White Shark Expeditions with Chris & Monique Fallows
SHARK EXPEDITIONS with CHRIS & MONIQUE FALLOWS
While great white sharks are commonly portrayed
as invincible killing machines, the reality is quite the opposite. They
are highly vulnerable masters of evolution and whilst their hunting prowess
is remarkable, they are highly selective in what they attack and consume;
indeed to see one hunting is a rare event.
Great whites are no more abundant anywhere
on earth than in South Africa, yet even here they are not common. To
be able to witness these great animals flying out of the water to hunt
was, until recently, thought to be the product of a rich imagination;
however, Seal Island in False Bay is one such place that has no match
in this respect.
It is our privilege to be able to interact
with these sharks and our duty to conserve them. We hope that when
you see the great white for yourself, you to will be left with a burning
desire to protect these amazing marine predators and their kin.
Chris and Monique Fallows have
been working with sharks on a daily basis since 1989 and have specialized
in leading and hosting shark expeditions since 1996, when they started
the first successful Great White Shark eco-tourism operation at
Seal Island in False Bay, South Africa. Great white shark eco-tourism
is strictly controlled and only very limited numbers of permits are
issued; the Fallows' were the first to obtain a permit in 1998.
The great whites of Seal island are now
world famous for the highly athletic breaches that they make in pursuit
of Cape Fur seals. These sharks and their very unique behavior have
been the subject of over 30 international documentaries which the Fallows'
have facilitated. Chris and Monique have also collaborated on numerous
shark research projects with various other individuals.
Notwithstanding the white sharks that
patrol the Island, there are more than 60,000 seals, as well as a host
of bird species on Seal Island that make this a truly fascinating area
to visit and a naturalist’s
The main focus of the tour is on a natural
interaction with the sharks and every effort is made to
treat these animals with the respect they deserve. Chris and
Monique strive to share their passion for
these animals with you, their guest.
The trips to Seal
Island leave at around 07h00 in winter (May-Sept), as it is best
to get to the island at first light each morning to allow you to
observe the natural predation which is most prevalent near
Each morning you will observe natural predatory behavior for as long
as possible; however, it is usually the first hour and a half that
are the most intense. After this period they will try a short decoy
tow using a fake cut out carpet seal where they try to get the sharks
It is a very unique way to elicit predatory
behavior and has been very useful to help learn different strategies
adopted by different sharks.
They do this for short periods, despite it being very spectacular, so
as to ensure that the sharks do not waste too much energy in pursuit
of a non regular prey item. After the decoy tow, they do an inspection
lap around Seal Island, looking for any signs of bitten or injured
seals which are recorded for research/conservation purposes.
then choose the best spot to anchor up based on weather conditions
and attract sharks to the vessel.
Please note that the Fallows' do not
chum for sharks around seal Island and they are the only operators
in South Africa who do not chum.
Due to there being very few other boats operating in the area, it is
not necessary to chum and sharks will inspect the boat out of curiosity,
whilst naturally patrolling the island.
Once a shark approaches the
boat, a small bait is put in the water to keep the sharks interested
around the boat for identification purposes. At no point are the sharks
purposefully fed or handled. The do not use shark livers or any other
attractants that have a negative impact on the environment and every
effort is made to avoid the sharks coming into direct contact with the
These trips do offer the opportunity
to cage dive with the sharks for any guest who is qualified; however,
it really is recommended that more emphasis be placed on the surface
Each and every encounter with a great
white is a unique experience and it is Chris and Monique's intention
to share with their guests the knowledge they have built up over the
years, as well as the intense passion they both have for these super
Note on Vessels: All of the Fallows'
expeditions are run from their high powered 28-ft catamaran, equipped
with two new 140-hp, low emission, 4-stroke engines, capable of speeds
in excess of 30 knots if need be. They also have access to a larger
36-ft catamaran for larger groups if need be. These vessels are custom
built for these activities, are safe, fast, and reliable, offering
a well designed layout suitable for photography, filming, diving and
general surface observation.
Note on seeing sharks: As
sharks are entirely wild animals with no boundaries, no guarantee
can be made for any sightings at any time of the year; however, there
are certainly better times than others.
Seal Island - chances of
seeing one or more sharks:
High Season (May
to mid Sept): 95%
Mid June - Mid
August: best for natural predation observation.
May & June:
usually the better weather months during the high season and also best
for observing sharks around the vessel.
Intermediate season (April and
Low season (Nov to March: 55%
white shark expeditions take place near
to Cape Town. This is an area that has a mild climate and is predominantly
a winter rainfall area, May-Sept. Average day temperatures in summer
are around 25C and in winter around 19C. Water temperatures for the
white sharks are around 17-20C in summer and 13-15C in winter. Oct-June
Visibility at Seal Island is around 5-8 meters with good days being
12-15m. The summer winds are predominantly S-SE and average 15-20knots
during Nov-Jan, with lighter winds earlier in the mornings.
From Feb to mid
May, winds moderate and more winds from the SW and W become
common, averaging 10-15knots most days, with flat calm days in between.
June-Sept sees W to NW winds dominating and during cold
fronts, which seldom last more than one to two days, winds can blow 30-50
knots. Between the fronts, light N-NW Winds are the expected
winds. All trips are carried out based on the best weather reports
available and are at the skipper’s
Other animals which may be seen:
Cape Fur Seal colony of 60,000, breeding African
penguin colony; three species of cormorant nesting, including Bank
cormorants, numbering less than 6,000 worldwide; common & dusky
dolphin; Bryde’s, Southern right, humpback, & Minke whales.
A variety of sea birds, including Cape Gannets.
Recommendations and requirements:
Guests suffering from nausea or motion sickness are advised to take
precautionary measures prior to each day's scheduled departure. Warm
waterproof clothing is recommended and during summer and autumn months,
sunscreen and a hat are advised
Any persons wishing to cage dive with
white sharks need to have entry level scuba qualifications.
All images © Chris
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