Sevengill Shark Bliss

Lesley Rochat Photography - broadnose sevengill sharks in False Bay
I know I said I was going to do the sardine run slide show, but that will be for another time as the week was consumed by many other conservation demands. So instead I am sharing yet another dive at my favorite local site with the broadnose sevengill sharks in False Bay, which I did today. It was touch and go whether I would join Jacques de Vos, top underwater photographer who has the best images of cowsharks I’ve seen. A storm kept me awake last night bringing with it the much needed north-westerly winds so we were almost guaranteed of clean water, but that the sun was hiding, and one really does need it for the best lighting to filter through the tall kelp fronds, tempted me to cancel.

Lesley Rochat Photography - broadnose sevengill sharks in False Bay
But once a bit of blue sky threatened I put my kit together, drove all the way past Simonstown to the site, unpacked to prepare for a shore entry only to realise I had left my weightbelt behind! I blame the storm and lack of sleep…then drove all the way back to fetch a belt from Pisces Divers leaving Jacques to patiently wait. Tell me of any avid diver who hasn’t at one point or another forgotten something for a dive and I will tell you they’re talking shark!

Lesley Rochat Photography - broadnose sevengill sharks in False Bay
Jacques humoured my lack of organisation and soon enough we were in the most pristine of conditions with viz according to Jacques, who has dived the site countless times, he has only seen that good a few times before. Beneath the surface our kelp forests never cease to amaze me, the beauty, diversity, and endemic species add up to making it some of the best diving in South Africa, once you get over the cold that is. And the big bonus is of course the potential of good conditions such as we had today to view the prehistoric looking cowsharks weaving through the long fronds, coming curiously close to one, unperturbed by divers.

Lesley Rochat Photography - broadnose sevengill sharks in False Bay
The cowsharks have been in the bay for as long as I can remember, the first person to tell me about them was famous underwater cameraman, Charles Maxwell, who has been filming them for years and with whom I have worked with on many occasions, in particular on our shark releases. The site only became really popular amongst recreational divers a few years ago. Winter is the best time of the year for this site and I am making the most of the conditions for the rest of the season to fulfil part of the photographic mission I am on. Mike Nortje of Pisces Divers is the operator to book this special dive with. As for me, I’ll be back in the water with the cowsharks next week…

Thanks to Jacques and Pisces Divers, as well as to Brightweights for keeping me down, and Reef Wetsuits for keeping me warm.

Watch my space…

  1. Kerry RatcliffeKerry Ratcliffe08-27-2010

    Stunning photos! Sharks in Deep Trouble is my favorite shark conservation film – amazing you made the documentary on your own – and your photographey depicts the other side of sharks and their beauty so well. I'm a keen diver and in South Africa one of these days to dive and would love to meet you if possible? Cheers Kerry

  2. Lesley RochatLesley Rochat08-27-2010

    Hi Kerry, thanks for the support of my work, appreciate. It is important to me to show not only the beauty but the truth of what is going on re shark slaughter. Sure, send me an email closer to the time and we can set something up You might want to get hold of Pisces Divers and book a dive with the cowsharks 🙂 Kind regards, Lesley

  3. Adam CarnegieAdam Carnegie09-03-2010

    I adore barreling through the kelp forest! They are spectacular environments. Every time I'm in one I feel privileged and yet feel too that the teaming reef life is too quiet. All those beautiful fish species are absent. There is so much for me to learn and to go out and to do. Thank you for taking me to these places cause I just don't get out there!

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