Diving with Cow Sharks in Cape Town.
Diving with the spotted seven Gill cow sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus)
Pyramid or also known as shark alley is one of our local dive sites in False Bay where we are very fortunate to be able to dive with the spotted seven gill cow sharks.
The site is reachable by boat or for the adventurers a shore dive where a bit of swimming, kelp crawling and balancing on rocks skills are required.
But when you get to the underwater wonder world everything will be well worth it. The sharks who are a prehistoric shark species with their 7 gills and no dorsal fin really like to come and check the divers out.
You would notice that certain individuals will be swimming pass a couple of times throughout the dive. Mostly females congregate in the small area and most of them are full of scars attained by mating, probably feeding and of course injuries caused by humans and some attacks by other bigger sharks. They are apex hunter’s thus smaller sharks and seals are on the menu and are also opportunist feeders.
I once saw them feeding on Mullet when a couple of sharks were bait balling them.
In my experiences diving with them I found that they are really very docile with a big “smile” on their faces and only once saw teeth exposed. Saying this makes some divers wanting to touch them and with the briefing we warn divers not to touch as they are really quite fast when they are touch unexpected and could turn around and bite a diver.
Not too much is known why the sharks stay in that one area constantly. Some facts that are known is that they do hunt in packs. They do spy hopping, meaning they put their heads out of the water to spot prey. Live bearing of their young (ovoviviparous) and females can attain sizes of 3 meters long. It is still a mystery to where they pup and what happens to the young ones as small juveniles are rarely seen.