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View Full Version : Great White Sharks and South Africa - Let's set things straight



caravias
October 12th, 2002, 06:39 PM
Hello fellow divers!

My name is Elna. I am 20 and I live in Gansbaai, the Great White Shark capitol of the world. About 4 years ago I was introduced to the world of the Great Whites. How did this happen? Well, I fell in love with a wildlife scientist that does research on the Great White Shark. We had a relationship for about 8 months and about 50% of that 8 months I spend on Dyer Island and doing research with him. I've seen and learned things that I never knew.

Every weekend we would take his little boat out and go sit in Shark Alley. Waiting, doing experiments and observing. My passion for the Great White Sharks started the day that one came swimming past the boat and I reached out and touched its fin. I walked with the shark for the whole lenght of the baot. It was amazing. From there on, they always had a soft spot.

Why are the sharks at Gansbaai?
Well, we have Dyer Island and Geyser Island. Dyer Island has thousands of penguins and birds on it and Geyser Island thousands of seals. The Alley in the middel of theses two islands are obviously then a perfect feeding and breeding gruond for the sharks.

Do cagediving hurt or damage the sharks in any way?
No......The operators are highly trained and most of them knows the sharks like the back of their hand. It is of utmost importance to them not to disturb the natural habitat of these beautiful creatures.

I'm sure most of you already heard of my good friend "uncle" Andre Hartman. He freedives with the sharks. I grew up under Andre and trust me, that guy realy has a passion for these animals. He's been on so many magazine covers and documentaries, that I'm not even gonna try and list them.
I was fortunate enough to meet the National Geographic team when they were out here to film Andre Hartman freediving, and trust me, they had the utmost respect.

Basicly, if you wanna dive with the Sharks, do it with Andre.
Andre is currently trying to get permission fron the filmers to put some footage and photos of himself freediving on www.westerncape.u-k.org that will blow your mind. Imagine riding a White shark like you would a dolphin holding on to its fin...thats all I'm gonna say.

Now, the issue about security in South Africa:
Thing is, there are no issue. The overseas tv only reports the bad stuff happening over here and they seem to forget about the good stuff. I have never in my 20 yrs been mugged, robbed, kidnapped, hijacked or whatever you wanna call it.

Over to the good stuff!
It is CHEAP man!
A bottle of good red wine = $4-50,
A pack of ciggarets = $1-00,
A 600gram T-bone in a top class restaurant = $7-00
A nice car for a day with unlimited milage = $20-00
Oh yeah, and sunscreen is VERY cheap here.
If you are planning a trip here and are wondering what to buy here and how much it costs, send me an email at elnacaravias@yahoo.co.uk and I'll try my best to help you out.

I am wondering if I should start up a chatroom where divers can talk live to Andre for say an hour a week or something like that. Andre is up for that, but first I would like to know if anybody are interested.

Anyway, I suppose I cant take up to much space, but if you guys need any info on Mozambique whale shark diving, SA or the Great White Sharks, please view our site at www.westerncape.u-k.org or just drop me a message here.

Ps: I would love to answer any questions about the White Sharks and if I dont know I'm sure that Andre will be able to help.

Good and safe diving for All!
Cheers for now
Elna Caravias

AquaTec
October 12th, 2002, 07:40 PM
Here is a Great White off the coast of California

caravias
October 13th, 2002, 06:23 AM
Nice man....
Have you ever seen a live atack?
I saw it once. We were floating around, chuming, doing research, and the next thing about 30 meters away I saw a Great white breeching into the air with a seal pup in it's mouth. The splash was huge when he came down. It was awesome. I would love to put put some up for you to look at, but unfortunately I only got pics from when I went out with National Geographic and other filmcrews. We are trying to get permission to show it but it takes a bit of time. I got a Great White photo on my desktop that National Geo had on their cover page and I'm dying to show it to you. Then there's also footage of Andre swimming with White Sharks by holding onto its fin like you would with dolphins. It's mindblowing! As soon as I got some good pics (with permission to show them) I will definately put themj up as fast as I can.

jamespitt
October 13th, 2002, 08:14 PM
aquatec,
c'mon let the jaapies have a little bit of international fame.. that photo is from the western cape south africa - even the shark has blue and white hoops... www.wprugby.com
here is the website of the guy who actually took that photo.
http://www.apexpredators.com/

caravias
October 16th, 2002, 03:04 PM
Right on Jamespitt

I speak under correction: That was taken in Falsebay, Western Cape, South Africa. The shark has the nickname of Submarine and is a +- 8meter baby. They are not sure whether it is the submarine in the photo or not. People I know studied that photo and the rest of them in the sequence and unfortunately I can not say what they concluded. That hit headlines on South Africa's news and papers. A skipper of a boat operating in the area wanted to kill the shark as it apparantly damaged some boats. He took up the story with the people he was supposed to (sorry I'm not allowed to give much detail) but he failed and the Submarine is still in the Falsebay waters. About a week ago a whitshark took the back off of a surfers surfski, also in Falsebay. Who knows, Might have been the SubMarine.

Keep it real people! Dont believe eveything people tell you.
What that shark did,is called breeching (not jumping). I have a wicked photo of a breech during a LIVE attack, I just need to get the right permission first.

KelpCoasters
October 5th, 2005, 01:56 PM
Sorry, but that's definitely not a 26ft GW. Any pictures of "Submarine" around? I'd like to see a 26ft GW from SA.


Right on Jamespitt

I speak under correction: That was taken in Falsebay, Western Cape, South Africa. The shark has the nickname of Submarine and is a +- 8meter baby. They are not sure whether it is the submarine in the photo or not. People I know studied that photo and the rest of them in the sequence and unfortunately I can not say what they concluded. That hit headlines on South Africa's news and papers. A skipper of a boat operating in the area wanted to kill the shark as it apparantly damaged some boats. He took up the story with the people he was supposed to (sorry I'm not allowed to give much detail) but he failed and the Submarine is still in the Falsebay waters. About a week ago a whitshark took the back off of a surfers surfski, also in Falsebay. Who knows, Might have been the SubMarine.

Keep it real people! Dont believe eveything people tell you.
What that shark did,is called breeching (not jumping). I have a wicked photo of a breech during a LIVE attack, I just need to get the right permission first.

ShakaZulu
October 5th, 2005, 02:02 PM
Here is a Great White off the coast of California

Only in South Africa do GW's breach the surface like that..........I thought "Submarine" dissapeard a long time ago? Where are all the Western Cape divers?

BTW, I still have not been convinced that shark diving is teaching the GW's to associate humans with food, thats unless Ivan Pavlov had it all wrong.

http://riri.essortment.com/pavlovdogs_oif.htm

drbill
October 5th, 2005, 02:39 PM
Here is a Great White off the coast of California

Despite the picture's origin, it would be much easier (and make for smaller image file sizes) if images were posted as JPEG's rather than BMP's.

I have dived the waters of Santa Catalina Island and the other California Channel Islands off-and-on for 36 years. Although I have seen great whites from the surface (while on boats or in kayaks), I have yet to see one underwater.

I did go to Guadalupe Island with a scientific expedition team last December and was able to film the great whites there from a cage. I was told that Andre Hartman felt the GWS at Guadalupe were too unpredictable to swim with in the open. Can you verify that Elna?

I believe my old friend Jean-Michel Cousteau did his free diving with GWS and had a nice tow from one holding onto its dorsal fin under Andre's supervision.I'm not sure my cajones are that large!

They do seem to have a well-undeserved reputation as "killers." I remember when I moved to California in 1969, I read a book about them on the train ride. I was scared to death on my first open ocean dive here that year. Now I only feel funny when I'm at the surface in murky water.

My gallery has a number of GWS pix from the Guadalupe experience. I filmed alongside Guy Harvey who used some of my footage in his TV show "Portraits from the Deep" last March.

Bill Fisher
October 5th, 2005, 06:02 PM
Only in South Africa do GW's breach the surface like that..........shakazulu.


Not true...
I've seen several sharks breach at Guadalupe island, Mexico. On my last trip there was 6 or 7 breaches over 3 days. It does seem to be a new phenomenon for Guadalupe though. The sharks didn't seem to be going after prey. One swam straight up from the depths and breached entirely out of the water...very close to the side of the boat. Everyone who witnessed it almost s*#t thier pants. The folks who were in the cages at the time saw the whole thing coming, while those of us topside had no idea until the shark flew completely out of the water!

One morning I walked out on deck, and witnessed another great white breach completely out of the water approximately 50 yards off the back of the boat! I think he was just saying "good morning".

Great whites have also been documented breaching at the Farrallon Islands too...so they do breach at other locations than South Africa. It's just that they do it soooo much more there than anywhere else. But at the Farrallones the attacks on elephant seals may occur more under water. But if needed, they will breach in California and Mexico.

In regards to the start of this thread, I would definately be interested in the online chat with Mr. Hartman.

Bill

mjh
October 6th, 2005, 10:13 AM
Have to chime in on the breaching. We saw three sharks breach. I saw one from the cage, quite a sight. One breached right alongside the boat and drenched the whole rear deck. I saw a small female have no luck getting the bait when she approached from the surface so started to attack from under the cages. This is the one I saw breach from below. (At Guadalupe Island)

DiverAndy
October 9th, 2005, 07:50 AM
Although I don't dispute the words of Elna, who is clearly knowledgeable about the GW's, the picture is as ??? said, it is a part of the collection of Chris and Monique Fallows in the Western Cape. Their website www.apexpredators.com has many more great photo's that you can buy in high quality print. All the proceeds of their photo's go into furthering their studies on these fabulous beasts. I receive their monthly 'Shark-Bytes' newsletters and it makes a good read.
As far as the submarine is concerned, the tales are there, and for all we know, the shark is too. I have seen some very large sharks in False Bay, but only ever from boats (can be a little daunting trolling off a 6.1m inflatable with a 35cm dorsal fin about 20m off the stern, but I have not seen anything as large as 6-8m.
I was lucky enough to go diving in Gansbaai in the cage efforts over there and although it was cold, we were not allowed to use reg's (scares the sharks off) until the sharks are relaxed around the boat; it was an amazing experience nontheless...highly recommended!!
Sharks breach all over the world, but the Western Cape is prolific as a result of the natural 'design' of Robben Island and Shark Alley, if you want to lear more, rent the DVD's Air Jaws and Air Jaws II. Chris Fallows features prominently and there is some footage of a whale carcass being devoured by no less than 20 large GW's....awesome.

P.S, I have done about 50 dives in and around False Bay and NEVER seen a GW under the water......but they are there,m and they see you, even if you do not see them..!!

Safe Diving to all.


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