So here we are back at the Neptune Islands to hopefully cage dive with a great white shark… And it turns out third time was a charm because we got to see three!!!
Now for our first two attempts it unfortunately wasn’t to be. Read about it here 👇
Going home with no shark sightings was very dishearting… And left me with a slight obsession in seeing one.
Of course as irony would have it, the sightings improved in the weeks after out first trip!
So five weeks later here we’re back in the Neptune Islands to cage dive with a great white shark!
This time around, was feeling very optimistic as the last two trips before ours saw three great whites. But knowing all to well what a nomadic creature the great white is, nothing can be guaranteed….
Our great white shark cage dive experience – Take three
Same drill as last time had to be at the Calyspo office by 6am. When everyone is signed in it’s time to head to the boat. There are some familiar crew faces onboard today – Caz, Jack and skipper Andrew.
After the briefing it’s time to select cage groups. With today’s numbers on board there will be five groups. Jack gave us first dibs as we were trying for our third time. He told us over the last week or so the sharks have been showing up within half hour of arriving.
So was super tempting to go in cage group one… But after some deliberation between us we decided we’d go group three:
We figured we already tried first and last group, there were three of us, it was our third attempt and three was in the middle of the five groups.
Now with the business part over it’s time to relax for the cruise back out to the Neptunes.
On the way there see this awesome sunrise aswell as a few southern right whales. Which was a real treat!
This trip out is prob the roughest we have had. Anticipating the big waves coming is a bit daunting but the MV Calypso Star and Andrew have it sussed.
Thankfully once we arrive at the Neptune’s the water is much calmer around the islands.
Adventure Bay and Rodney Fox are both already here and we take the same position we had on the first day.
I assume every company must have an allocated spot if we’re all out there.
The crew do their cage briefing then start berleying the water as group one gets kitted up.
They’re in the water for not even half an hour and Andrew yells “SHARK!!!”
Oh man Jack called it… And damn it we should of gone in group one haha.
But all good this is freaking great there is actually a shark in the water! The crew try and entice the shark closer to the cage so everyone can get a better look.
There is quite a lot of skill involved in this, as you want to entice the shark without letting it get the bait. Especially because if they do there is a 15 minute penalty where no berleying is allowed.
This is part of the rules to help preserve the sharks natural instincts and to not teach them unnatural behaviours.
At first I have trouble seeing the shark which was very frustrating.
Everyone else was all “Wow” and “so cool!!” And I’m thinking damn it am I the only one who can’t see this thing???
But then in all its shadowy glory, I see a dark silhouette under the water line, getting bigger as it gets closer.
And then finally a dorsal fin breaks the surface…
Yay!!!! I finally see my first great white 😁😁😁
After all of group one has seen the shark from inside the cage it’s group two’s turn. That means we now have to get our wetsuits on to keep the groups flowing. Which is always easier said than done.
Also don’t want to miss out on anything going on outside so today the wetsuit jiggle is even harder haha.
Don’t want to be outside in the cold.. But also don’t want to be inside in case you miss something outside!
Now after missing out on seeing a shark the last two times was wondering how I would be after seeing one…
Would I still be as keen to jump in the water with a great white shark?
As it turns out YES!!! I couldn’t wait. Was actually surprised how not scared I was about the idea.
Wonder if that had something to do with the prior cage and regulator experience? I knew the cage was strong and sturdy (despite a few dings and bite marks haha) and have the regulator sussed so all that was missing was the shark… Which now we have.
But think the sheer excitement of knowing there was a shark in the water just overtook any fear. Was pumped and couldn’t wait for group two to get the hell out.
Then it was finally our time – We finally get to cage dive with a great white shark at the Neptune Islands!!
G went in first and I wasn’t far behind. Didn’t want to waste any time with my mask or regulator figured I’d work it out down there. Just wanted to see the shark from underwater!
Rick quickly followed and then we finally had three of the trevally kings in the water with a great white. Woooooooooooo!!
Another thing that was surprising was just how quiet it is. Like I would of thought you’d be able to hear a shark underwater but that wasn’t the case. All you could hear is the familiar sound of everyone’s regulator bubbles and creaks of the cage.
Since I didn’t want to miss a thing I was frantically looking to the left, right, in front, and below. Something my Go Pro footage can shakily agree with haha.
Now you’re told that if you see something to let the others in the cage know… Which can only really be done by tapping the person next to you. But the thing is you’re constantly knocking into each other with the movement of the cage so its hard to know what is accidental knocking or a tap saying “omg there’s a shark this way”
So sometimes you can still miss a shark that is in close proximity. When rewatching our footage I was surprised how many times we all turned away from where the shark actually was!
But can clearly remember the first time I saw one under the water…
At first I just thought it was a big king fish cruising with a squad of trevally…
But something made me do a double take. Remember thinking “whoa that’s a huge king fish!.. Oh wait that king fish has gills!..
OMFG that’s actually a great fucking white!!!”
I could hardly contain my excitement and tried to get G’s attention.
But then a curtain of trevally blocked my view and I lost track of where he went.
Next time I saw him he had swum up to the surface and was falling backwards, white belly up!
Was so cool.
Would seem I just witnessed the last of him trying to get the bait. Which he did.
So then we had a 15 minute berley break.
Just hoped I or someone else managed to get the whole thing on our GoPros!
The next 15 mins underwater were pretty chill, he was just cruising past with his brave trevally mates.
Was surprised how deep he seemed to swim and just hang out in the depths.
Also got to see some of his distinguishable features – a scar on his head and a deformed tail.
We got to see another berley grab under the water before it was our time to come back up so the next group could have their turn.
Back up on deck we asked Caz if she knew which shark we’d seen…
Apparently the deformed tail was a dead giveaway as to which great white we saw…
None other than a local legend named IMAX!!!
IMAX is easily identified from his deformed tail and is a 4.2m male who has been visiting the Neptunes for approximately 14 years.
I know what you’re probably thinking… IMAX like the cinema? And the answer is yes. He was named by the cinema people who were out on a charter one day.
They paid for his naming rights as well as not to have him tagged. Which is a pretty cool back story.
After a few years of not visiting he has made a few appearances this year which the Calyspo crew were super stoked about.
Especially because there was a rumour going around that a fisherman had got him!
So was super great to know this wasn’t the case and that he is still getting around 🦈
IMAX is a Calypso crew favourite and you could tell they were all super excited to see him as he always puts on a show!
Group four and five have their turns and then we have circled back to the start. So anyone from group one who wants another dive goes in. Then group two. Then it was our turn again!
Unfortunately somewhere between group one and two’s second dives IMAX had decided to move on. A third shark made a brief appearance but didn’t stick around. Or at least not that we saw.
One thing that has stuck with me is how deep they swim and how there could be one not far from where you are. But you just wouldn’t know.
For example we went on Adventure Bay’s seal tour the next day and they said they didn’t see one shark.. And we saw three. They really weren’t that far away from us, maybe 1km and still they didn’t see any.
That’s not to say there weren’t any there. I guess it just goes to show it’s the luck of the draw when visiting the Neptunes!
Super stoked we finally got to tick off a great white shark cage dive on the bucket list ✔🦈🪣🗒
Was such a cool experience and even though it’s been ticked off still can’t wait to do it again! I also think next time I will upgrade to the “shark attacking the cage while I’m inside” experience 😂😂
So will def be keeping an eye on the sightings, and hopefully when the time is right, we’ll be able to get all the OG Trevally King misfits together once again 😁🦈🐟🍻!!