Let me start by saying how incredibly thankful I am to have such supportive viewers. The 'Brownies' are very committed to watching/sharing my vlogs and for that I can't thank you enough!
Last year around June, I set a goal of 100k YouTube subscribers to be reached by January. I was a couple of weeks over, but we got there! I come from a sport background so it was important for me to set a goal and monitor/review my progress on a regular basis, this helps me stay committed. Some might argue that it's not about subs or views, that I should just concentrate on my audience, but that is in fact exactly what I did. Commitment is made easier by goal setting, and goal setting is made easier with planning, but some things cannot be planned for, such as going to India for the Rickshaw Run. This adventure opened my mind to the possibilities of YouTube and allowed me to connect and make friends with some of the most creative & open minded people I've ever met. Love you guys :)
My main inspiration throughout this has been Louis Cole, or Fun For Louis for all who know his YouTube channel.
I can't thank you enough Louis, you've always believed in me and you continue to expand my imagination, goals & horizons. I really do think you're changing the world, one vlog at a time.
It's tradition on YouTube to celebrate milestones with a slightly different video. I've seen bungee jumping, sky diving & head shaving but I've not seen... SHARK DIVING! Probably for good reason; sharks have teeth & humans can't swim very well.
Anyway, I hit 100k subs whilst in Cape Town and thought what better than a little dip with some sea creatures. You can't swim with Great White sharks in Cape Town, (there's plenty of that but it's illegal) and I don't really like the idea of cage diving, I think it's a bit of a cop out. So I went with Shark Explorers on their Blue & Mako Shark dive. They took us 85km offshore to swim in the Agulhas Current, a warmer stream of Indian Ocean water that runs past Madagascar down the east coast of Southern Africa almost reaching Cape Town. The warmer water brings more variety of wildlife. We swam with Yellowfin Tuna & Blue Sharks, but it's also common to encounter Mako Sharks and plenty of bird life!
I'm a competent swimmer so I jumped right in with the Tuna & little Blue Sharks, which got bigger as more arrived! I'm ok at holding my breath, so I put a weights belt on and did my best to sit around 10m deep where the scuba divers were attracting the sharks over with chopped up sardines. This is called chumming, it's a touchy subject in the surfing/ocean world, being a surfer myself chumming is not something I generally support, but images of blood being thrown overboard were soon dissolved when I realised all they were doing was chopping up a few fish. I'm still not 100% sure about chumming but I do know that Shark Explorers have changed my perspective considerably.
My girlfriend Nicole came with me, along with my friend Nick Miller but unfortunately they were both suffering from seasickness. Nick was on the bottom of the boat and couldn't move! Both Nicole & Nick managed to get into the water and swim with the Sharks for a while, Nicole pulled her hands inside her wetsuit sleeves 'so the sharks wouldn't bite off all her fingers'! It was an amazing experience swimming with Nicole, holding her covered up hands and watching some pretty big sharks swim around us, certainly something I will never forget.
I was surprised by how relaxed I felt under the water, breath holding is much easier if you can keep your heart rate down, which I was finding surprisingly easy in that environment. I was secretly hoping for a Great White shark to come along, it's certainly something I'd like to do in the future. Talking to the guys from Shark Explorers in the bar after was a highlight, they are so passionate about diving and underwater filming, every year they go to Mexico to swim with Great Whites and now I want to go with them! First I need to get my diving licence...
The whole experience has made me think more about ocean conservation and what I can do to help. It's something I want to get more involved with in the future, and it starts with changing people's perspective on sharks and how we treat them. I've very much opposed to the shark culling happening in Australia, what are they going to do? Kill them all? This isn't the answer. Such a short sighted mindset.
I'd like to thank Shark Explorers for one of the more amazing experiences of my life! I highly recommend Shark Explorers if you're looking for a professional ocean adventure in Cape Town, they do other trips dives in Cape Town with fur seals and 7 gill sharks, as well as international excursions. Thanks Morne for being awesome!
Please check out Shark Explorers online -
Twitter - twitter.com/sharkexplorers
Instagram - instagram.com/mornehardenberg
Website - sharkexplorers.com
FaceBook - facebook.com/sharkexplorers
Here's to the next 100k subscribers! Video is below :)