The sun hasn’t yet poked its face out from behind the mountains, and the midwinter breeze over False Bay is freezing. Suddenly the water ahead detonates, and out explodes a massive four metre great white shark, its streamlined torso rigid, with a hapless Cape fur seal flailing in its gaping jaws. ‘This predation viewing is easier than I expected!’ I think to myself. I’m promptly reassured that although hunting events are likely on most expeditions, to be looking in exactly the right direction at the moment of impact is a special treat. I’m just pleased to not be in the water on my surfboard…
This is adventure at its raw best – almost like sitting at a game reserve waterhole, knowing lion kills are imminent, except there are going to be five, six or maybe even 10 in one session! Instead, we’re out on the water with Chris and Monique Fallows, owners of Apex Shark Expeditions.
25 minutes earlier we’d set off from Simon’s Town and headed to False Bay’s Seal Island aboard White Pointer 2, a 36 ft catamaran powerboat kitted for viewing and cage diving. The island is the sharks’ natural predation hangout for their primary meal source: Cape fur seals.
Take a moment to think about a shark that’s four metres long. That’s a razor-toothed, hydrodynamic car-sized predator that’s evolved exclusively for hunting as efficiently as possible. But what will really unnerve you is its girth – we’re talking Fiat500-sized fatness combined with extreme agility and power. And, there are bigger ones out there…
In terms of bucket-list adventures, viewing white sharks in their natural hunting grounds (and cage diving) in Cape Town’s False Bay should take top priority. And the Apex crew is about as professional as they come – they’ve hosted Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet and the BBC, after all.
A natural predation trip like ours, with Apex, is an incredible adventure in itself but, if you get a chance and the conditions are right, definitely clock some cage-time, right in the sharks’ domain under the water surface.
Who Apex Shark Expeditions
Where Simon’s Town wharf
When Morning trips depart 7 am, afternoon trips depart 1 pm
Cost R1 800 – R2 400 pp (season dependant)
Contact +27 21 786 5717, +27 79 051 8558, www.apexpredators.com, facebook.com/apexsharks
Photography Chris Fallows/apexpredators.com