As I mentioned at the end of my last post, the purpose of our trek to the Waterfront on Tuesday ended up being to book either a short stay at a game reserve, or a shark diving expedition. Marlon and I are both very assertive and astute decision-makers, and certainly never spend upwards of 10 minutes trying to weasel some glimmer of a preference out of the other; so deciding between the two options was a pretty easy and straightforward process.
…Actually, it was a tough decision. Pat, having done both, recommended the shark diving and ultimately that’s probably what swayed us. Hundreds of reviews for Sharklady Adventures, Inverdoorn Game Reserve, and Aquila Private Game Reserve span the spectrum from terrible to raving, and leave the average for each at a solid 4 out of 5. I don’t think there was a bad decision to be made, but we were quite happy with our choice and felt well taken care of by the folks at Sharklady.
The safari would have been an overnight trip, so as the shark diving was two-and-a-half hours away we thought we might as well spend a night outside of Cape Town anyway. We asked about staying in Gaansbai, the town whence the dive trips set out, but were informed that we’d be better off staying in the town of Hermanus– through which the bus had to pass anyway–instead. Initially we were offered a room in Sharklady’s own “cottage,” but after reviewing the other options the woman at Sharklady was kind enough to arrange our stay at Harbour House Hotel. (Which I would highly recommend!)
We got picked up from Pat’s early on Wednesday morning and set out on a really beautiful drive east from Cape Town. I’ll admit to nodding off for part of the trip, but spent a good deal of it admiring the scenery (and enjoying the South African Deep House, of course). We were given a small meal at the shop, which was plastered both with photos of some of their celebrity clients and posters about how people are killed far more frequently by household items like chairs and toasters than by sharks. Celebrity clients include Brad Pitt, Prince Harry, and my girl RiRi (HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY BABYGIRL!!!).
Our cheeky guide Lance gave me hard time for my sunburn and heckled the Kiwis a bit before launching into a quick (but thorough, rest assured) safety briefing on proper cage behavior; and before we knew it we were sailing (…figuratively) across the cold, choppy sea to prime shark-watching waters. Though this isn’t the best time of year for shark viewing, we saw about eight at our boat. They were smallish (8-12 feet long, if memory serves?), but still impressive, especially when they swam no further than arms’ length from you in the cage. Our cage never got bumped (though that does happen), and I really never felt scared. It was crazy to watch them jump from time to time for the bait, but for the most party they were just really graceful.
We were fed a delicious (vegetarian!!) stew at the shop and shown the video that was made of the jaunt, then whisked back an hour in the direction of Cape Town, at which point we were dropped in Hermanus. It was a quaint, sleepy little town, but (especially after three nights on an air mattress, haha) it was a nice place to rest up, have some good food, and take in some more lovely scenery.