Great white shark passed only a few feet from my head. I lost count of how many individual sharks I saw today.November 23, 2011
Today was our third and final day of diving here at the island of Guadalupe for our latest white shark expedition. Isla Guadalupe is located in the Pacific ocean 185 nautical miles south south west of the northern Baja California city of Ensenada, and approximately 150 nautical miles from the nearest point of land on the Baja coast. Surrounded by crystal clear blue water it is rich in many species of marine life and home to one of the most concentrated populations of white sharks in the world. From our two submersible cages, holding a total of 6 guests plus 2 divemasters for critter pointing, we can often see a wide variety of sea life other than the white sharks. Huge polarized schools of mackerel, numbering in the thousands, make a beautiful shot as the school is pierced by a Guadalupe fur seal or California Sealion rocketing through them. Yellow-fin tuna and Yellow-tail (amber jacks) can often be seen following closely behind the white sharks looking for a stray meal.
We’ve also seen green turtles swimming lazily by and small pods of bottlenose dolphins checking out the people behind the bars.
The Great White Shark however is what everyone comes to see, and the 100-150 ft of blue water viz of Guadalupe makes it the perfect place to observe the sharks in action. After two great days of cage diving and observing the whites, the comment I heard most was that it couldn’t possibly get any better and it didn’t matter anyway, everyone had seen what they came to see. Except the third day did get better. It started from the very first dive, with 4 individual white sharks counted in the first 30 minutes. After that I lost count of how many individuals we had for the day and had to focus on the 3-4 that were continuously surrounding our cages, coming at us from all directions high and low, spending most of the time nosing right up to the cage, touching it several times, and making eye contact with all of us. Several times one shark passed by only a few feet from my head.
With the shark swimming slowly and calmly I never felt threatened, only a primal thrill of being eye to eye with a white shark, with no cage separating us, totally at his mercy. Unlike the “Jaws” portrayed in hollywood, white sharks are not bloodthirsty killing machines and once they decide we are not food for them, will simply size us up and cruise slowly around us, maybe trying to figure out what we are and what we want?
After 3 awesome days of diving and observing these magnificent animals we are now on our way back into Ensenada to clean up and restock and begin our next great white expedition!
Captain Gordon Kipp
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This post was written by Mairin