Laura Letts – Blog Take Over Day
So today we will mostly be searching for Great White Sharks. Bec and Russ have arranged for us all to go diving with these amazing creatures. Matt & Russ are definitely excited! Bec is not too sure and Rachel is calm. I’m not sure on this as I know the water will be cold, the shark bit will be cool.
We join 15 others and the crew on a small boat and so are on our way out towards Stewart Island and a small island called Ruapuke Island.
The Captain confirms the weather is better today, much less choppy. If this isn’t choppy, I wouldn’t want to be here when it is!
It’s about an hours sail out to where we will dive and there’s a few on board who need a crash course in diving, like using a scuba regulator and mask clearance, including Bec and Rach, and whilst this is happening the rest of us just chill out on the boat.
We moor up and there is a bustle of activity as various groups get kitted up, but Matt and I are told to wait for a while. Russ doesn’t wait, and is first in a wet suit and eager to go and I can tell Matt is keen to be too. I’m happy to go last, staying warmer for longer.
In no time at all, a cry of “shark” rings out from the back of the boat and suddenly the boat is a frenzy of activity. Before I know it, I’m pulling on a 7mm wetsuit with a 5mm hooded vest and ready to dive.
The water is about 10 degrees and my god is it cold, and settling into the cage, out of the gloom, there it is, a 4.5m female Great White swimming right past the cage.
After 15mins, I climb out of the cage and immediately start shaking, thank goodness about now the sun decides to show up.
Everyone continued to take it in turns to get into the cage, 5 people at a time for a 20min stint underwater. By the time everyone had been in once the 4.5m female was losing interest, but we were joined by a 3.5m male, who put on quite a show whilst Matt was down and he got some footage on the GoPro, and he was totally psyched when he eventually got out of the water.
After Matt got out the next group to go down didn’t see anything and by the time it was my time to go in, no-one had seen a shark in ages, so I passed and got out of my wetsuit to try and warm up. No point in getting that cold again if there’s no shark to see! Matt and Russ and a couple of others however hung on in there, pacing the boat and searching the water for a glimpse of that tell-tale fin, but there was nothing and the Captain called ‘time’, and we headed back to shore tired, cold but extremely happy. It was an incredible experience.
We got off the boat about 4pm and said farewell to Bec, Russ and Rach – they were heading back to Queenstown. We hit the road for Te Anau, a good 2 hour drive away and by the time we got there we were both shattered. After a long, hot shower we ate dinner in the van and got an early night so we were ready to explore Te Anau the next day.