Walking with Great White Sharks

February 19, 2014 by dyertrust

Who can say that they have walked 600,000 steps alongside Great White Sharks?

Grant Christie,of Six Million Steps, has done just that -along the 300km stretch of coast in the Overstrand.

Six Million Steps is an expedition to walk the entire South African coastline, solo and unaided.

Hailing from Pietermaritzburg in the beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal, Grant Christie has always been a nature boy.

Feelingtired and loathsome of ordinary living, he decided that spendingseven months, and walking six million steps along sandy beaches, and rocky cliffs, covering the whole South African coastline is an adventure worth attempting.

His motivation behind this amazing adventure is even more admirable - to uncover and identify the environmental issues and burdens our coastline faces daily and to create awareness around these matters.

His journey started on the banks of the Orange River along the West Coast of South Africa and sometime in April or May 2014 he will finish at Kosi Bay along the South African East Coast, a whopping distance of about 2800kms (as the crow flies he now thinks it might actually be a more accurate figure at 3200kms!!!).

Thats brave the average "joe soap" on the street takes approximately 6500 steps per day so a journey of this magnitude will take us normal people two and half years to complete not a mereanticipatedseven months.

Alison Towner, Marine Biologist from the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, linked up with Grant on the 18th January 2014 at the Great White House in Gansbaai. Grant was given the hearty welcome all of our patrons experience when visiting our establishments, but he did get an additional inside scoop on Alisons Great White Shark research and the operations and projects of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

His interest in all things nature, and subsequently Great White Sharks, is tangible.

We grabbed this opportunity to send him out with Marine Dynamics Shark Tours, to dive with these apex predators, aboard Slashfin - our big badass boat as Grant refers to it now.

Out at sea, he was entertained to sightings of the iconic Great White Shark. He knows that whilst he is walking our coastline these animals trawl the breakers just out of sight and now he finally gets the opportunity to see them face to face.

Smiling from ear to ear, Grantdescribed our Great White Sharks as peaceful and placid and he says thatthe experience of seeing these magnificent animals up close and personal was an exhilarating, rare and special encounter.

It is such a privilege for us to hostenvironmental activists such as Grant Christie, giving us the opportunity to recruit them as ambassadors for our marine conservation work especially in a time where species such as the Great White Shark faces persecution due to an unsubstantiated bad reputation.

On Monday, the 20th January 2014, Grants much deserved break inKleinbaai came to an end and we saw him off from Franskraal Beach.

We were so sad to see him go, that we sent our International Marine Volunteers to accompany him on this next (short) leg of his adventure. They walked with Grant from Franskraal to Pearly Beach. A twelve kilometer hike along one of the most pristine beaches in the Overstrand region.

Bravely he carried on - alone. Every day tackling this adventure one step at a time.

On the 8th of February 2014 Grant reached a milestone along his journey he reached his halfway mark 1600kms and roughly 3000 steps later he has achieved a great deal in creating awareness for the conservation perils our coastline faces.

He is currently in George, where he is recuperating from a nasty fall on the 16th of February 2014. A five metre drop down a rocky cliff left him battered and bruised; with badly torn ligaments in his toes luckily no-one saw this happen, so his ego is still intact not that this humble man has an ego to speak of

We wish him the best of luck.

He will continue on his expedition as soon as his injuries allow him to, tackling the next stretch to Port Elizabeth, and onwards to the north eastern coastal border of our wonderful, diverse, country. Follow his journey on Facebook, and Twitter.

Grant has made his difference by taking it one step at a time, and his challenge echos to everyone who cares about marine and coastal conservation:

What is your next step?