|After months of anticipation I finally arrived in Gansbaai and apparently kept up the tradition of the British assistants by bringing with me a storm that lashed the coast for 3 days. My first day out on Lamnidae was one of highs and lows, I did see my first White Sharks but unfortunately spent most of the time on my backside staring at the horizon trying to prevent my breakfast from becoming an unwanted addition to the chum slick! Fortunately after buying some sea sickness tablets both my stomach and the ocean calmed down and I could relax and enjoy my days on Lamnidae more.
The days spent at sea were great. We rarely had to wait long for our first shark and most days the number of sharks observed reached double figures. The amount of sharks and the length of time they hung around the boat varied as much as the personalities and behaviour of the individual sharks themselves which meant that no day was ever the same. Seeing a shark appear from the depths and head towards the bait whilst holding the other end of the baitline was a real buzz and something which never lost it's sense of excitement. Spending so much time with these amazing animals was a real privilege and allowed me to get closer to them than I had ever imagined.
As well as the sharks I was lucky enough to see Whales, Dolphins, Penguins and of course the Cape Fur Seals. On one occasion we were packing up for the day when a huge pod of Common Dolphins swam past. We pulled up anchor and followed them for around 45 minutes as the sun set, a real once in a lifetime moment. Seeing my first Southern Right Whale in Walker Bay from 'Coffee on the Rocks' whilst drinking the best milkshakes in the world is also something I'll never forget!
It wasn't just the amazing wildlife around Gansbaai that made my time with the Trust so memorable. Michael and Tracey were brilliant hosts, their sense of humour, easy going nature and great cooking made it very easy for me to feel at home. My fellow assistants were also a great laugh and along with Michael and Tracey ensured that there was never a dull moment, I couldn't have asked to share my time in Gansbaai with a better group of people.
I can't recommend the assistantship with the WST enough, the time I spent there was an amazing experience with so many unforgettable moments. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to work with White Sharks and spend time living in South Africa and I can't thank Michael and Tracey enough.