Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our first trip back to Isla Guadalupe, 2014!! We had a fantastic trip to open our season of great white sharks.

Our first trip of the season very successful with great white sharks.
So the first day heading out of the Ensenada marina, on our crossing we had the joy of seeing two blue whales off the bow of the boat along with a gorgeous sunset at dinner time!

Day 1

It is 7:30 am at Guadalupe Island and we have the island right in front of us, we are hoping the dreams of many of our customers are about to come true! At the call of dive briefing everybody gets in the salon to go over the rules and procedures for cage diving while our crew is lowering the cages into the water! At 8:30 somebody outside yells "SHARKKKKKKK!!" We did not have to wait that long at all for the first sharks to show up, and the conditions were good, the water was as blue as always in this area, with well more than 100ft/30m visibility, a water temp at 73˚F/22.7˚C, flat surface ocean.
During our 3 days of diving here, the sharks were here with us, we counted at least 10 different sharks every day, the mornings and evenings surface cages were busy with sharks coming from all directions trying to get the bait! They are very fast ambush predators, so it takes concentration from our shark wranglers to make sure that the great whites don't get overfed! From the sun deck we counted up to 7 great whites in front of the surface cages at one time, there were plenty of opportunities for pictures from every angle. At times she sharks came straight toward the cage with mouth opened wide to get bait, other times turning in the corners of cages just barely keeping space to not touch it, they get so close on some passes right in front of the cage!
I am telling you they swim so close to the cage, you see every detail on their body from the wrinkles and scars to the tiniest details! The sharks did several half-breaches with their body partially out of the water, and if your camera was ready you had a chance of getting a once in a lifetime shot. Another thing that made us happy is to see friends sharks from the past season coming on time to their feeding grounds to see us! For the most part we had 12-14' males with a handful of juveniles around 9' long, with only one female in the area, although it is notably early in the season to spot a female!
One night right around BBQ time around sunset, while everyone was talking about the great day we just had,  we enjoyed a full body breach out of the water just 20' from the bow of the Solmar V! The next day we saw a breach before 7:00 am while we were wrangling the surface cages, on the starboard just "steps" away from this cage showing us the whole length and white color of the under body, it was a great way to start the day.  We closed the day with another big and loud jump for no apparent reason other than showing off for our guests!
The Submersible cage also was very successful with exception of last day when it was a bit windy. The submersible gives a different perspective of seeing the shark, you can see them swimming slowly under the cages, under the Solmar V, and around the submersibles getting very close to our divers!
Along with great whites, for a short while we had the company of bottle nose dolphins in the shark area, seals also chasing the tail of white sharks!  
On our return to civilization we had a smooth crossing, one and a half hours before we got to Ensenada we spotted blue whales again, just resting on the surface, one of them even surfaced just feet away from Solmar V, seals in the area and of course more dolphins made the smile of people.
We had a fantastic trip to open our season of great white sharks.
Dive Inst

Daniel Zapata.

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