Early in the morning on Friday, 9 November 2018, a group of tour operators and divers from White Shark Africa took a few people out to go shark cage diving near Seal Island in Mossel Bay, South Africa. The qualified instructors and guides were ‘chumming’ – a common practice involving throwing pilchards into the sea to attract great white sharks for viewing.
Just then, one of the instructors approached the captain and said, “Hey, look over there! There’s a guy swimming around the island!”
The man had swum out from Dias Beach and was circling Seal island from the southern tip of the island. The man appeared not to be aware that there were a number of great white sharks within meters of him.
The captain quickly took charge, radioing in port control to inform them that there was a man in the water and went after him. They began shouting out and gestured for him to get onto the boat.
The man swam over and was brought to safety a few moments later and the tour operators dropped him back off at the beach.
When he reflected on the matter, the man said that he had no idea of the danger he was in. He said that he had heard from others that there were a few Great White sharks there but had heard that there had not been any shark attacks and so surmised that it was safe. He then decided to take a swim out to the island and all the way around and was on his way back when he was rescued.
He recalls seeing fins and movement in the water but assumed they were dolphins and seals. He ended off by saying he thought a shark was following him but he wasn’t sure! At being rescued the man was in good spirits and we can only imagine the shock of it all might kick in a little later.
The captain was not as positive and was completely gobsmacked. “If anything had happened to him, not only would it have been a tragedy but would have caused a lot of problems for businesses that rely on the presence of sharks.
Fortunately, the tour operators from White Shark Africa spotted him and as the saying goes, all's well that ends well! Let's hope the unidentified man sticks to dry land for his next exercise session.
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