Port Lincoln: Shark Cage Diving
Get There: Calypso Star Charters’ boat leaves from Port Lincoln – check out their website for more info.
Cost: $495 to dive, $395 to spectate.
Ever jumped into a cage in the middle of an ocean teeming with Great White Sharks? If you’re willing to brave the huge drive or terrifying flight from Adelaide to Port Lincoln, you can.
You’ll need to arrive the day before the dive, as the charter heads off at 6.30am. The trip out to Neptune Islands is huge and requires some hard work to ensure you don’t vomit all over yourself. If you’ve had a big night the night before, you don’t stand a chance.
Luckily, the crew are almost as good at mopping up spew as they are at finding sharks. The guys on the boat create an amazing atmosphere by being super helpful, telling some seriously insane stories while making you feel as at ease as possible about jumping into the water with Great Whites.
If you have any appetite left after the boat ride out, the guys at Calypso offer a serious spread throughout the day – perfect for a hobo looking to fill up and save a few bucks (Hint: they also offer a complimentary iPad for all your free-browsing needs). Speaking of perfect for hobos, the boat has a bar offering beer, cider and wine for the very reasonable price of $4.
Clearly these guys have all bases covered, even offering underwater cameras for those of us who can’t afford the investment. They will deck you out in some seriously thick wetsuits, booties and hoods, which are completely necessary in the freezing waters and have the added bonus of making you appear even more seal-like to the circling sharks.
The boat has a permit to berley to attract sharks. The good news is this gives you the best chance possible of seeing a shark; the bad news is there are fears this causes great whites to associate boats with food. The reality is the company is an Advanced Eco Certified Operator, meaning they have been recognised as being sustainable and environmentally friendly.
I was feeling healthy amount of fear when my turn to approach the cage arrived. There were six to the group, which left a lot of room in the cage, thankfully, because to be honest, being in a cage in the middle of the ocean surrounded by Great White sharks is fairly claustrophobic to begin with. What surprised me about the experienced what how rough the sea is within the cage. As it sits at surface level attached to the back of the boat, it tends to bounce around in the rough ocean, sending you sprawling inside. While this is not an issue that will ruin your experience, it is worth being aware of, as some passengers had to surface for a mid-viewing spew and I found it to be super disorienting.
I expected to be bored for the majority of the day, anxiously awaiting my turn to jump in the water; however, most of the action happens above the cage. As the sharks surface for the bait, they fly into the air, giving spectators the full view of their enormous bodies and extreme power. Underwater, the sharks seem more relaxed and graceful, gliding through the water among the hundreds of other fish.
Needless to say, the experience definitely falls in the category of one of those things you simply need to experience, if only to gain better understanding of an animal often demonised by the Australian media. Chuck it on the bucket list.