Storytime | I Can’t Swim but Went Great White Shark Diving

Why in the world did I decide to go Great White Shark diving?? sigh.. read ahead.

It’s my first time in South Africa and I’m loving it! Saw some beautiful animals in Kruger (read more here), drank some wine at Stellenbosch (post coming soon), visited the Cape of Good Hope… it was a Disney dream come true. My travel buddies made comments here and there about going Great White Shark cage diving but I let it go in one ear and out the other; until one day, I find myself in a car on the way to Gansbaai, one of the largest homes to Great Whites. Still, I’m a team player, I’ll go on the boat, enjoy a drink and get my melanin on while these fools decide to test their fate.

http://www.madeinnigeria89.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Great-White-Shark-Diving-200×300.png

35 minutes later, everyone is getting fitted for their wet suit and I am chilling in my white one piece mesh bathing suit looking like a Nigerian goddess. Not surprisingly, the guide tries to get me to participate by giving me standard reasons: I’m already here, I already paid for it, don’t be a baby and so forth; too bad he doesn’t realize I’m the youngest of 5 with a Nigerian Catholic mother — I am immune to guilt trips or petty insults.

Giving zero f*cks

Another guide comes over and tells me, “Just do it”, I reiterate, “No, thank you. I’m fine where I am besides I can’t even swim”! This man literally laughs in my face and says “You think learning how to swim would save you from a shark?!” and walks away.  I don’t know what mental juju had just happened but a light bulb turned on and I thought “Damn, he’s right! Swimming isn’t going to help if Jaws decided to attack so why the hell not”.  So brave right?!

I put on the wet suit, everything’s fine; I put on the googles, everything’s fine; I put on a 12 LB LEAD WEIGHT on my body, everything is NOT fine. Cue the barrage of thoughts: “You are not adventurous, you can’t even go paddle boarding on a lake!” “You don’t even have a driver’s license! YOU CAN’T SWIM!” “How can I get out of this… how can I GET OUT?!”  To make matters worse, due to me being a drama queen, I had made a dramatic scene about “conquering my fears” and everyone on the boat was cheering me on.

Quite a sight..

I climb into the 10-12 foot long cage and confess my sins to the Almighty as it is submerged into the freezing blue water. My fellow divers were my two friends (a term that’s being used loosely at this point tbh) and two other crazies; above us the guide was chumming the water in order to attract sharks to the cage (feel free to re-read that last sentence again slowly to capture the true essence of my bad decision).

“SHARK!! GO DOWN GO DOWN” the guide yells and down I go! I plunge myself into the FREEZING water and I swear my heart stopped. I felt terror, anxiety and uncertainty all at the same time; almost instantaneously two looming sharks whizz past us lunging at the bait! Instinctively, I screamed (still underwater by the way) allowing a wave of gross salty, chumm-y sea water into my mouth; flailing everywhere I pull myself up for air and start laughing uncontrollably. Apparently, in terrifying, knee-weakening situations… laughing like a maniac is my coping mechanism.

I caught my breath and after a chiding from the guide for flailing everywhere (my legs looked like fish for the shark), I was ready for round two! This time my fear was replaced with exhilaration and excitement as I eagerly submerged for another look of the majestic, graceful creatures. I saw a total of 4 sharks and though they did get pretty damn close to the cage, they were more interested in the fake bait and not the potential real life human bait.  Honestly, the feeling was something I don’t think I can even describe; the mix of fear, excitement and unknown of what’s about to
happen was amazing!

All in all, it was such an incredible experience, or it could be the cold water seizing my heart, but I had never felt that able before in my life! In fact, I quit my job about 3 months after and moved to a brand new city! I mean, if I can go Great White Shark diving without knowing how to swim….Who gon check me boo?

*Shark cage diving prices tend to vary by company but half a day with transportation tend to be about 70 dollars and an all day excursion can be about 100-125; based on the season, prices may change as well.

Check out the video below 🙂

38 COMMENTS

  1. Victoria | 22nd May 17

    Love reading your posts!! Cool story too. I laughed so hard but I am happy you tried it! You already paid for it so why not?
    Bet it was an experience of a lifetime!!!!

    • Taiwo O | 24th May 17

      You and I need to find an adventure to do together!! let’s go bungee jumping!

  2. Lei | 24th May 17

    OMG girl!!! That was exciting!!! I’d totally be a baby too but I’d do it and conquer my fear!

    • Taiwo O | 24th May 17

      Yes!! Like soo scary, but so necessary at the same time.

  3. How Not To Travel Like A Basic Bitch | 24th May 17

    Lmfaoooo thisnis my favorite blog post of yours. I felt like I was there! Had me laughing the whole time!

    • Taiwo O | 24th May 17

      I don’t even want to inflate your ego any bigger than it currently is, but this warmed my heart.

  4. Evan | 24th May 17

    You go girl!!

  5. Gloria E | 24th May 17

    Hey! I looove this but completely understood your fears! Same as mine 🙂 I will be in Cape Town in September and maybe I’ll try to get my adrenaline pumping with this activity!

    • Taiwo O | 24th May 17

      yess… do it!! Enjoy Capetow! Are you going for vacation or work?

  6. Sharon | 25th May 17

    All I can say is congratulations! That is absolutely amazing. I was peeing my pants just reading about it!

  7. Sharon | 25th May 17

    All I can say is congratulations! That is absolutely amazing. I was peeing my pants just reading about it!!!

  8. Iam_ellev | 25th May 17

    What an amazing experience; I can’t swim either lol

  9. Katerina | 25th May 17

    This post I sooo goooooooood you’re making me want to be your travel partner ?

  10. Adarsh M | 25th May 17

    Wow! That’s something awesome… I don’t know how to swim….

  11. Jackie | 25th May 17

    Such a lol experience and probably it does make a good story. I went snorkeling recently and never thought I would do that so this I’m not sure but if the opportunity came up I might attempt it.

  12. Chemady | 25th May 17

    Trust you feel great to have that experience. Putting myself in your shoes, I will be so scared to make that attempt. What an exciting experience you had.

  13. Amber Myers | 25th May 17

    Wow, crazy! I can’t really swim either and I’d probably be too afraid to do this. My daughter would so do it though. She loves sharks.

  14. Tasheena @SimplyTasheena.com | 25th May 17

    OMG, This looks like such a cool experience. I would love to give this a try one day.

  15. Ana Ojha | 25th May 17

    Bravo gal! Hats off to your spirit! You did great! Must be an exhilarating experience of a lifetime!

  16. Anosa | 25th May 17

    Girl you had me nail biting and laughing at the same time. Well done you for braving it and doing it such a life experience
    Thank you Nigerian catholic mother lol ?

  17. Robert | 26th May 17

    Swimming with the sharks looks like fun. Hope I get the chance myself one of these days. Looks like you had fun out there as well.

  18. Katherine | 26th May 17

    Brava! Now that’s an experience. And that line about swimming saving you from a shark! Glad your guides had such a sense of humor.

  19. Amber | 26th May 17

    You couldn’t pay me enough to do this, but it looks like you had an incredible experience! You’re too brave lol!

  20. Andrea @ The Petite Cook | 26th May 17

    How exciting! I can’t swim either, so when I went diving the first time, I was absolutely terrified, but it did go all well. It looks like you also had a great time!

  21. Tina | 26th May 17

    thats so cool, I would love to go on a shark watch.

  22. David Elliott | 26th May 17

    That would be freaky. We have been having a lot of the great white shark sightings here off the cost. It’s very scary to be honest. But it would be cool to watch.

  23. Julianaciccarelli | 30th May 17

    You are amazing!!! Such an inspiring story of not letting anything hold you back from taking chances. I’m sure even after the first dip you were a goddess. Xx

  24. Pilar | 1st Jun 17

    This is soon cool! loved all the pictures and specially the video!! I want to go swimming with sharks!! 😀
    xoxo, Pilar
    http://thelifestylehunter.com

  25. Chelf | 1st Jun 17

    Wow, what an inspiring story! You are so brave! I live in greece and yes, I cannot swim either! Let’s keep this between us, ok? Ok! 🙂

  26. Alicia | 1st Jun 17

    Omg, that is amazing! You are one brave girl but I’m sure the experience was totally worth it!

  27. shannon | 1st Jun 17

    I can swim but I don’t think I could do this. I panicked watching the video lol. KUDOS you are brave and congrats for stepping outside your comfort zone.

  28. Saidah Washington | 1st Jun 17

    I’m happy for you. I’ve done some scary things in my life too. Some I loved. Some I’ve regretted. I’ll be in Kenya in two weeks. Hopefully I’ll get to do something adventurous.

  29. Ola | 2nd Jun 17

    As a result of watching too many Jaws movies I know I have been scared for life. Lol! BUT, I think I could do this Inside the cage of course. Great just b pushing your self out of your comfort zone.

  30. Ramelle | 2nd Jun 17

    Looks very exciting, hope it was fun, happy travels, very brave

  31. Deepa | 2nd Jun 17

    Wow..you are brave. And I am sure it must have been an adventure. I have to try something like this.

  32. Dealman | 11th Jun 17

    @ Taiwo

    Amazingly thorough and well-written review! This sounds like an amazing work of art! thanks for sharing video link.

    Dealman

  33. Agness of eTramping | 15th Jun 17

    Wow! Diving seems like so much fun! This is pretty challenging, Taiwo!

  34. Rose | 11th Aug 17

    Now, maybe I could do this. I guess my rational is with all those people maybe I can slip away. We can’t always be the slowest in the pack! There has got to be someone else slower.

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