Monday, September 22, 2014

Isla Guadalupe Trip #9!

HI all!
Finally Odile Storm is giving us a break so we are heading out of the Marina in Ensenada for more White sharks at the isolated Guadalupe Island, Mexico.
Life is abundant here in the Ensenada Harbor, as we made our way out to sea, we see sea lions laying down on the channel bouys watching us as we go by!  They don't bother to move a flipper, barking loudly,  you see them, then you smell them or maybe it's the other way around!
Our crossing was nice and pleasant, air temp was in the upper 70's with a little bit of wind and mild swells.  We were watching the horizon when we spotted some jumping off in the distance!  Bottlenose dolphins were heading our way, and as we got closer to the dolphins we noticed something was a bit different.  Yes yes yes!! A small group of short-finned pilot whales on our starboard side!  Then we had another small group on the port side!  Then more of them spread out into smaller groups, there were 30-40 of them crossing along in no hurry!  We slowed down to get a closer look, and Captain Gerardo made circles to get us more time with them!
Several times we had both dolphins and short-finned pilot whales riding the bow together!  Dolphins are more rolling on their sides, belly up, doing a half breach, we could hear them chirping if you listen closely.  
We arrived to clear blue water amongst the shelter of Guadalupe Island, dropped the anchor, and everyone was getting excited during our dive briefing!  Conditions were good, it was a warm sunny day, there was no wind, water temp in the submersible was 71F.  The day started off slow, we didn't see any sharks as quickly as we have on the other trips so far this season.  In the afternoon a large male shark showed up, we got a great view of him from the submersible, and he made a pass around the surface cages, and then swam away!  Right after this male left, another shark showed up, made a similar pattern aroudn the submersible, to the surface cages, and then disappeared into the blue!  A 3rd shark showed up shortly there after, and hung around the submersible cage until light got low and we had to call it for the day! All of this action is viewable on the surface in real time via GoPro connection to the boat on the surface. After the diving was completed, we had a delicious dinner below a gorgeous sky full of stars!
Day 2 we awoke to a gorgeous dark orange color and pale orange sunrise as it progressed!  The island itself is unique, cloud formations on the highest north eastern point drop as a curtain covering the island, underwater it is a whole different story!  A temporary home for the majestic and powerful great white shark, we went to a new location this morning called prison beach, and it offered much better visibility than yesterday!  The water temp remained the same, we had a mild current from the north.  Our first diver got in the water at 7:00 am, and the rotation didn't stop all day! The hope to see a high was high, seagulls were witnesses to our activity trying to find these giant creatures, we spotted some dolphins, and a sea turtle, but the great whites were unfortunately elusive!

Dive Inst,
Daniel Zapata

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