Bite Me: South Africa, Day 2, Part 1
I awoke to the sound of the phone in my cabin.
“Are you coming?” Sean said.
“Coming to what?” I said, very confused as to why it was dark and he was calling my room.
“What time is it?”
“Shit. I’ll be right there.”
My alarm was supposed to have gone off 20 minutes before, and we were supposed to meet our drivers in 15 minutes’ time. I flew around my room (quietly of course, Dian was still sleeping) and gathered everything I needed to dive with the great whites. I ran out of the room without brushing my teeth and joined my friends at the piano bar (a common space on the ship, luckily it’s open 24/7 so I bought a Red Bull and a protein bar for breakfast). I was happy to learn that I was not the last person to arrive, so when everyone was together we met our van outside the gates of the port. We piled in and met the rest of our group, which seemed to be every student from China that was on our voyage. Most of us immediately passed out.
When we arrived in Gaansbai, where we were to dive, everyone dragged themselves out of the van and went inside to sign our lives away to the diving company. They fed us breakfast and we set out on the boat to find the sharkies. The ride was bumpy but short and fun, and soon enough we were at the shark area. They told us that it could take up to an hour to spot the first shark, but Perri saw one within fifteen minutes. We all started suiting up right then and there. It was incredibly difficult to get my wetsuit on; I got stuck in the first one and had to ask for a larger size, and then a guy from the crew had to help me into the second one. I don’t know how I could ever be a scuba diver, it’s like wetsuits reject me.
When asked who wanted to get into the cage first, my hand was in the air so fast I almost gave my friend standing next to me an uppercut. I awkwardly climbed in the cage along with six of my fellow divers. We had a belt of weights around our waists and no breathing apparatus; the crew called out when and where to look for the sharks and we then held our breath as we dove under. This made it easier because we knew exactly where to look, since the time of year rendered the visibility at about 6 feet in front of us.