6 in the morning, already awake and ready for the adventure of our dreams/nightmares: facing the great white shark.
The crew welcomed us warmly and offered breakfast for everybody. After a good coffee and some sandwiches at Adventure Bay Charters headquarter (Port Lincoln, SA) we got onboard and hit the waves towards Neptune Islands. 3 hours of navigation through an apparently “calm” ocean (that’s what the guys told us) that for us seemed more like a rollercoaster. You know what? Seasickness you won’t stop us!
Insider’s tip: if you think you may suffer of sea sickness, make sure you have your pills before leaving.
Along the way we were admiring the sea and the landscape and chatting with our new mates. We passed by the coastline of the Lincoln National Park, Cape Catastrophe (they explained us why it is called as such, but we are not going to spoil it) and the surrounding islands before heading to the open ocean. Nothing else apart from the Neptune Islands and deep blue water was separating us from Antarctica, that is quite exciting to think about.
Matt, the Captain, was leading us through the waves of the Southern Ocean, while Sarah and Toby were going arount talking about shark tales. Those guys know a lot about these animals, their facts and real stories happened in the area. Anything we asked for, we got the answer!
Please note: in between one tale and the other they were also assisting few unfortunate mates who didn’t pay attention to the tip above. Mary, forgot your pills?
We dropped the anchor in a sheltered bay some 50-60 meters off shore of the Northern Island. The water was deep and blue but in some points we could still see clearer shapes of the bottom.
It was probably the clearest water we’ve ever seen and a perfect place to see sharks. The island’s coastline was rocky and the waves were smashing agaist it. This place is home for great whites. They never stop moving but in the last year more than 400 different great whites have been spotted and classified in these waters.
Ready for the action?? We got dressed up with our equipment (wetsuit, boots, gloves, mask..) all provided by Adventure Bay Charters while the cage was being thrown into the water. Oxygen is provided through regulators linked with outside tanks so breathing is not a problem, until you see the shark!
4 people at time were allowed
to jump into the cage, no restrictions of time or times that you could jump in,that is absolutely amazing because it gives you the chance to get comfy inside the cage and in the cold waters surrounding you.
Being inside that tiny cage, in that deep blue water, gives you a feeling of vulnerability and powerlessness. Armed only of our GoPro, only few metal bars would separate us from the king of the oceans. We couldn’t even think about how would it be without that cage.
For the moment we were surrounded only by a miriad of curious fishes hanging around the cage, good sight but still no shark. Out of the cage the crew, always very helpful, provided us with hot drinks, food and more stories about sightings in the area.
Fishes around the boat
Corner of the cage
View from inside the cage
Curious fishes around the cage
As the day went on, in and out of the cage we couldn’t see any shark until suddenly from the cage they made the signal! There was a shark in the water!! Our mates reckon they saw one shark clearly but still quite far away. Four meters long probably. Few moments and away it went, not to be seen anymore.
After other immersions during the afternoon sadly nobody could spot anything else apart a lonely seal that was happily swimming around. That was the confirmation for us that no sharks were in the area that day and it was almost 5 o’clock, time to leave the Neptunes.
On the way back disappointment was our first feeling, but then we understood that wild animals are unpredictable and nobody can control their behaviour or making them show up at determined places and moments. Still, the day was absolutely amazing. Sun was shining, the crew was professional and funny, and we made a lot of new friends! Plus, because of no actual sharks have been seen, they gave us a coupon with 50% discount for the next time we want to try this adventure!
We eventually made it to the Marina at Port Lincoln when it was almost sunset time. Time to say goodbye and leave.
We think we’ll come back to the Neptune Islands with the guys of Adventure Bay Charters, but don’t know exactly when yet. And off we went, again on the road, a bit tired but happy for the journey we had.
Thanks to the crew and to our mates for the amazing day!!