Editor's note: We asked readers to weigh in on CNN.com Live producer Jarrett Bellini's vacation destination, and you chose South Africa. Check back for updates on his trip.
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNN) -- The girl sleeping in the bunk above me either had Swine Flu, SARS, Tuberculosis or some sort of perfect storm of all three, because she managed to hack and snort throughout the entire night in an almost exact pattern of: Hack. Hack. Hack. Snort. Snort.
The sharks arrived and disappeared quickly.
I only mention this because I had to be up at four 4 a.m. to get picked up for my day of shark cage-diving, and, clearly, I wasn't getting too much sleep.
Not a good start. Nevertheless, I managed to get out of bed on time, and actually felt pretty decent as we drove two hours from Cape Town to some quiet fishing village where about 30 cold, tired backpackers squeezed onto an old boat and into the sea in search of great white sharks. Somebody had to say it: "We're gonna need a bigger boat."
But tight as it was on board, we survived, and soon found ourselves bobbing over the waves as small fish began to circle the chum. Eventually, the sharks came -- and they were amazing!
More importantly, it was probably the closest I'll ever get to a great white without A) dying or B) soiling myself. See Jarrett's shark-diving adventure »
But just as quickly as the sharks arrived, they were gone. Cold and tired, an uncomfortable boredom overtook the tourists, interrupted only by the occasional roar of projectile vomit.
As a scientific study, this symphony of motion sickness was about as fascinating as the sharks. As it turns out, the English seemed to be the ones most affected by the sea. Now, maybe this has something to do with their biology, or maybe this has something to do with England beating Croatia 5-1 in a World Cup qualifier the night before. Either way, I found it interesting that our friends across the pond were collectively becoming violently ill.
One would have thought this would have attracted more sharks -- that fine, rich mixture of lager and pies -- but the seas remained great white-free.
In all, it was sort of a bittersweet experience. Being that close to such spectacular sharks was a rare, lifetime opportunity, but of all my South African experiences, this was the most expensive and, in many ways, the least rewarding. Of course, I chalk this up mostly to the early start and cold weather, but, even at its best, I've definitely had better times in my life.
That said, I'm glad I did it -- you know, before I die from a rare new strain of Swine-Flu-SARS-tuberculosis.
Hack. Hack. Hack. Snort. Snort.