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“The Big-6”. Done.

White Shark diving off South Africa

sunny 19 °C
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We’ve been on the African continent now for just under three weeks and seen just about every predator and type of prey you can imagine. In every case we were lucky and honored to witness the strength of nature and the amazing animals in its kingdom. Until yesterday, every encounter had been on land, and during none of the encounters was there ever a feeling real danger (ok, the lions almost jumping into the safari jeep after their little love-match got my adrenaline pumping and my hands shaking). However, slip into the cool waters off the southern coast of South Africa to entice Great White Sharks with tuna steaks and fish-chum soup (in which you are covered upon entering the water) and the sense of danger changes. Sitting in a small metal cage somehow doesn’t seem nearly as safe as an open sided safari jeep!

But to look at these prehistoric creatures as they swim up from the deep to take a “nibble” out of some fish, or glide past the cage and under your boat (some of the sharks seemed as long as the 30’ boat – though none were – they were nice and small, like 18 feet long . . . !) is to stare at an apex predator that knows no fear. Its only enemy is us, the human race, and even then, those empty black eyes just peer right through you with little or no interest.

While I was only able to catch a fleeting glimpse of one white shark as it passed our cage (we sat in 60 degree water in ill-fitting, already damp and stinky 5 millimeter full suits – Jacquie just missed its swim-by to chomp on tuna) I consider myself lucky to have even had that encounter. Adding her to the Big-5 of African predators (hence the Big-6!) only seems to make sense – yet somehow I would enhance the status for the great white. You could be gored, stomped, or bitten by any of the big 5 on land, but the sheer shredding ability of these huge magnificent creatures is astounding. Beyond any concern was our genuine astonishment at their size, grace, and agility. Definitely one of the wild animal encounters I will count at the top of my list.




The great white will most likely be killed off by us humans unfortunately. This may have been our one and only opportunity, and like many we have had on this trip, we are continually thankful to have been lucky to see these many wonders in their natural environments. As we said to ourselves a couple weeks ago, and was re-iterated by a nice retired couple from South Carolina whom we met just this morning, “We’ll never be able to go to a zoo again.”

Posted by lloydthyen 15:03 Archived in South Africa Tagged round_the_world

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