I remember myself being a child, watching the wild life documentaries. Few creatures the nature intelligence has devised had ever exited me as the great white shark, the absolute and indisputable ruler of the oceans. I was trying then to imagine what a feeling of power might that creature carry in its head, knowing it has no competitor over its field of action, which is more than the half of earth’s surface. And I was always fancying that I shall one day get to see one of them. And now, after all these years of having knowing them through a screen, I finally get the chance to meet one of them, face to face.
The meeting point was set up off the coast of Gansbaai, a small fishing town on the coast of South Afica, where we reached after a couple of hours driving from Cape Town. Soon after we reached there, just after the daybreak, we got ourselves onto the boat and headed offshore, where the sharks should be now patrolling in search of prey. We got to the open sea, the boat was anchored, some tune heads were thrown into the water as a lure to the sharks, and while we were waiting for them to make their gracious appearance, we got to marvel the surrounding landscapes, and hear some interesting information about them from shark-expert-guy who was guiding the tour.
Amazing creature indeed! Having reached maturity at the age of 15 a great white shark can grow up to 6,5 meters in length and more than 3 tons in weight! Their lifespan is estimated to be more than 70 years! They attack their living preys by pouncing against them from beneath, speeding up to more than 50 km/h and biting them with their mighty jaws producing a force of as much as 18000 newtons!
After about an hour waiting in agony, a fin appeared gashing the surface of the sea and approaching the boat. The shark, true to the appointment, was here! Soon after, she paid us a first visit, coming near and roaming around the boat for a while. She was a female teenager of about 4 meters. Without lingering and having already diving suits on we got ready to step into her home. Having thrown a metal cage into the water, and the bait thrown right in front of it, we jumped in. We waited with the heads outside the water till she decides to pay us another visit. We waited for some time, having dived underwater sometimes, as she was approaching to check out the smell of the tune heads, but she hadn’t yet come close enough to the cage for us to be able to see her. As we saw her approaching one more time, we dove, and within a few seconds, all of a sudden, the gigantic beast was standing right in front us, looking at us. I cannot unfortunately know what she was thinking, but I was filled with awe and admiration , together with gratefulness of having that metal cage enclosing me. Even though it’s not that likely that they will attack to a human, despite the fables about them, I wouldn’t feel any confident swimming freely around them. Withdrawing once again, she stroke the cage with a great force with her tail, probably unintentionally, but we felt that for good. Afterwards, I came out of the water, l lay on the sun to dry off, and contemplated that in case there was any reincarnation I would become one of them with a great pleasure.