I woke up at 4:30am and the boat was silent, i got up and had a wander around however it seemed nobody else was awake. I went outside thinking maybe we had done the dash from Thistle Island to the Neptunes but... I didnt know what either place looked like so I had no clue where I was. I looked over the edge for Sharks and saw none - therefore I ruled that we were still at Thistle Island. It was dark and cold so I went back to my room and layed in bed thinking about what this day was going to bring.
We arrived at Neptune Islands late morning with me a little green in the face. Calypso - another Great White Shark boat - were already there and we could see the fins and tails of at least 2 - 3 whites swimming around them. While everyone watched in owe, I ran off and got my wet and cold wetsuit on, just to make sure I was ready when the time came!
Jeff (our onboard Shark Wrangler) got the 2 surface cages in the water (1 a 4-man cage and 1 a single-man cage) and before I knew it I was strapping on a harness with a billion weights and sliding into the cage. I took position in the left hand corner of the cage where the door was, and slid it open enough so that there was nothing obscuring my view. The first 5 minutes felt like an hour and I continued to look around frantically because ide be damned if I would miss the first sighting and just like that, a 4m male literally just cruised past. Everything seemed to go silent, I didnt feel the cold, I didnt notice the thrashing of the cage, I was in absolute and genuine awe.
It is impossible to reiterate what I felt at that moment and it is even more impossible to justify the sheer size of these animals both in length and girth. Over the 2 days we swapped between cages, the 4-man, the single-man and of course the bottom cage. I could go on forever about what I experienced but I cant give away too much of Episode 2, so Ill just let some of the photos taken on board do the talking...
The experience in the bottom-cage was incredible! Being in the sharks element, in an environment that they will forever understand better than us is intimidating but exciting. The Sharks were curious about what we were/our bubbles and continues to slowly cut laps around the cage. The environment went from barron sand flats to sea grass beds and it supported many types of fish as well as the biggest stingrays I have ever seen. We got a bottom time of around 30 minutes at between 16 - 20 metres depth and although you were freezing by the time the Cage Captain ordered your ascent it just didnt seem like enough time.
Well... thats not to say it wasnt a bit of fun either...
Over the 2 days we spent at Port Lincoln we saw 14 individual Great White Sharks and spent hours underwater trying to experience their world. I already knew that I was on the right track in my life in relation to what I study, what I stand for and what I want to express with Sarah Shark but this trip somewhat enforced, focused and ignited that drive and passion.
The next morning we woke up early and began unloading gear off the boat. While mother nature had given us angry seas, she sure came through with the goods that morning with the Sunrise of all sunrises.
A big, big thank-you to John Natoli for organising the Rodney Fox Expedition and of course the crew on board, Pado's cooking was incredible and Jeff's shark wrangling was amazing.
Thanks for reading guys, I hope our trip has inspired some of you divers to head to South Australia and spend some time with the marine life down there! I cannot wait for Episode 2 to premiere.. this one is going to be amazing!
Thanks to all the photographers who shared photos with me to use on my blogs!
Jim Dodd - www.uwphotography.com.au John Natoli - www.natoliunderwater.com Cherie Adams-Dodd - www.oceanguardians.com.au Christine Hamilton - www.yambabeach.net.au John Lawson