Freedive with Sevengill Cow Sharks
The dive site Shark Alley is an area of inshore rocky reef in the Castle Rocks restricted area on the False Bay side. This is one of the best sites near Cape Town to see Cow sharks.
The Seven Gill Cowshark, or Spotted Cowshark, is a prehistoric apex predator which we have been fortunate enough to see regularly enough at one location to be able to confidently guide dives there with an 85% chance of success. The Cowshark is a social feeder and can be observed in large groups of up to 18 individuals. We have seen females attain three metres in length while males are slightly smaller. Distinctive features include their seven gill slits and the absence of the front dorsal fin.
Divers descend on to a sandy bottom and wait for the Cowsharks to approach us. They swim slowly up and down the channel, which runs roughly north/south and they pass at arms length from the divers as we kneel on the sandy bottom to observe them. It’s a great opportunity for underwater photographers and by the end of the dive, you will recognise the individuals by distinctive bites, scrapes or colouration.CERTIFICATION LEVEL:
- Minimum: Freediver
- Be comfortable to freedive to depths up to 12m.
- Maximum depth is about 12m, with an average of about 8m in the alley.
- There are extensive kelp forests of sea bamboo, and a relatively large variety of fish may be seen, the most prominent being the Cow sharks, but Spotted gully sharks, Red steenbras and Bank steenbras are also seen here.
- Cow sharks appear to favour this site, and there is a significantly better chance of finding them here than any other known site in this region.
- Multiple sightings are common, and there have been occasions when four or more Cow sharks have been in view simultaneously.
- May - October. The site is usually at it's best in winter with offshore winds, but there are also occasional opportunities in summer when there has been a period without strong south easters.
- Minimum of 1 freediver and a maximum of 6 freedivers.
FREEDIVE TRIP INCLUDES:
- 2 Certified Freedive Guides.
- Transport to and from the V&A Waterfront.
- Bottle of water.
FREEDIVE TRIP EXCLUDES:
- Equipment rental (full set): R420