
Here’s what happened:
Few years back now I went to watch some cricket (my fav past time) in South Africa.
(Cape Town, to be precise).
And if I’m honest, I had NO intention whatsoever of getting into the Atlantic ocean and going nose to nose with a great white shark.
But, it was new years eve and we’d gotten wind that there MIGHT be some spaces on this boat that was going out to sea to do it.
So few of us got up early and drove the 2 hrs along the coast to meet the rest of the people interested in doing it too.
All the way there and secretly I always thought I’d just sit and watch.
Because to be honest, even just being on a boat surrounded by 20 foot great white sharks, was to be an experience to be had, in its self.
Anyhoo’, at the last minute I decide to DO IT!
As in, place a wet suit on, grab a snorkel and mask, and get on in the cage with 6 other people who wanted to feel the rush of being up close to a SHARK.
I went in group number 4 (of 5), which meant for some pretty angry sharks by the time I’d gotten in.
Why angry (er) ?
They’d been tormented for an hour before by a fake “sea lion” being used as pray to lure them towards the cage and then to open their mouths wide, in anticipation of being able to eat it.
But, it was always removed just as they were about to bite down on it by a long rod held by a fisherman on the boat.
Would get me pretty irrate I recon, too.
And here’s what I remember about the day:
The very first time I stepped into the water it was FREEZING!
Heart was pounding and deep breathing to-boot, trying to pretend and smile as to seem like I was enjoying it as much as all the others.
And when the cage lid slams shut, then you just paddle and wait.
Literally, just wait.
As the guys on the boat throw chump, plastic sea lions and dead fish all around you, to attract the SHARKS.
And then you hear:
“Down on the left”…
That means you’ve gotta go down, and look to the left.
(‘Coz a BIG ONE is coming right at you!)
And seriously, they smash into the cage like they don’t know it was there.
And for about 1-2 seconds you literally are “eye ball to eye ball” with a great white shark.
One who is trying DESPERATELY hard to smash the steel cage and eat you for tea.
The shark relents.
And that’s when everyone in the cage comes back to the surface and is bursting with energy, adrenaline pumping, excited to DEATH and “high fiveing” just about everyone they can reach at having made it back up alive…
And when the adrenaline wears off, it’s then that it hits you…
The realisation that you’re in that cage for another 19 minutes and you’ve gotta’ keep listening out for:
“Down on the right”
The message that comes from the guys on top of the boat who can see “JAWS” coming from a 100 yards or so away.
(When you’re down in the cage, you only get about 5 meters (about 1-2 seconds) of sight before it’s right at you again…)
Any way, take a look at this real pic:
(Turn on images to see the pic…)
You can clearly see the size of the shark and it’s BIGGER than the entire length of the cage with 7 people in it!
Notice the guy just getting out of the cage… you wouldn’t want to be him and if you were you want to up and out quick!!..
And telling that story afterwards, as I did many, many times,… I had to admit one of the most FRIGHTENING parts was when you could hear the “screams” of all the other people on top of the boat, when I was IN the cage…
See, they could see the Shark before we could.
And so they were letting us know, how they would feel, if they were in that cage, knowing how close and how big this shark that was coming to “play”, actually was.
And I’ll never forget the sound of the HUGE white teeth clunking against the metal bars as it was trying to rip them all off and to get what was inside.
Would I do it again?
“NOT A CHANCE” –> that box is ticked 😉
Glad I did it though.
And a new years ever I’ll never forget.
(Any Questions for me… let me have them by Replying to this email…)
Been a while since I said – but THANK YOU for being their and reading 😉
(The Physio Who Writes Emails On A Sunday to his best clients).