I visited Cape Town awhile ago and while there were many opportunities to go diving there I figured that it would be a new experience to dive in a completely controlled environment, to photograph amazing animals and get a sneak peak at the spaces and perspectives few can see. I dived the Two Oceans Aquarium.
I had only ever been to the aquarium once, in 1999 when I was 7 years of age, and I can still remember my eyes going wide with joy at the sight of such large and beautiful creatures. I had that same feeling that day, from getting taken to the rooftop, the entrance to the exhibits, being briefed by the resident Divemaster and getting a glimpse behind the scenes of an amazing aquarium. However the cast of characters had changed. The Ragged-toothed Sharks, sometimes referred to as Sand-tiger Sharks, had been released back into the wild, leaving the only shark left in the Pelagic exhibit to not resemble a shark at all, but rather, a guitar.
Amongst the rays and the Giant Guitarfish, the inhabitants of the exhibit also included groupers, jacks, turtles, and one or two very curious Batfish.
After about 30 minutes we surfaced and made our way over to the Kelp Forest exhibit which was not only in a considerably smaller tank but the temperature was about 16°C, very chilly compared to what I’m used to, but not to worry, with a Hooded vest slipped over my 5mm wetsuit and a pair of gloves, I was very comfortable in the water, that is, until feeding time for the resident giant White Steenbras.
The opportunity to dive the aquarium was truly spectacular. I was able to dive in two different environments with the space of afew hours, photograph some amazing creatures, make afew new friends and interact closely with an endangered species. What more could a guy ask for?