Remember Jaws? Well, today we went swimming with him and his friends. Off the coast of Port Lincoln, Australia there is a new zealand fur seal colony on the far away Neptune Island. We started before sunrise on our ride out to the island. The swells were large enough to make me feel dizzy and to make Wes feel quite seasick. The captain was smart enough to have sea sick stickers on hand. We placed them behind our ears and continued on our way.
It took probably about two hours to get out there. The cage was lowered and the first few brave volunteers suited up and hopped in. A few seconds later we saw a huge shark in the water swimming towards and around the boat and cage. They were attracted to the boat not by berley but by the ACDC music playing through speakers that were submerged in the water. About 15 minutes later they (the people) emerged from the cage with pictures and stories of the shark. Excited by the action, Wes and I suited up (wetsuits are HORRIBLY tight and uncomfortable) and got in line. I swung my legs over the stern and went down into the cage.
The waters were still rough, despite the protection of the island, and the cage was bobbing up and down with each wave. It was absolutely necessary to hook our feet into the cage and to hold on to the handrail. I spent the first few moments focusing on inhaling the dry air fed down from the boat, and the next few moments on pushing the water out of my mask. After becoming adjusted to breathing underwater I noticed the many many fish, most were silver, and pretty large… but no sharks.
So, we enjoyed the fish and waited. The waters were clear but despite the clarity we still weren’t seeing any sharks. After about 15 minutes I decided to give up and try again later and as I grabbed for the ladder, I looked down and noticed something larger than a fish. It was a great white! Attaching my feet back to the cage, I watched this majestic shark swim off into the distance. After a few more minutes it was clear that little guy wasn’t coming back so we came back up and rested on the boat while chatting with the other tourists.
The tour (Adventure Bays Tour) provided lunch, which although it looked great, neither of us felt like it was a good idea to put any extra matter into our tummies. Meanwhile Wes went to take a nap in an attempt to feel better. After several other groups went in and saw probably one shark each I was ready to go again but wasn’t sure about getting wet and cold again. The woman sitting next to me had been gifted this tour (and a sea lion swim tour) from her children for her 50th birthday and she was the one who convinced me to get my moneys worth and jump back in the cage.
I went to wake up Wes to see if he wanted to go again and even though he felt not so great he surprisingly said yes. We suited up again and got back in. This time my goggles weren’t on quite right and with every exhalation, I was pushing water out. After only a few minutes I signaled to Wes that I was going to climb out to change my mask but once again as I reached for the ladder the girl next to me tapped me on the shoulder and clanged on the cage to signal there was a shark. He was a bit larger this time and we had a longer chance to see him swimming around. I started a video just as he started to swim away (of course) and we were both happy to have seen another great white! Finally having had it with my mask I started towards the ladder and again, clang clang clang – another one! This time he was HUGE! I mean HUGE… probably about 4 meters long. He had dark black tips and seemed pretty dark for a great white. He circled around and then – clang clang clang- circled back, and clang clang clang – circled around again. At one point I swear he same back straight towards me. This gave us plenty of time to enjoy such a beautiful animal, while still feeling safe and sound in our cozy cage. I took a long video of the big big predator. Once he left I grabbed for the ladder to finally relieve my eyes from my flooded mask. When we got out everyone on the boat was raving about what a big shark they saw from the boat. I showed the video I took to the other passengers and they were amazed. I think we saw the largest shark of the day.
While I raved about the huge shark, Wes’s stomach had finally had enough of being bounced around and he let it all go over the side of the boat. It was actually quite entertaining because the school of fish beneath the boat went crazy over the “food” being thrown into the water. Completely satisfied feeling much better, we dried off and changed out of our wetsuits to warm up. On the drive back, we stopped to see the seal colony – so many babies! So cute! They watched us intently as we cruised past. After a long nap, we woke to dolphins next to the boat. What a day!
Other fun facts of the day:
At dinner there was no take away because they did not have a take away license.
There is something called the Australian seat of Batman – I have no clue what it is.
Here, minimum wage is around $16