After shark cage-diving, visitors can observe a colony of fur seals as well as Cape gannets, of which there are about 270,000.
“Thereafter, we’ll talk about the history of the 22 shipwrecks that have happened close by over the years.
“From there we go to Woody Cape, which is part of the Addo Elephant National Park, and observe bottlenose dolphins surf along the waves with the backdrop of the Alexandria dune fields, the largest in Africa,” Edwards said.
“Bird Island is the longest trip of any of the cage-diving operations in South Africa.
“The idea is to give guests a full marine experience and not just shark cage-diving, but also take the adventurers on a tour of the Addo Elephant National Park.
The Addo reserve is the only national park in the world that has the Big 7.
“You have the big five land animals and then the permitted whale watching and shark cage-diving.
“Our trip is not just shark cage-diving but going out to sea and seeing the humpback whale migration which runs the same time as the shark from May to November.”
Guests will dock back at the Port Elizabeth harbour at about 4pm.
Though approved a year ago, the project was delayed as the department of environmental affairs was yet to issue a permit.
“They approved the permit but we’re waiting on the department to give us the physical permit,” he said.
The project opened for applications in 2017 and three operators applied, with Edwards, of Raggy Charters, winning the bid.
“We’re taking a very scientific approach.
“We will have scientists on board monitoring the sharks and monitoring our operation so that we are transparent with that.”
The plan is to do one shark cage-diving trip every three days because of the Bay’s weather constraints.
The Bay is known as the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world, a status Edwards says will not be affected by the white sharks.
“The sharks are already here so we are not attracting more sharks to the Bay, just attracting them to the site they will be at,” Edwards said.
Nelson Mandela Bay metro economic development executive director Anele Qaba said the project would boost the Bay’s image as the top adventure marine and terrestrial destination in the world.
“As a well-known adventure destination, we are proud to say we are the only city that boasts the Big 7 (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark) within its municipal boundaries, making it a key selling point to get visitors to experience the destination, especially from an adventure point of view.
“The ocean safaris offered in the bay, coupled with the close proximity of the nature reserves, is a world-class experience that is a key driver for international tourists to the area,” Qaba said.
This article is in partnership with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.