Our experience with Sharklady Adventures began when our booking with Unreal Dive Expeditions was handed off to Sharklady Adventures.
We booked our trip through the Unreal Dive website which advertised a full day trip in Shark Alley between the mainland and Dyer Island, where there are Cape Fur Seal and seabird colonies. The trip was supposed to include breakfast, and dinner on our return, as well as sandwiches and refreshments on board. We were expecting the opportunity to have a few sessions in the cage with the sharks. (We subsequently found out that Unreal Dive Expeditions do not have a boat, and so book all their customers with other operators. See review for Unreal Dive Expeditions)
We arrived at the joining point advised by Unreal Dive, which turned out to be Sharklady’s “White Shark Embassy”. We still thought we were going out with Unreal Dive. We were asked to pay the Unreal Dive price for the trip prior to going and following a cup of aging coffee and a safety briefing we left for Kleinbaai Harbour and the boat.
The boat was quite small, and was overloaded with 21 guests plus crew. (The Sharklady website suggests party sizes of around 12 to 15.) It turned out we were the second trip of the day, so we were not getting a full day trip. We each (4 at a time) only had one dive in the cage which lasted about 30 minutes; we did see Great White Sharks, in the cage and out on deck, and generally had a good experience. We were, however, nowhere near Shark Alley, or Dyer Island, so no seals and no seabirds. Also no scuba or snorkels provided for the dive, as well as other minor shortfalls.
We only worked it out later that we had been with Sharklady and not Unreal Dive, the name on the boat was the giveaway!
I emailed Kim MacLean (Sharklady) on my return to the UK and explained my disappointment with the trip she had provided in comparison with trip advertised on her website and for the higher than advertised price I had paid. She agreed with me and suggested a 50% refund which I accepted. This offer is still outstanding and has now been withdrawn. All a bit disappointing.
Sharklady accepted bookings from Unreal Dive knowing that she could not provide the service the customer had booked. On our trip, Sharklady did not provide the service advertised at the time on the Sharklady website either.
So if you are keen to go Great White Shark cage diving, which I can thoroughly recommend, even after my somewhat disappointing experience, my recommendation would be to use one of the operators affiliated to the Gansbaai Tourism Bureau (http://www.gansbaaiinfo.com/ ) who do have boats, and do “what it says on the tin”!
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