Port Lincoln is the only place in Australia, and one of only five places on earth where you can go cage diving with Great White Sharks. Terrifying, exhilarating and awe-inspiring might be some of the words used to describe this experience. Personally, shit scared probably sums up best how I felt the first time I came face-to-face with the world’s most feared predator.
I have been cage diving with great whites in Port Lincoln 12 times since the experience was introduced and I will never forget the first time I did it. It’s a full day tour so you head out of the Port Lincoln Marina around 9am for a two-hour journey out to the Neptune Islands. You can feel the fear and excitement in the air as people try to distract themselves from what lies ahead. And you try hard not to have flashbacks of those infamous scenes from Jaws.
After some morning tea (if you can stomach it) you get wet-suited up and receive some instructions about how to enter the cage and what to do once you are in there. Your heart is pumping so fast you wonder if it will explode and that’s even before there are any sharks around. The cage is the only thing between you and the oceans most feared predator. It is a surface cage and only about a foot under the water.
When it’s time to enter the cage, the crew give you a mouth piece to breath in as you don’t have tanks. You don’t need any diving experience to go shark cage diving. Often, this is people’s first real underwater wildlife experience. Talk about jumping in the deep end (excuse the pun)!
Everyone feels exactly the same as they prepare to enter the cage. They are nervous, they are excited, their heart is pumping, they are breathing erratically. And once you are in the cage your heart is racing even faster!
“Then comes the moment when there is an enormous great white shark in front of you. You can hear your breathing is so fast, you know your eyes are bulging because everyone else’s are, and you’re hanging onto the cage for your life with your knuckles white. But then somehow your mindset changes when you experience how majestic these beautiful animals really are.”