Fear is powerful. It can paralyse people from achieving great things and keep them from dreaming big. Fear is something that I personally feel all the time and constantly push myself to overcome… some days it might just be meeting someone new for the first time, others it might be speaking in public or the simple fear of rejection. Regardless of what leads me to feel this strong emotion, I know that fear must be overcome in order for me to be the person I dream of being… which is why, when I was asked whether I’d like to go Great White Shark diving in South Africa, I immediately said yes!
Nick & I were lucky enough to photograph Kile & Rebecca’s wedding in South Africa last year – and as they had become friends since booking us, we also travelled around with their group for the 3 weeks we were there… I’m still counting my lucky stars that we were able to have such an amazing experience with such amazing people. Days after the wedding, we booked in to go shark diving in Kile’s hometown of Mossel Bay with White Shark Africa and wow, what an amazing company – they are so very passionate about Great White Shark conservation. They shared with us some truths about Great White Sharks that changed what I thought of them as animals and almost removed the cultural JAWS fear that has been embedded in me since I was young. With a beautiful blue South African sky, we then set out on the ocean in search of some Great White Sharks for more of an up close & personal experience…
Seal Island, which is only 2km off the coast of Mossel Bay is home to a large population of Cape Fur Seals – as the name suggests – and attracts juvenile Great White Sharks that are still learning to hunt & feed. I must admit, seeing this number of seals and knowing that there are predators just under that water waiting to feed on them if the chance arises made my heart a little sad… so is the natural circle of life though I suppose. The cage was prepared as we slipped into our wetsuits and the first sharks came to say hello… I surprised myself how calm I was, not as nervous as some (I’m not saying any names but I’m sure you can guess who I’m talking about!) This is Nick’s quietly shitting himself’ smile…
We of course made the newly married bride go first… at least she had a couple of days as a wife, right?!
Then it was our turn! We ended up seeing 3 Great White Sharks that day, all 3 were juveniles and around 3 metres in length. They were the most graceful, majestic creatures and whilst I wouldn’t want to be in the water with them without the cage, I definitely found a whole new appreciation for these amazing animals of the ocean!
… and after! Look at Nick’s smile now… that’s the grin we know and love. Here’s to overcoming fears & being whoever you want to be!
Have you ever done something you felt was crazy, but you felt the fear and did it anyway? I would LOVE to hear about it in the comments below!