Sharks are highly evolved and sophisticated creatures. Most divers have seen footage of Great White and Tiger Sharks attracted to an area by the use of chum. This consists of bits of fish offal and blood put into the water to create a scent trail.
The Requiem Shark family consists of species that specialise in hunting fish. They use their lateral line, which runs the length of their bodies, to pick up low frequency vibrations given off by fish in distress. The lateral line consists of hair-like cells, which are stimulated by a certain frequency range.
Swimming with these regal creatures is really an unforgettable experience. If you are a strong diver and marine enthusiast, you should definitely plan a shark dive in your free time, on our your first South African holiday.
Zambezi (Bull) Sharks fall into this category and do not seem to be very interested in chumming. By simulating this signal, these sharks can be encouraged to come closer to divers to increase sightings. In the 1990's it was not necessary to do this, as there were large numbers of these sharks on Protea Banks. However in the last few years long-liners and unethical fishermen have depleted this species.
I have coined the term “Clean Baiting”, a method that differs from baiting with food, as the sharks will never come to associate divers with food. It is therefore more environmentally friendly. Sharks will not become accustomed to an area using this method, where they can regularly get food. Ultimately the chumming method will cause conflict with fishermen, normally to the detriment of the shark.
There is no danger to the divers as the Dive Master operates the device and the sharks pinpoint the origin of the sound very accurately. The Dive Master has to be trained to recognise the body language of the sharks in order to get the best, safe results.
I have pioneered this technique on Protea Banks and if you want to ensure that you see the sharks at their best then this is the most successful method. Other operators on Protea Banks have had a very poor season with shark sightings recently and as African Odyssea is the only operator with the knowledge and experience to use this device, then the choice is obvious if you want close up viewing.
Read about 'The Shark Whisperer'