The White Shark Trust Field Research Assistantship is proud to introduce you to our assistants:

Sophie Fleur POST (Groningen, The Netherlands), Jessica REDINGER (Hope Valley, RI, USA), Oliver RUDD (Oxford, England) and Gael LAMIELLE (Decines, France).

Michael was invited by Alison Kock, Karl Laroche and Darren Hunniford to join them on board Xiphodon, their research boat, at Seal Island in False Bay. Seal Island is known worldwide for the famour breaching White Sharks photographs taken by Chris Fallows, and Michael had never been in False Bay to look at White Sharks.

Michael had dreamed of visiting Seal Island and see for himself these famous jumping Sharks... He had observed it at Dyer Island on numerous occasions, but apparently, at Seal Island, this incredible spectacle is much more common than at Dyer Island.

Alison and Karl, the research project leaders in False Bay, also invited Michael to take one of his assistants along... So the group of White Shark Trust assistants drew one name from a hat, and Sophie Post was the (very) lucky winner. Andy (ABC4) was also welcomed by the Alison and Karl.

In the afternoon of Wednesday, the 14th of July 2004, Michael, Sophie and Andy set off for this adventure (pictures above)... Destination: Fishoek on the Cape Peninsula and Seal Island, False Bay, Home of the Flying White Sharks!

Jessica, Oliver and Gael went out to sea on board Barracuda (Shark Diving Unlimited) on Thursday the 15th of July. They all went in the Shark cage again, and observed nine different White Sharks, among which, one Shark was close to 450cm in length... so they had their fare share of fun as well!

Seal Island (above) in False Bay is home to a permanent colony of 70'000 Cape Fur Seals, and is located 14kms East of Simon's Town on the Cape Peninsula. In the above photograph, a small group of Seals is leaving Seal Island to feed, the perfect targets for any hunting Great White Shark. The mountain in the background is Table Mountain as seen from the other side of Cape Town presenting a novel view of this famous landmark.
In the early morning of Thursday the 15th of July 2004, we left the harbour of Simon's Town at around 7 a.m., about 45 minutes before sunrise... We quickly reached Seal Island on board Xiphodon, the 26ft ButtCat research boat of Alison and Karl sponsored by the Save Our Seas Foundation. We all looked (very) sleepy, but the excitement was mounting fast!!!
Before we even reached Seal Island, we already observed three natural predation attempts by White Sharks on Seals from far near the island... It was just amazing and eerie... The conditions were just perfect! No wind and a flat ocean... For the next three hours, we were hunting for predations, carefully following unsuspecting Seals with our eyes...
During the first three hours, we spotted 13 additionnal natural predations of Great White Sharks on Cape Fur Seals... The Sharks breach the surface at an incredible speed when they attempt to catch a Seal by surprise, and the sight of a jumping or flying Great White Sharks is just breathtaking and amazing...

The series of four photographs below is what happens when a White Shark was not successful in killing the Seal with the initial strike... The scene looks like a dance between the Shark and the Seal, both of them changing direction in a split second... It is amazing how agile Great White Sharks are... but Seals are still more agile and usually get away if they have not been badly injured during the inital attack.

And now for a breach... These are the best photographs Michael managed to take of a breach that day... it happens in a split second, and probably is one of the most amazing things anyone can see... The White Shark missed the Seal during the initial strike, and the Seal got away with a gash on its back... seeking refuge on Seal Island.
Karl Laroche was writing down the information about every predation, about Seal movements, etc while Alison Kock was recording every detail of the predations with a digital video camera, and Darren Hunniford was skippering the research boat.

Everyone on the boat was of course keeping a watch on any predations, and helping to monitor the Seal movements from and to Seal Island.

Michael, Andy and Sophie were just too amazed with what we were seeing happening 16 times within a couple of hours to be of much help... it was nice being a tourist!

We then chummed for White Sharks for seven hours, and observed seven different White Sharks, but they behaved in a very shy manner.

That was a fantastic day! And we would like to thank Alison, Karl and Darren for welcoming us in their home and on their boat to be introduced to their extensive predatory behaviour research project, and to be allowed to discover the flying Great White Sharks of Seal Island. Thank you very much!
If anyone is interested in an excursion at Seal Island in False Bay, we would like to recommend the following two companies who organise tours to observe natural predations and breaching White Sharks:
Contact Chris and Monique Fallows at
Contact Rob Lawrence at
Below are some photographs taken by Andy Brandy Casagrande ABC4 during this amazing day in False Bay...