gmhTODAY 06 gmhToday Jan Feb 2016 - Page 94

Suddenly, our boat sped toward another boat that had a shark at hand. We pulled up close to see a 9-foot shark cruising the waters around the boats. Divers were instructed to make a hasty entrance to the cage before it was closed and lowered into the water. I decided to take a turn in the shark cage, but no sharks approached. Back on deck, I saw a Great White about 200 yards away as it leaped into the air, twisted, and hit the water with a huge splash. The shark quickly re-emerged with a seal in its mouth, shaking it and returning once again to the water. The good news was that there were many seals, playfully “porpoising” in the waves and looking at us during the calm 94 between shark sightings. The last group of divers got quite a show, as the shark ripped the fish bait and rope from the boat. The shark thrashed against the cage, giving it quite a jolt. The South Africans shouted as they lured the sharks with bait, patrons called out their sightings, and our staff helped divers move quickly in and out of their wetsuits and the shark cage. It was quite a lot of commotion and excitement! We visited the famous African Penguin Colony in Table Mountain National Park and saw hundreds of adorable penguins gracing the beach. After that, we went whale watching along the coast at Hermanus. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 There we saw Southern Right Whales breaching, rolling and fin slapping. On a smaller scale, we also saw Rock Hyrax rodents scurrying across the coastal cliffs, leaping into nearby bushes for red berries, seeming to pose for our photographs.  Later that day we saw baboons along the road, scampering up and down a cliff. The South Africans consider them pests and use tracking collars to track the dominate male of each group. Road signs warn: ‘Use this road at your own risk - baboons!’ In the semi-desert habitat of West Coast National Park, wildflowers blanketed the plain in a palette of colors that took my breath away. The park is home to 5,000 plant species gmhtoday.com