Shark Diving

Alex Sharkman

Ever since I was young, I dreamed of encountering sharks underwater. Sadly in Malta this was close to impossible since it is very rare to find one.


In 1993 I decided to go on a trip to the Red Sea and there I had my first encounters at Sharm El Sheikh. Out of all the dives we did, we only saw sharks on 3 occasions. These were Whitetip Reef Sharks and a Grey Reef Shark. Although these 3 encounters were very brief, at least one of my dreams came true.

Over the years, I dived in verious locations, but the two most memorable locations are without doubt South Africa and Fiji.

SOUTH AFRICA

At the southern most tip of Africa is a quiet tiny fishing village called Gansbaai. In the last decade, this place has become known as "The White Shark Capital of the World.It is here that more than 30 years after I first heard about it in the epic classic documentary, "Blue Water, White Death", I was to meet Carcharodon carcharias, The Great White Shark!!

During February 2001 and again in February 2002 I travelled to Gansbaai to observe, photograph and dive with these magnificent sharks.

Gansbaai and Kleinbaai Map
Dyer Island and Gyser Rock are about 9.5km out of Kleinbaai and it only takes the boat a few minutes to get there. Once anchored, the chumming starts. At first, all is quiet as we wait for the sharks to show up. Once the sharks show up, its action all the way. The waiting can be anything from 5 minutes to 5 hours or more. Each day was different.
Dyer Island & Gyser Rock.
Dyer Island {left} and Gyser Rock {right} separated by the channel that has been called "Shark Alley".

The Statistics for both trips coincidentally shows similar data:

 

* In 2001 we made 7 boat trips and in 2002 we had 10.

* On both trips we had a total of 17 sharks.

* On both trips we positively identified 4 Males and 8 Females

* In 2001 sizes ranged from 2mtrs to a probable 5mtr.

* In 2002 Sharks ranged from 1.8mtrs to a probable 4.5mtr.

Shark sightings chart

The above trips were sponsored by the Following People.

 

2001

White Shark Adventures
Jacki & Rosemary Smit

                                                     

White Shark Diving Co.
Piet Smal
Michael Ch. Scholl
Frank Rutzen
Christina Rutzen

                                                     

Marine Dynamics
Michael Rutzen

Morné Hardenberg
Guido Johannsmeier
Rozier Steensma

2002

Shark Diving Unlimited

Michael Rutzen

Frank Rutzen

Morné Hardenberg

Lindy van Rooyen

Ria Hardenberg

Warren Hardenberg

Marie Rutzen (Mike's mom)

Christina Rutzen

White Shark Trust

Michael Ch. Scholl

Tracy Scholl

I also wish to thank:

Chris & Monique Fallows of African Shark Eco-Charters.

Also...... Marc Manson at the Two Oceans Aquarium
for the unforgettable tank dive with the 5 Regged tooth Sharks.

Sandtiger shark 1
Sandtiger shark 2
and Charles Maxwell of Underwater Video Services
for these 2 photos - because mine did not come out!!
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FIJI

In 2009, as part of the The International Year Of The Shark campaign, I was invited by the Fiji Shark Conservation & Awareness Project and Beqa Adventure Divers to go to FIJI.

Established in 2004, the Shark Reef Marine Reserve is located in Beqa Lagoon on the south coast of Viti Levu.

Shark reef marine reserve Fiji
This is the only place in the World where one can possibly encounter 8 different species of sharks on a single dive! It is no surprise that diving legends Ron & Valerie Taylor have named this place as "The Best Shark Dive In The World."

For 3 weeks, I dived with, observed and photographed Bulls, Greys, Blacktips, Whitetips and Nurse Sharks. 5 out of 8 is not bad. This was by far the BEST shark diving I ever done.
My Thanks to my sponsors:

beqa adventure divers.jpg
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MALTA

As I have already stated above, the chances of seeing
sharks alive underwater in Malta are close to impossible.
In a lifetime of diving around our islands, I never saw any, except when I was involved in the making of the german documentary, "
Track of the Tuna" in 2006.