Great White Encounters Off Aliwal Shoal
Great White sharks on was a great treat for Aliwal Shoal along with all the Umkomaas Dive Charters and diving clientele experienced the food chain first hand. For those who haven’t already heard, seen on facebook, youtube, twitter, instagram and even the news paper – countrywide, read this blog for our personal encounter.
Saturday 22.08.2015 started out as the average Saturday, divers kitted up at the usual groggy 6 for 7 and off they went for the first dive of their week end away from all their hustle bustle lives. Ant, our skipper took them out and noticed some heavy bird activity on the way to the Shoal. Naturally, curiosity steps in and takes over the steering wheel knowing very well that where there are birds there’s a definite something for our tourists to see. This was a prize definitely not expected. One phone call to another charter for assistance and advice meant that the word spread – FAST. What Ant had found was the carcass of a whale surmised to have been about 2 or 3 years old. Speculation is that this baby was killed by an orca out at deep sea and brought in by the tides & currents (orcas are known for eating the tongue of humpbacks) or (god forbid) a ship’s propeller.
Personally I’ve never known Great White Sharks to be scavengers, this last week end though made it very apparent that they are (everyday’s a school day). We know of a definite 4 great whites that were chomping off this carcass, 3 individuals on the first day and 1 that was tagged that wasn’t there on the first day, 2 more that were there on the 2nd day that could very well have been two of the same from the first day. Other than these beautiful apex predators was around 20 – 30 toger sharks, one of at least 5m, a couple of Bull Sharks, Duskies & even oceanic black tips.
There are no words to describe the absolute awe and exhilaration, being in such close proximity to these majestic creatures, knowing that getting into the water is not a good idea and yet, it is. A couple of people did take the plunge (excuse the pun) and what they experienced was the most enviable encounter. The truth is that these animal REALLY have no interest in eating us. They don’t like us. They came in for a sniff here and there but no one person was under threat that was in the water on Scuba. Each person that went down with their gear, did so knowing that they were in a “dangerous” situation and these Great Whites & Tiger sharks were interested in only one thing; The free chow at the surface.