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Overview
SShark Diving Unlimited offers a spectacular adventure in the “Shark Capital” of the world, Gansbaai.  Located just outside Cape Town, the expedition allows guests to escape the city, enjoy some beautiful scenery and come face to face with the ocean’s most majestic apex predator. Owned by the “Sharkman” Mike Rutzen, star of multiple National Geographic and Discovery Channel nature documentaries , Shark Diving Unlimited offers a variety of activities beyond diving in the cage.  For those who don’t want descend into the shark’s domain and prefer staying dry, there are photography tours, observation tours from the boat and between May and August, the shark’s majestic predatory behaviour of breaching (jumping clear out of the water) may be observed. Visitors can make their own way to Gansbaai, a great weekend spot, or utilise the company’s comfortable daily transfer bus from Cape Town.  Upon arrival they are treated to a warm breakfast, a safety briefing and are then on their way out to sea to find some great whites.  Guests do not need to be able to swim or be scuba certified as the activity requires a simple breath hold technique that even children can master.  They also provide thick wetsuits, masks, snacks on board and lunch and hot showers upon return to shore. The company uses most of its profits to fund scientific research, in collaboration with Dr Sara Andreotti, a marine biologist at Stellenbosch University.  Together with Mike Rutzen, Dr Andreotti has been attempting to preserve the great white shark through a series of studies on the genetics of the white shark population around the South African coastline.  So far they have discovered that the South African white shark has the lowest genetic diversity for sharks in the world, with 89% of sharks sharing the exact same lineage. This low diversity could jeopardise the future survival of the species, and lead to possible extinction. Another threat to this majestic species is baited hooks, which are used by the government to protect swimming beaches, by effectively hooking (and in most cases killing) sharks.  Poaching for the shark’s valuable jaws and teeth is also a huge problem in the preservation of this species. “The great white shark is worth a lot when slaughtered for its jaws and teeth, but alive it can drive tourists to Cape Town, support guesthouses, restaurants and cage diving families and preserve the balance of the ocean,” says Rutzen. “Responsible tourism is paramount. If there is no responsibility for the ecosystem we are operating in, or care taken to preserve it, then we can’t be surprised when it’s taken away.” Rutzen, who is a founding member of “Shark Conservation And Research (SCAR), an organisation dedicated to raising funds and supporting high quality scientific research so that accurate information may be provided to governments to further preserve delicate eco systems. He is also a co inventor of the Sharksafe Barrier, an eco friendly solution to baited hooks, which  he hopes will soon be deployed on swimming beaches internationally to prevent negative encounters between man and shark, and in the process prevent the shark’s extinction. The company aims to prevent the extinction of the great white shark and prevent negative encounters between sharks and humans so we can coexist together for many years to come.
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