Great White Shark Expedition: The Return

With only four of the original group we again set sail for the Neptune Islands.

It was the middle of winter, the seas could be at their worst, the water would definitely be at it coldest, but this we were assured was the best time to see the elusive Great White Shark. We were joined by another two divers Mike from the U.S of A. and Veronica (another ring-in) who were making their maiden trip.We arrived at the island around 11am and within 15minutes of putting our first bait in the water a HUGE shape appeared from out of the gloom. He circled twice then dived, then returned at speed and smashed the bait, returning to the depth with our bait.
The Princess II is just over six meters in beam and this guy was pretty close to being as long as that. Andrew mentioned that the sharks name was “Johnny” and was about 5 1/2 meters long.Unfortunately that was it for the action for the day but for the six of us it was truly unforgettable.

The next day we were ready for the sharks and just after 9am the first of four sharks arrived, this one was called “Callum” and hung around for only a short time. “Cheeky Girl” then appeared, she was a good five meter shark, but what was different with her is the size of her girth, she was easily as tall as me. I’m sure I could have swum inside her turned around and swam out, she was huge.

The bottom cage was deployed and we sat at twenty meters waiting for her to appear then suddenly out of the gloom there she was right on top of us, just circling and smiling. With a flick of her tail she was off towards the surface where apparently she half left the water as se grabbed an innocent Pacific Gull.

After lunch we were able to get into the surface cage and see these beauties up close, very close. Johnny came back and so did another unknown shark. These two tormented us for the rest of the afternoon coming back for five minutes then disappearing for half an hour at a time, very frustrating.

A big lamb roast for dinner and after a couple of red wines most of us settled in for the night.

Sunday was going to be the best day, with a couple of smaller sharks in the morning, everyone was able to get into the surface cage and get come good photos. Things went quiet over lunch then at about two o’clock the action got hot. We had sharks constantly for the next three hours. There was Johnny, Cheeky Girl and Callum. They took it in turn to come right up to the cage biting the baits and sometimes giving the cage a bit of a rattle. If was an awesome sight to watch as their eyes rolled back and their jaws extended as they tried to take the bait. The deckies did a great job in not letting them take the baits as this would have satisfied them and they would have returned to the depths. Nothing can prepare you for seeing a shark that is over five meters long coming straight at you, eyes glassy and all those teeth fully exposed.

Unfortunately all great things must come to an end and after nearly three hours in 14 degree water it was time to get out.

We were now looking at a six hour trip back straight into a forty knot southerly with four to five meter seas, so everything that could be tied down was. Most of us choose to retire to our cabins for the journey, where we would at least have soft landings every time we smashed through a wave.

Arriving back in Port Lincoln we had a great dinner and plenty of beers. Reminiscing over what had seen over the last three days.

I would like to thank Andrew Fox and his crew for giving us a trip we will never forget.

Our tripsters this year were Anne Riches, Mark Patterson, Janelle Warner and myself.

And yes I will go back again.

John Warner