Location: Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
Another great crossing kicked off our latest trip to Guadalupe. Calm seas made for a very relaxing and pleasant 180 mile ride out to the offshore island.
We arrived at the sheltered bay on the North East side of Guadalupe as dinner was being served, and after enjoying a Nautilus burger the crew had the cages in the water and ready for an early start the next morning. One of my favorite times of a trip is just after we’ve reached our destination, the anchor is down, the vessel is rocking ever so gently in the shelter of our anchorage, and everyone can take a deep breath and relax as the engines go quiet and our anticipation of coming face to face with the ultimate shark fills our thoughts. It’s a very subdued excitement that first night usually, with most people surely knowing it will be a unique experience, but not yet fully appreciating the extent of the thrills to come. Day 1 was a nice, easy introduction to the white sharks of Guadalupe, with a few of our favorites making some brief appearances. Bruce, Chicka, and finally Shredder, whom we thought may have disappeared, let us have a look, but weren’t too interested in coming very close. Our encounters that first day mostly consisted of a curious appraisal, a couple of times around the cages, before disappearing again into the blue from which they had come. As crew onboard, we of course know the potential of the places we visit. We know the best it has to offer, and that ultimately is what we want all our guests to experience when they come with us anywhere. The first half of day 2 was that experience we wanted to share. When you can look out in one direction from that cage and see 3 big white sharks, that gets the heart going! The rest of the dive is just keeping your eyes peeled for that dominant shark who keeps circling closer and closer, while all the time looking behind you to ensure the other sharks are keeping their distance. Usually they do, but often they will surprise you and you will turn from watching one shark maybe 30 feet away from you to see another gliding by even closer with their eyes on you. Imagine catching sight of a 4 meter white shark just as it enters your range of vision, swimming straight toward you. That head-on profile is unmistakable and my favorite view to start the adrenaline dripping into your bloodstream. He continues to swim straight toward you, obviously intent on asserting his dominance, while your heart rate continues to increase and you slowly make your way to the opening in the top of the cage just in case. Now he’s only 20 feet away as you drop back inside, with just your head poking up out of the hatch in the top of the cage. The shark is now only 10 feet in front of you, and turns just slightly before swimming into the cage, passing literally only a few feet from you, at your exact eye level, looking directly into your eyes. Wow! That is one of the highlights of my diving career, and no matter how many times it happens the rush I get from that never diminishes. It’s a very personal experience, and a pleasure to share with our guests as we did this week, repeatedly on day 2. Day 3 was another great day, with one as yet unidentified male staying with us all day, and again providing us with some huge thrills. During one dive in the submersible we spotted a stingray swimming out of the blue, just beneath the level of the cages. The male white shark circled it a few times, I think a little confused by the animal which you rarely see in the blue like that, before deciding that whatever reason it had for being there must be a good one, and let it carry on with its journey.
Already looking forward to the shouts of “Shark!” from the crew on the back deck as a big dorsal fin breaks the surface. Coming soon…
Weather: Skies clear. Winds light to moderate. Seas calm.
Water: Water temp 73F. Air temp 78F. Visibility 120 ft plus.
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