I awoke yesterday to the sort of headline you don't want to see if you're about to do the Robben Island swim. "Altantic Coast Shark Warning." Not good.
I had allowed myself to be persuaded that sharks don't like it on this side of the Cape, but apparently cooling water temperatures on the other side are luring them over. A medium sized Great White has been spotted circling the area. Should I be less scared of a medium sized shark than a extra large one?
But despite the fear, I would like to see one. Preferably from the safety of a large (not medium sized) boat. This weekend, Godfrey and family took me away to a cottage in the seaside town of Kleinbaii, close to Gansbaii, home of the Great White. Rows of fishing boats lined the quayside, all promising to take you on a Great White adventure. I'm quite tempted to do it, but perhaps after the swim.
Meanwhile, this sort of tourism upsets Godfrey who's seen his passion for coaching swimming and life-saving threatened by Great White behaviour in the past few years. He doesn't want the creatures encouraged in any way at all. So much so, that a few years ago after an attack near his home, he proposed a shark bounty hunt. TV crews and journalists from all over the world headed to Cape Town to cover the event.
But the local reaction was less positive. "Authorities must act before this madman does", was the headline in one paper. Environmentalists worldwide condemned him for planning to slaughter an endangered animal so he decided it was better to go underground for a while. But I'm not sure his shark bounty hunt ambitions are dead. It may take just one more attack to launch them again.