A Day In The Life Of A Great White Shark Volunteer

A Day In The Life Of A Great White Shark Volunteer

Posted by Michael Starbuck on Mar 23, 2016

Located in South Africa, the Great White Shark Project gives you a once in a lifetime opportunity to get hands on in aiding the conservation efforts for these incredible animals. The project, based in Kleinbaai, aims to utilise volunteer’s efforts to help protect the sharks, but what will you actually get up to on the project? Let’s take a look at a day in the life of a Great White Shark Volunteer, but please remember that this is only a rough guide as the day’s activities will change depending on the ever changing weather in the country!

Great White Shark

A typical morning on the project will start with all of the volunteers in the house gathering round the table for the provided breakfast. This time will be spent talking about the activities you are going to be taking part in during the day and having that final cup of coffee to ensure that you are well and truly awake when you come face to face with the Great White! After breakfast is out of the way it’s time to head out and gather your wetsuits for the underwater adventure ahead.

Great White Shark Volunteer

An average day out on the water will involve three different but crucial elements. First up is the chance to learn basic seamanship and boat skills. This could happen out at sea, but the chances are that you will be taught all about the best practises for life on the ocean before you head out each day. Due to the unpredictable nature of both the waves and sharks, this is crucial knowledge to have and you will spend your mornings helping with general boat maintenance, packing and cleaning the equipment and bait, and learning how the attachment and retrieval of the cages you will be diving in works. It’s something which is very important to know, so pay attention!

After you’ve ensured the boat is looking ship shape, you’ll head out to sea and hopefully have your first interactions with the great white’s! Volunteers on the project are there to help gather data on the sharks as this is the best way to help in the conservation efforts. To do this you’ll be making notes on the behaviour of the sharks you spot and jotting down their size, gender, and appearance to help the staff at the project get a better grip on understanding these imposing beasts.

South Africa Shark Diving

In between gathering information above the surface, you will have the chance to do something many will never get to or simply aren’t brave enough to do. You will get the chance to cage dive with Great White Sharks! The project uses a specially designed cage which sits no more than 1m below the surface to conduct dives. As a volunteer you will be taught how to get in and out of the cage and how to remain secure and safe when you are underwater. This is the best chance you are ever likely to get to see these incredible animals up close without the risk of any danger, so make sure you take it all in as these are the memories that will stick with you for a lifetime.

South Africa Shark Volunteer

Once everybody has had a chance to dive and the volunteer coordinator feels that enough data has been gathered for the day then it is time to return to shore. Chances are high that this long day will tire you out, so once you return to the volunteer house you will be able to relax, make your dinner and just chill out with the other volunteers playing board games or watching TV. We would recommend getting an early night so you are prepared to do it all over again tomorrow!

If you want to see a more visual representation of the project then why not check out one of our volunteers videos about The Great White Shark Project. Tristan travelled to South Africa last year, so take a look at what he got up to on the project.


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