I tried to keep the last leg of my journey a surprise, but for those who know anything about this area, they will have realised there was only one thing I would be doing in Hermanus if I wasn’t playing golf …….. Shark Cage Diving! I bought a couple of vouchers in April through a ‘youdeal.co.za’ special offer and thought it would be the perfect time to make use of one. The voucher included the return transfer from Cape Town, so I asked them to pick me up instead in Hermanus at the Zoete Inval Backpacker Hostel, where I was staying and then take me back to Cape Town again after we were done, saving me on the cost of transport for my final leg.
I arrived in Hermanus on Sunday evening, the Baz Bus stopping in Bot River, which is on the main highway and then had a shuttle to take me to the hostel, and for the first time in the week I had been travelling, the hostel was alive and not as quiet as all the others had been. It was nice to meet up with some other travellers, tell stories, give advice on where they should go, etc.
The Monday I spent updating the weekend’s worth of blogs and movies and then went for a nice long run along the cliff path which runs for about 12kms from one side of the town to the other. There are not many places in the World where you can see whales breaching as you run, which reminds me of this beautiful place in Swaziland where I sometimes take groups, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. The nights we stay there are quite rare; One, because we sleep in a traditional beehive straw huts; and Two, I don’t have to wake up in the morning to make breakfast. So instead I tie up my running shoes and jog around the sanctuary, the one morning I remembered counting at least 7 different species of animals I ran past, including, Zebras, Wildebeest, Hippo, Crocodile, Impala and Bontebok. Fortunately there are no predators in the Sanctuary, otherwise I might have had to do some sprint training as well!
Tuesday morning I was collected at 7:20 and it took about a half an hour to get around to Gansbaai, where the Shark Cage Diving companies operate from. When we arrived we had some breakfast and were briefed about the day ahead and what we should expect.
After my last Shark Cage experience in 2005, I made sure I took my motion sickness tablets, in case the sea was rough. Fortunately it was nice and calm and we didn’t have to wait long before the first sharks started circling our boat, attracted by the combination of fish oils and guts they chummed the water with.
I was first in the cage and had to come to terms with the breathing apparatus, having never been Scuba Diving before, it felt a little weird, but I managed to stay down a few minutes at a time and get some good sightings.
The water was pretty icey, but you didn’t notice it too much until you got out and onto the boat, my hand shaking too much to try get photos and videos of the sharks breaching all around us. After getting some footage, I went back in the cage for another few minutes, to get a last view of the massive Great Whites from below the surface.
We had a small group, with only 6 of us diving, which meant we could all fit into the cage at the same time. Not having to wait meant that we all got to dive as much as we wanted, we had all seen so much and then we were ready to go again.
Back on shore we were warmed by hot soup and got to watch a DVD of our dive, if anyone wanted to buy it. They also had underwater digital cameras available to rent if anyone wanted them too.
On the drive back to Cape Town, I think we all fell asleep in the bus within about 10 minutes, so the hour and a half drive back to Cape Town wasn’t too bad!
Unfortunately, arriving back in Cape Town meant that my Garden Route Golf Tour was over. In just over a week I had travelled from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town, played 6 rounds of golf and gone shark diving. What a week!!
In the next couple of days I am going to break down all the figures for you so you can see how affordable and attainable a (golf) tour of the Garden Route can be!
Until then . . . Chau!