White wash, marvelous mountains, exquisite flora and fauna. Six individuals, twenty-two days, countless unforgettable experiences.
Five months ago, the six of us were connected through an email thread…succinct and slightly ambiguous, none of us truly knew what we had signed up for. Nevertheless, we prevailed and made our journey across the world. Yet, in hindsight, no words could have prepared us for our experience here. Similar to The Island School, our time with Shark Explorers is best understood by those who have the privilege of experiencing it (but we’ll try to do our best).
In a mere three weeks’ time, we’ve developed a family in South Africa, received seven diving certifications (with two of us coming back to the US as Rescue Divers!), gone from the deep to the bush and back again…needless to say, we’ve been pretty busy.
Each day begins with a new challenge which we ultimately triumph together. Some days we’ve summited mountains, reaching the peak of both Lion’s Head and Table Mountain... although the latter was done by cable car (rather than by foot), but both were equally stunning at the top. Other days, we’ve traveled 2 hours offshore into the deep to meet Mrs. Blue Shark (who was a lovely host, might we add). And 2-hour drive to the East revealed a white shark utopia, as we were introduced to the Gansbaai “Shark Alley”. There we went cage diving, courtesy of Marine Dynamics, and saw FOUR different lady sharks, one of which was 4.5 meters in length!!
Closer to home we’ve had the pleasure of meeting a slew of prehistoric seven-gill cow sharks, pajama sharks, shy sharks, seals, octopuses, whales galore, penguins, abalone, albatross...we could keep going, but think you probably get the idea...if you want to see vibrant walks of life, COME TO CAPE TOWN!! When we’re not underwater, we don’t stray far, instead we spend mornings on the surface, surfing the waves of Muizenberg (although a few of us were better at making fools of ourselves in the white wash than the actual staying-atop-the-board aspect of surfing). Lastly, let us not forget the food—Mom, Dad, apologies if we’re coming back a little chunky, but we couldn’t help it, the food’s just too good! Whether it be the local night market, filled with food stalls galore, or the Shark Explorers braai, whose barbecue gives the South a run for their money, we won’t be coming back to the US hungry.
Although there are plenty more experiences for us to share, we hope that we’ve enticed you to come see it for yourself. Three weeks of a lifetime and an internship that’s better than most out there—you will not regret it because we surely don’t. Thank you to our Shark Explorers hosts and family, we cannot thank enough for your generous hospitality, acceptance and love; we will be back soon in due time! To all Island School alums…come here, just do it, you’ll thank us later, we promise.
But for now, if you’d like to know more about our time here, please reach out.
All the best from your fellow Island School family,
Sachi Elias (FA ’14)
Jamie Frost (FA ’14)
Olivia Gomez (FA ’15)
Paityn Wedder (FA ’15)
Liam Carroll (FA ’17)
Jake Barrett (ST ’18)
For information on how to get involved with Shark Explorers, contact Brocq Maxey at Brocq@sharkexplorers.com.