In winter, ragged-tooth sharks congregate at Aliwal Shoal on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast to mate (check out the 10 best dive spots on the African coastline). I went to dive in late August to check it out. I have only dived there once before (about eight years ago) and though conditions weren’t ideal, we still managed to do some decent diving. The best place to see the ragged-tooth sharks is either at Cathedral (a 27-metre deep dive where up to 50 raggies can be seen) or else Raggie Cave, at about 15 metres.
Excerpt from interview with shark expert Andy Cobb: “The big ragged-tooth shark notices you and scans you electrically. You watch its body language. It swims forward and you’re in its inner space. One of its options is to touch and taste. Another is acceptance.”
Apart from the raggies and two great wreck dives (the Produce and the Nemo) we saw a butterfly ray, courting boxfish, the rare weedy scorpionfish (rhinopias), schools of striped grunter and sea goldies as well as the rare tiger angelfish and the mysterious harlequin goldie, which is only seen on wrecks.
We saw dolphins on the way out to the shoal and we had humpbacks surfacing right next to the boat on one launch. On every dive we could hear the humpbacks singing. In summer one is more likely to see mantas, whalesharks, hammerheads, tigersharks and aggregations of guitarsharks.
We also did a trip down to Protea Banks, an hours drive to the south, which is famous for its shark diving. Winter is not the best time for sharks but we still managed to see raggies,two Zambezis and a blacktip while enjoying the caves and colourful reeflife down at 32-36 metres.
I’ll be back. Thanks to Agulhas House in Umkomaas, what a great place to stay and what superb breakfasts we had after the morning dives. Thanks also to Vegard their great DM and their skippers who took us to the best possible places. Visit their website at agulhashouse.com
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