Gansbaai, the "Goose Bay", was founded in 1881 by fishermen and named after the numerous wild geese that lived here. Until a few years ago Gansbaai, half an hour's drive east of Hermanus, was still a little fishing village with a little harbour, a fish factory and some shops and pubs. But for the last three years it's been much more lively here in Gansbaai. The place is entirely dominated by tourism and the number of inhabitants has multiplied.
The reason for this boom is Dyer Island, situated 12 kilometres off Gansbaai. The island itself falls under the administration of the Nature Conservation and is an important bird conservation area (Jackass Penguins and Oystercatchers). A huge colony of about 30.000 seals lives on the island, the favourite prey of sharks. That is why the waters around the island are teeming with sharks and there is hardly any place in the world where these predators can be watched more closely than here. Particularly strong in numbers is the giant Great White Shark (carcharodon carcharias), that can grow up to 8 metres long (3,5 metres in average).
Every day a couple of boats goes to Dyer Island loaded with adventurous travellers, diving equipment and cameras. After a 20 minute trip the boat drops anchor near the island. The sharks get allured, not fed, with bait - a soup consisting of minced fish and saltwater. After only a few minutes the sharks start circling round the boat, getting up to a few metres close. Some sharks even jump out of the water.
Each boat brings a steel cage along. It is lowered into the water amd drifts on the surface, tied to the boat with ropes. Those daring enough can watch and photograph the sharks from an underwater perspective in the safety of the cage - a lifetime experience. More information to be found on the blue INFO page.
Left: Touching a White Shark. Below: Shark diving cage. Right: Shark Cage Diving boat in Kleinbaai harbour. Below: Great White encounter.