Cage diving – the journey with Brian Nielsen

Ever since Brian could walk

he has either been fishing on the water, in the water or spear fishing under the water. Many many hours of Brian’s youth were spent in pursuit of Vundu, blue soap in abundant supply and Tigerfish for which Lake Kariba is famous. So it came as no surprise to us when the youngest member of the Nielsen family decided to make scuba diving his career.

Spear gun in hand

Spear gun in hand 18 year old Brian set off with a mane of hair for the Mozambique coast in his short wheel base Landy. PADI soon  took Brian to Broome in Western Australia where he was to meet his wife Jaclyn & learn the art of pearl diving. After an unfathomable number of pearls Brian became a professional diver off shore which he continues to enjoy to this day.
Thanks to a freelance job Brian & Jaclyn have been able to start a life together in Victoria Falls which is where the idea of Crocodile Cage diving was born. A year & many many welding rods later Africa’s first crocodile cage was ready for action! Ha…  Now all we need are the flat dogs!
Brian and his team of men took nearly a month to catch three crocs from a dam on our former farm in Mashonaland. It took 4 weeks –  every night same story boat, rope, noose, sack,  beers & battles with an age old predator who was not going down without a fight.. On more than one occasion the croc was landed when he bit and out witted his way back into the murky underworld.

At last! The weeks of blood, sweat & tears paid off… 3 crocs landed ready for transportation to Victoria Falls after night long celebrations.  Homeward bound…  1OOO kilometres from Harare to Vic Falls… That’s right … 3 crocs destined for a thousand kilometre journey. Brian and his crew, now thoroughly wild eyed & bushy tailed, head off on a full moon’s night to keep the cold blooded cargo comfy. We discover en route that it is in actual fact a total full moon eclipse. One particular road traffic officer who did not believe that there were indeed Nile crocodiles in the horse trailer will probably never forget the moment he opened the door & found 3 of the world’s largest reptiles fast asleep.

Crocodile cage diving is the genuine article. A young man who having lost everything he knew as home had a dream. In that dream there just happened to be crocodiles – if you know Brian you’ll understand this! But, in the 4 years of its inception the journey has been wrought with many trials & tribulations. With unfailing faith & good old fashioned guts Brian and Jaclyn have achieved the near impossible. Their strength of character is testament to a country that has endured more than its fair share of challenges and we are proud to be a part of this triumph. What more could one ask of life than to enable us to live out a dream & live it strong.

by Sandi