Ry Hits Oz,Great White Shark Dive!!!!!!!

Trip Start Apr 16, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Friday, September 1, 2006

Last night of bumming in Bali,met Si whod come back from the Gilis early and brought along a French girl Maria hed met there so went out to Pizza hut and a few beers in the sports bar for one last time.Said tra to them and jumped in a taxi to the airport for the 2 1/2 hour flight to Darwin at 12.30am.Landed in Darwin,and checked my paper booking which said the flight onto Adelaide was only an hour later so rushed through immigration which was really strict,checking everything in your bags and any souvenirs.4am made it through and into departures to check the check in time for my flight only to see there was nothing on there for Adelaide-then after checking with the desk was told it had been changed from 5am to 1.30PM!!!!!!!!!So again im stuck in an airport with nothing to do,I cant even go upstairs for a drink and something to eat as you have to check bags in first and wearing shorts and t-shirts lying on the airport floor freezing cold for 8hours!!!!!Finally got onboard for the 3 1/2 flight and strolled straight through Adelaide airport and onto the Skylink bus only $5 to drop me off right outside Cannon St.Backpackers hostel.Massive hostel for $15 a night sharing dorm rooms with pool table,table tennis,dvd room and free apple pie and cream!?!?Met a Kiwi lad called Shannon and decided not to bother going to sleep and by 7pm was heading off with him to the liquor store to grab some beer and then headed out into Hindley street where all the bars where.Having come from Bali and Asia in shorts and tshirts for the last 4months went out in flip flops and jeans but was turned away as not allowed "thongs" in pubs for safety reasons but still managed to get a few beers down us and get pretty wasted!
Booked my ticket to Port Lincoln to leave at 8am on the 4th and boarded the Premier Stateliner bus opposite my hostel for the 12hour journey to Port Lincoln harbour to where I was doing the shark dive.Amazing to be back in civilization after catching the local rattlers in Indonesia etc!!Air con,the bus leaves when it says it does and not when its full!signs and proper tickets to get on,films on the telly and everything!I was dreading the journey before leaving England but after 20hour journeys sat on bags of rice and next to chickens this was heaven!One thing made me laugh an old couple were sat opposite me and asked to move seats....cos there was a slight rattling noise above them in the overhead hanger!!!!!haha I had to laugh to myself thinking god if youd done some of the journeys id done pal you wouldnt complain about that!!!!!!!!
Stopped in Port Augusta for an hour which was full of Abbo's,most of them with bottles of beer and spirits in brown bags before getting to Port Lincoln at 6pm,then hopped into a taxi to get down to the boat at the harbour.Rodney Fox basically is the survivor of the worst shark attack ever when he got bitten 40years ago while diving 3times needing 450stitches and invented the cage for shark diving,and filmed the underwater stuff for Jaws and is on any shark film or documentary youll see hes famous!His son does the expeditions now,but as I pulled up at the boat an old fella sticks his head through the taxi window and its only him!Turned out his son Andrew was taken ill after the last dive with bad ears so we had the legend himself taking us out with his wife Kay!!!
Went over to the local pub with the other 12people who were on the trip,and told us about Steve Irwin being killed,which was really gutting-especially as it turned out he was due to come to the same boat the day after we left to go out with Rodney to make a film for his series about sharks so wed have gotten to meet Steve Irwin too!!!
Shared a cabin with another lad from england with me on the tiny fold out top bunk!left at 6am the next morning so got up to see the sunrise and loads of dolphins following us and surfing the wave of the boat.After 3hours sailing out off the coast we got to the Neptune Islands,two islands offshore full of seals and their young-the best restaurant for white sharks who fed off them both!PHOTO_ID_L=pa070482.jpg]
We started chumming(buckets full of fish guts,tuna bits,blood etc to attract the sharks in)and tossed over massive chunks of tuna on a line,their not supposed to feed the sharks as people say it attracts them to humans and divers etc so they try to pull the bait away at the last second.So were all waiting around the back of the boat,waiting for our first shark when after about an hour....BANG!!!!a massive 4metre long shark bullets through the sea from below and takes the bait in a flash!!!!
Me and a few others were balanced on the top hanging off the side edge to get a better view PHOTO_ID_R=pa050372.jpg]
and could see the silhouette underwater nearly half the size of the boat!!!Their really well camouflaged from above with the grey top of their body blending into the sea bed and the water was really blue and dark which made it quite eerie and even harder to see them until the seconds before they grabbed the bait where you could see their white bellys coming through the water-wow!!unbelievable site!!!! PHOTO_ID_L=underwater_7-9-06_016.jpg]
So it was time to go see them underwater,and the steel cage was lowered at the back of the boat,tied to a floating platform where you get in and out. Full wet suit on,with hood and boots,regulator in mouth and mask and slowly lowered myself into the cage-pretty wary as the top of the cage had two doors which close but were level with the sea so quite easy for a shark to swim up and over into the cage!!!especially when your struggling to get in with a weight belt full of lead hanging off you!!!
Got into the cage,and everything hit me!the water was freezing cold along with the regulator took away my breath and the waves were rocking the cage back and forth,and the sounds of the cage banging and yourself breathing hard through the tube at first was a real shock.Then,after a couple of minutes getting used to it,through the murky water I saw it for the first time!!!!!Gliding like it wasnt even swimming with no effort my first Great White Shark,about 5metres long,like a barrel or torpedo just as wide and pointed nose with mouth open just cruising straight for us!!!!!
WOO HOOO!!!!!!One of the best feelings ever!!!!!!!!I knew I wouldnt be scared or nervous and more in awe,and that was what it was,my regulator nearly fell out cos my jaw must have just dropped as i saw it for the 1st time!!!!

It was just like watching another documentary on telly where you see them in cages and the sharks come and bite the sides but with the cold,the cage rocking,hearing yourself struggling to breath and with the mask you can only see 30% ahead it makes it more surreal!Stayed in for about half an hour at first,hanging onto the sides making sure my arms didnt fall out through the gaps in the cages cos the cage was rocking quite a bit with the waves,and then had about 4 sharks all at once circling us, coming from below,cruising straight past your feet so the fins are scraping the underside of the mesh,youd look left at one,turn round and have a 5metre shark,jaws gaping 30cm from your face hitting the cage from the right,which you cant see cos of your mask cutting out your side vision so you cant see out the corner of your eye.
I must have looked a right div when i came out of the cage the first time,after half hour you forget any worries and found myself hanging on the top of the cage at the surface,cage wide open just jaw open like a little kid with a massive grin on my face telling the others how big they were,how many blah blah blah till they had to tell me to get out and not hang around as I was about 2foot from a shark on the top with my arms in the water,ha!!!!!!!!
Spent the rest of the day jumping in and out,getting dry and watching others from the top as we only had one cage in at a time and 4people in together.
"Pato",the dive master and cook spent the next 3 days cooking us up cracking hot food the best id eaten since i came away,curry for lunch with rice,roast dinner at night with beer and bottles of wine while Rodney would put on a docco or stand up and talk to us about his stories and tales from diving and sharks.The boat,the Princess 2 was really nice too,with hot showers and a lounge where we'd all eat,look at our photos and then at night me and another lad who was on honeymoon from Northern Ireland kept watch for an hour as you always have to have a night watchman all through the night,so we would anchor in the bay and id have to get up for an hour after someone handed over and just walk round the boat to check for fire,and the radar to make sure we werent getting too close to the rocks!!!!
The second day the weather turned really choppy so was gutted that we couldnt get in the cages,but the certified divers managed to do the submerse dive,the only one in the world where they get in the cage to get lowered to the sea bed where the sharks are more natural swimming round,but couldnt do as I hadnt managed to get my Padi course done in Thailand-gutted!
Last day though,conditions were good and was itching to get in so grabbed brekkie at 6.30am and with Danny and Kylie from Oz,jumped straight in the cage!!!3 or 4 sharks,quite a few "regulars" cos they also do research and tag them and give them names so they can study them so we had "moo", "Fay" and "Kal"-all HUGE sharks circling,theyd just cruise around,some amble up to the tuna and Jonesey on top would try and pull it away in time,mainly towards the cage so wed get the shark crashing into the cage and get a close up look of their teeth while their a foot away from us trying to bite the cage in half!but then youd get come which would circle,drop to the bottom where wed lose sight of them cos of the water,then all of a sudden turn to our sides and see this torpedo 5metre massive shark,mouth open charging from the bottom like a missile and launching out the water a few feet away from us taking the tuna and the float,rope and everything with it.I had to say it was one of the best things ive ever done,to be this close to them and to see them was just mind blowing!!I couldnt believe they were really shy,not just coming straight up for the food or charging at anything,which makes it even worse as their really sly and unpredictable,so if your in the water and they decide to come for you,then you havent got a chance as you wont see them till its too late!!!!
By the end of it all though found myself wanting to get out of the cage and swim with them naturally,their such gracious things and you just want to get out and touch them and get closer,especially when thye just cruise towards you and look at you with their big black eyes from a foot away,probably thinking "how do i get in there!?"
The last day after id been in for about 3hours till i couldnt feel my feet we all jumped into the little life boat and went ashore to the islands,and spent an hour walking round right up to the baby seals.Had to be careful as when you got too close the mothers would charge at you with their teeth out,but sat still for a while had a few little pups come up and sniff my fingers and got some great photos.Left the islands and headed back for the journey back to Port Lincoln and the swell was picking up so the boat really rolling and plates smashing on the way back,but then had a good sleep and meal docked up in the harbour before getting up the next morning ready to get the bus back to Adelaide.
Danny and Kylie who had got chatting with quite a bit from Melbourne offered me to hitch a ride with them,as they were driving home via Adelaide which was great,saving me 70bucks!Got a signed book of the legend and a photo quite sad to leave the boat to be honest as the whole trip was my ambition but got back to Adelaide after 8hours in the car,dropped off got Dannys phone number for when I get to Melbourne and checked back into Cannon st again totally high and buzzing,the best thing ive ever done!!!!!!!!WOO HOOO!!!!
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