I have this crazy friend (we all have at least one, right?) whose actively ticking things off her bucket list. When I saw a Groupon pop up in December to go snorkeling with seals, I promptly ignored it. Nope. Not interested.
Anyway, said crazy friend (x2) said they’d like to go and I started to consider it. I’d been wanting to do a boat ride for some time and the Groupon was cheap so I figured, if I had second thoughts I could stay in the boat and just do the ride and watch crazy friends with the seals. I agreed.
We were sent a video from Cape Town Bucket List showcasing the seal snorkeling. Now for some reason, I imagined you would be in a cage doing it – like with shark cage diving. When I saw the video of the guy happily swimming WITH seals I got the shock of my life. Where’s the frikkin’ cage!!?? Ok, now I knew I wasn’t getting out the boat.
Check out the vlog here:
The fateful day arrived. The website didn’t give a lot of instructions other than to wear a bikini (or swim shorts for the fellas). It was cold so I went in a tights, a top, huge jacket and sneaks. We walked to the far end of the Hout Bay harbour and it was easy to spot the Cape Town Bucket List tent.
They explained that the boat is a wet boat. So we needed to change into a wetsuit with flippers and snorkel before even getting into the boat. They stored everything else we didn’t need. It was pretty exciting to get into a wetsuit for the first time!
We were a group of 4 and joined by 2 other small groups. They had a safety talk and explained the process. We would take the boat out to Duiker Island. We were going to jump out close to the island but we weren’t allowed on to the island. The big male seals tend to be aggressive and they protect their territory on the island. It’s usually the females and pups that swim with us in the ocean. They also said that it wasn’t common for sharks to be at the part we were going in as the water is cold and boy, they weren’t lying!
Oh we paid R150 to hire a go pro. None of our phones would have survived that trip!
So after the 5 minute bumpy ride in the boat, they checked that we all had our flippers and masks on and we were ready to jump out! The water was cold but the wetsuit did a good job of keeping me warm. The flippers/feet not so much!
I don’t know why but I was left with the Go-pro. I’m not that great at snorkeling so it was a bit of a struggle for me to keep the go-pro while trying to stay under the water. I guess the wetsuit makes you extra buoyant.
It was amazing to see the seals go! They are surprisingly majestic under the water. I felt safe as they tended to swim quite deeply and were mostly babies. We took video footage so do check that out here as the seals were pretty amazing!!.
We had an hour to swim around but after about 45mins I started feeling extremely cold and made my way back to the boat. We were given the tiniest hot chocolate known to man but it felt like nectar from the Gods. I was frozen!
The experience wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. It was probably one of the most fun, adventurous and surprisingly cheap things I’ve ever done! I was glad my crazy buddies (both biologists fyi) dragged me along in the end.
A word to the wise, it can be tricky getting out of the wetsuit (even though they supply you with a tent-sized towel) so be sure to have clothes you can easily slip into.
Cape Town Bucket List
Check out this website if you want to read more about Cape Town seals: http://www.oceansafrica.com/seals-of-south-africa/