The view of the 12 Apostles from the top of Lion's Head mountain.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Fun Fact: South Africa has one of the largest populations of great white sharks in the world.
So obviously, I HAD to go see them!! We took a half hour boat ride off the shore of Hermanus (120km from Cape Town) to an area where Great Whites are known to breach in April and May. Once we got there we suited up in our full wetsuits; booties, hood and all. Six of us jumped in the cage for the first go, all lined up along the side of the boat. The water was cold, but not unbearable, and frankly, I had more important worries on my mind. One of them being the giant holes in the cage which were certainly large enough for an arm or leg to drift out of!!! One of the crew men began dumping buckets of chum off the side of the boat (not a nice smell/taste to be swimming around in) while another guy, Lloyd, tossed a large buoy overbaord fully equipped with dead fish as the bait. Five minutes later a fin surfaced and was headed straight towards the cage. Lloyd shouted "Down!" and the six of us took a deep breath, submerged underwater, and watched a 9 footer swim right by us and then disapear into the dark cloudy waters. The first few dips were scary, but I began to feel quite comfortable and fearless after 3 hours and no casualties. We saw four different sharks, all of varying sizes, but none of them were any more than 4 meters (about 12 feet). And the best part was that I didn't get sea sick!!!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
So Mom and Dad came to visit...yippee! Their travels began with a safari at Notten's Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sands (right outside of Kruger National Park) where we sattled up in a Land Rover for early morning and evening game drives through the bush. We had superb sightings on every drive, and found every animal that we were promised (except hippos). To be honest, I was terrified the first day when we pulled up no more than 15 feet away from a rhino. But it only got more thrilling from there. We watched herds of elephants trample through the bush, ripping trees out of the ground while bellowing out their trunks. We sat 7 feet away from a pride of lions as they feasted on a fresh impala for dinner, and watched a hyena take its last few breaths after being killed by a lioness who was claiming dominence. To top it off, on our last night drive we witnessed a leapord attack an impala while he was distracted dueling heads with a fellow male impala. The leapord held him down with by biting into his neck for nearly 2 minutes, when out of the trees came a hyena, scaring the leapord, causing him to let lose and free the impala. What a sight!!! The impala's life was saved as the leapord walked home hungry. This was no Disney World. It was incredible!