Preparing for an exciting day Shark Cage Diving on board the Shark Warrior
It’s dawn in Port Lincoln… and I’m about to go Shark Cage Diving…something I’ve always wanted to do. Now, for some people it can be a little confronting to go eyeball to eyeball with one of these creatures in its own environment, but we’ve found a way to do it… and you don’t even get wet!
Award-winning Adventure Bay Charters has been operating shark cage diving since two thousand and eleven and with a quarter of visitors to Port Lincoln wanting to take the plunge, founder Matt Waller wanted a way to include those not keen on donning a mask.
Matt: So we found that there were a lot of people without that experience who found they couldn’t breathe underwater – they got cold; they got impatient expecting sharks to show up like a zoo.
Briony: So we’re heading out to the Neptune Islands, about 70 kilometres south, to test out Matt’s solution. He’s designed a world first! Our boat, the Shark Warrior, has been fitted with a purpose-built glass viewing tank – the Aqua Sub. But there are spectacular views not to be missed on the journey out.
Our skipper Alex guides us past the Port Lincoln National Park, making sure we catch sight of the other captivating creatures this region boasts.
Alex: They don’t expect such a wildlife experience – they expect to come and see sharks and that’s it… so with the dolphins and the birds it opens their eyes and they have a good day out on the water.
Whether they’re from Adelaide or Alaska like Terry here, everyone on board considers this a bucket-list experience.
Terry: Amazing natural beauty and the people are fantastic and the opportunity to see one of the most apex predators on the planet… had to experience it myself.
Anchored in the promising-sounding “Shark Bay”, off the South Neptune Islands, it’s time to unleash the Aqua Sub!
This is an eco-certified operation – there’s no berleying or baiting: instead, vibrations from rock music are used to grab the sharks’ attention.
And it seems just like humans, sharks have favourite songs as well – on our list this month we’ve got a bit of Metallica, Iggy Pop, even our own Hilltop Hoods – but of course, as always, number one: ACDC.
The diving cage is launched off the very back of the boat, so the view from the Aqua Sub includes all the divers’ antics as well as the marine life.
I’m on my way down into the sub… and yes, it’s already pretty entertaining.
Briony: You know Matt was right – it’s really like being inside some sort of human aquarium.
Matt: So you have 360 degree views – ah, people beside you but you’re looking straight out at your mates in the cage and sharks beyond that, and it’s just a really good experience… new and different.
Industry at best has only been able to offer a one in five chance of being underwater while a shark was present – with this we can offer one in two….anything is possible…nothing is for sure.
Briony: I couldn’t resist getting into the water as well – and that’s the beauty of this trip – you have the option to do both, as many times as you like.
If you’re lucky, though, this will be your view… the inscrutable and legendary Great White.
And back on deck, with our own apex predator appetites, we’re well-catered for by our fantastic crew… who have also been capturing the day on camera for a personalised DVD, so we can concentrate on living the moment.
Matt: It’s not expensive but it’s just a great way of recording the memory while you’re enjoying yourself.
And after 12 captivating hours Shark Cage Diving, we’re back on dry land… with some great tales to tell, and one of South Australia’s truly unique experiences under our belts.