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JOHAN POTGIETER: Cameraman and Writer

We went out on Thursday the 27 August to one of our favorite diving spots in Arniston, Cape Town, South Africa.
The divers who were with me were Francios Smuts, Rene' Nel and Erik Fourie.
The main reason that we have decided to go to Arniston on that day was because we wanted to go look for some good eating reef fish. We watched the weather for more than a week to get a small chance at getting out to sea, we were looking for good flat sea conditions to be able to launch the boat at this specific launching site. On the 27th it was an awesome day, absolutely no wind with about a 1,4m swell running, the sea was amazingly flat, which is not common for this part of the world. We decided that we would get going early in the morning and drive strait out to one of our well know reefs at Skipskop we would then work our way back to Saxon reef later in the day. When you have a perfect day like this you have to make sure to be well prepared to maximize the opportunity. We got to Skipskop, Rene' said he would man the boat first, the water looked like it was quit milky, not great viability for diving, but in the early morning there was a bit of cloud cover so it was hard to decide what the viability was actually like. Francios, Erik and myself got in the water just to check if was dive-able. We got of the boat on a pinnacle that comes up to 15m and drops down on its sides to 19m. I dived down on the edge down to 19m and when I leveled out on the bottom I looked first to my right, and then as I looked to my left the Great White was right next to me, that could quit easily been the end of me. I just managed to prod him with my spear, before he turned his nose he was only an arm's length away from my head..he seemed not to like my defensive prod to much, sped off, made a sharp turn, dropped his pectoral fins (very aggressive behavior) made a sharp 180 degree turn and came strait for me. At this point the situation turned from a close encounter to life threatening. The Shark was clearly now in attack mode. I had to show some dominance back to him to avoid being bitten, I thrust my speargun forward with all my might and managed to give him a good prod causing him to veer off again and disappeared into the gloom. At this point I was out of air and made my assent as fast as i could, trying not to display any signs of panic. When I got to the surface I was more worried about Francios and Erik than anything else. I shouted to warn them, stuck my head back in the water and the White was right underneath me. I could not believe this shark had followed me up to the surface, I have seen many Great Whites and never see aggressive behavior like this. All I could think was get to the boat and get the heck out of the water. At this point I had no idea what my dive buddies where going through, I was seriously stressed about their safety. It felt like a lifetime before the boat got to me, I jumped on and at the same time Eric jumped on the other side. Now the panic set in, Francios was no were to be seen, Rene' said he was still on the bottom and we didn't know if he was okay. I kept my mask and fins on just encase he needed any help. Couple of seconds later his head popped out in front of us, we all were hugely revealed but now we had to get to him fast and get him onto the boat ASAP. Francios didn't know about a thing..haha he said he only heard a loud noise close to him which was probably the shark making a sharp turn and swimming away. The water was so murky, even the thought of this sent shivers down my spine. We all had a good laugh and a huge sigh of relieve, went and picked up our marker bouy and moved to a new spot about 13 km away, far far away, from that place. We dived for the rest of the day but quit uncomfortable to say the least. It was a day I'll remember for the rest of my days and one I'll not only tell my children about but also show them.