This holiday I had the privilege of getting a glimpse into the life of a “shark girl” at White Shark Diving Company in Gansbaai. I heard about their volunteer program and was immediately interested. I had the amazing opportunity to do some job shadowing and experience many things for the first time.

WSDC took me out on their shark diving boat where I went for my first ever cage dive. I’ve always known that sharks are large animals, from what I have seen on TV. However, nothing could have prepared me for the real McCoy. Seeing these huge majestic animals swimming right past me, honestly took my breath away (the cold water might have also played a role in that). The crew members showed me how to gather all the necessary data while on the boat, which I found fascinating.

We also went shore fishing to catch, tag and release smaller sharks. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful, but the experience was great. I learned how to organize all the information we gathered on the boat, as well as other administrative functions.  Overall this was an experience I will never forget.

Considering that I would like to study Marine Biology after school, this volunteer program just confirmed my passion for the ocean.

Thanks to Imke, Mary and the crew for taking such good care of me and thank you WSDC for this amazing opportunity.

By Kara Janse van Rensburg

Age: 17

Nationality: South Africa