|A glimpse of a huge white shark while in the ocean is what nightmares
are truly made of. As a windsurfer who lives in the Bay Area, which is
part of the West coast's "Bloody Triangle", the last thing you ever want
to see is a great white shark. For some reason I changed my mind, let's
see what these monsters look like underwater and within reach.
This is were I decided to get up-close and personal with great white sharks in May
This picture was taken from Outside Magazine, August 1998, that reports on "Shark's Alley" in Ganzbay, South Africa. This one that they photographed is smaller than most of the 18 sharks I saw swimming in one day at shark's alley.
|You head out to sea about 45 minutes and go into a narrow and shallow channel between islands that are full of seals. The small shark watching boats line up and start preparing the cages and animal body parts that attrack the sharks.|
|.||There are between 30,000 and 50,000 seals on the islands next to shark's alley. The younger seals do acrobatic flips in the air as the waves crash into the rocks. The show and the stench of so many seals living together are amazing. The islands form a barrier between the open ocean and the bay where sharks love to roam for their meals.|
|The sun is hot and lounging on the rocks looking for seal sex out of the cold water when you've got layers of blubber and fur is too much for the seals. They must get in the water to cool off. They must go in numbers or they'll be picked off by the great whites. The sharks await lunch to dive into the water. Feeding is like eating tapas - lots of many small dishes to munch on.|
|So how do we humans get to part of the feeding action. Well, it starts with putting on a 6 mm suit including hood - the water is absolutely freezing - and waiting for the hungry monsters to arrive. And they do soon one after the other. They smell food in the water and they're hungry.|
|They get pretty close to the boat and the cages, within a few feet, circling and trying to decide not on wether they'll bite something, but what to bite and when to bite it.|
|So let's get in the water. This is a shark's eye view of me underwater.
The only thing missing is me making seal barking noises and slapping my
hands together like they're flippers.
I sit there seeing something off in the dark waters and say, "here
flipper, here boy, have a fishy....hey, wait a minute, you're not flipper!
Wow, where did you get all those big teeth?"
|I strained my eyes to see a shark and then out in the mirky water the shadows appear. And boy do they get bigger and bigger until the monster comes into focus. You can't help thinking, "oh my God,..." You are too concerned to worry about whether the cage will hold or anything else - that's just not where your focus is. Your eyes are glued through the misty mask at those black half-dollars which seem like they are staring back and asking "are you food?"|
|But thankfully the swiming monsters keep swimming past and then again past the cage. They're not interested in testing the metal. Something about electrical charges and metal on teeth bothers them. Their attention is focused on the bait bag oozing stinky chopped up sardines.|
|Eventually they bite the bag. The one you see here was late in the day and it was a little over 5 meters long (approx 17 feet). The thrashing bulk was very impressive - it sent water everywhere.|
|You can see the immense girth of the shark. The orange buoy is a little larger than a volleyball. After a feeding the bag which is made of anchovy netting is totally shredded.|