African Safari 2010  Header

Gene & Lee's African Safari
South Africa - April 28 to May 24, 2010


Introduction to our African adventure!

April 28 - Edmonton to Calgary

April 29 - Calgary to Frankfurt

April 30 - Frankfurt to Jo'burg

May 01 - Jo'burg

May 02 - Jo'burg to Livingstone

May 03 - Victoria Falls, Zambia

May 04 - Livingstone to Jo'burg

May 05 - Jo'burg to Hazyview

May 06 - Kruger National Park

May 07 - Kruger National Park

May 08 - Kruger to Pongola

May 09 - Pongola to Durban

May 10 - Durban to Cape Town

May 11 - Cape Town to Gordon's Bay

May 12 - Gordon's Bay / Gansbaai

May 13 - Gordon's Bay / Stellenbosch

May 14 - Cape Town to Jo'burg

May 15 - Jo'burg to Lephalale

May 16 - First day of hunting safari

May 17 - Second day of hunting safari

May 18 - Third day of hunting safari

May 19 - Fourth day of hunting safari

May 20 - Fifth day of hunting safari

May 21 - Sixth day of hunting safari

May 22 - Seventh day of hunting safari

May 23 - Jo'burg to Frankfurt

May 24 - Frankfurt to Calgary


Wednesday, May 12th - Gordon's Bay / Gansbaai

Up at 5:30 for shark diving! Harold called Shark Adventures at 5:45 as requested and we got the bad news. Although the weather was fine on our side of the bay, there were 27 knot winds where we had to go. Too rough a sea so it was a no-go. However, Essie was going to call his buddy at Gansbaai at 7:30 to see if he could get us on with that operator. Gansbaai is an hour and a half away by road but he said they'd get us there if the weather was good.

Meanwhile, while we were waiting for his call, I got on the internet to catch up on emails, etc. And wouldn't you know it, there was an email from Web Tickets, the outfit we had previously booked our Robben Island tour through. It read,"Please be informed that all tours to Robben Island have been cancelled for today due to rough seas and strong winds." So, we couldn't have gone to Robben Island yesterday even if we had been up to it. Checked my account with Web Tickets and sure enough, a refund of 800 Rand for the four of us had already been credited back to my Visa. Dumb luck sometimes favours fools and tired travellers!

Harold got a call back from Essie at 7:20. They were good to go shark cage diving with an associate of his at Gansbaai and if we could be ready in 15 minutes he would drive the four of us down in his car. We actually left the guest house at close to 7:45 and made it to the boat in Gansbaai with 3 minutes to spare. His 2-door Peugeot Coupe 407 was pretty much wound out the entire 130 km and he did it in an hour ten minutes. This was down a narrow two lane road through mountain passes, along curving coastal road and thru several towns.

click picture to enlarge

When we arrived we barely had time to sign the indemnity forms before we were hustled onto the imminently departing boat. By 9:10 we were underway. The boat was the Apex Predator captained by Brian McFarlane of Great White Shark Tours. We joined a group of about 15 Turkish men touring together of which the majority were rude, ignorant and inconsiderate. One small satisfaction was that half of them were hanging over the side for most of the trip.

click picture to enlarge

Even though the weather was clear, to clear the jetty we had to make a run through some large swells right at the mouth. After that it settled down somewhat for the 20 minute run out to Dyer Island. Dyer Island is the largest of a group of islands about 5 miles offshore from Gansbaai. It is named after Samson Dyer, an emigrant from the USA to the Cape Colony in 1806, who lived on the island collecting guano, which he sold to mainlanders as fertilizer.

click picture to enlarge

Dyer Island is now a nature reserve, cannot be accessed by the general public and is home to thousands of African Penguins. Geyser Rock is a smaller island nearby, and is home to around 60,000 Cape Fur Seals. The shallow channel between the two islands is popularly known as "Shark Alley".

click picture to enlarge

The Cape Fur Seals are the reason the Great Whites congregate here. After running up and down Geyser Rock for a look see, Capt. McFarland anchored out in about 20 metres of water several hundred yards out from the island. This is where he dropped the cage, started chumming and casting baits for sharks.

click picture to enlarge

The first shark showed up within about 20 minutes. These are big fish, 3 to 4 metres. And, they have lots of teeth. Shortly after the sharks appeared the crew asked who wanted to go over the side and into the cage. Harold and I both volunteered for the first shift into the water. After we shimmied into our wet suits, threw a thirty pound weight belt and mask on it was into the cage. As much as you think you've prepared yourself for the moment the first shark swims by while you're in the water, it catches you by surprise and is totally awesome.

click picture to enlarge

While we were in the cage, whenever a shark would make a pass one of the crew would yell out the direction the shark was coming from so you could take a breath, submerge yourself and watch the action from below the surface. Most of the passes were out ten to twenty feet or so, but some of them were almost brushing the cage. We stayed in the cage for about twenty minutes before it was time for the second shift of six to go in.

click picture to enlarge

Harold and I were out and stripping out of our wetsuits when I asked where Lee and Wendy were. I was told they were part of the second group of six. Lee hadn't shown much enthusiasm about doing the cage thing so I was a bit surprised that she suited up and went in.

click picture to enlarge

From all reports they had a great experience in the cage as well. When they came out, we all ended up on the top deck filming the action in the water below.

click picture to enlarge

By 12:00 noon or so the weather was quite pleasant but everyone had gotten their fill of great white sharks. By 12:00 noon or so the weather was quite pleasant but everyone had gotten their fill of great white sharks. The cage and anchor were pulled in and we got underway for the short cruise back to Gansbaai. When we landed Essie was waiting for us for the ride back. A DVD video had been shot by one of the crew members and Harold picked one up.

click picture to enlarge

We again packed ourselves into the Peugeot for the ride back that took a touch over two hours at normal speeds. Along the way we made a pit stop at Gearing's Point in Hermanus. Gearing's Point overlooks the Old Harbour which is a natural harbour and the oldest of Hermanus attractions. Old Harbour was proclaimed a museum in 1972 but whales and whale watching is the main reason people stop at Hermanus and Gearing's Point.

click picture to enlarge

After a quick look-see it was back into the Peugeot and the final leg home. When we arrived back at Berg en Zee, Essie would not take anything for running us down to Gansbaai and back, not even for gas, nor would he take anything for his time or making the arrangements for us. What a truly nice guy. The rest of the afternoon was spent feet up, and down time for the few hours till dinner.

click picture to enlarge

Dinner was down at the marina again, except we thought we'd step it up a bit and try out the Harbour Lights restaurant. Again, the theme was seafood but this time Harold and I had the surf n turf, kingklip (looks suspiciously like a burbot to me) for him with lobster bisque to start, prawns for me with scallops to start and an excellent filet mignon for both. Lee had Caesars salad, crayfish Newburg and Wendy had lobster bisque, crab something and fried Camembert. After dinner we did our five minute walk back home and off to bed at 9:30.

<< Previous Day

Next Day >>

back to top