Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trip #7 at Guadalupe Island!

Hola everyone out there!
Our first day, we departed Ensenada Harbor for trip #7 heading for Guadalupe Island, listening to the loud barking of California sea lions in the harbor!  The great whites are waiting for our arrival!    Great whites waiting on, we had mild ocean conditions on our crossing, a bit of swells but not bad and mild wind, with a lot of sun! In front of us was Todos Santos Island is where we witnessed approximately 400 white belly dolphins coming to join us for a long time! Captain Gerardo was making big circles with the Solmar V playing with them in our wake, leaping even 8ft/2.4m above the surface!  The dolphins continued to swim along together effortlessly, jumping, rolling on their side, you lean over the board a bit to see them even closer and to your surprise they are watching you too!  A number of Cameras were shooting dolphins surfing swells, leaping, long jumps due to the speed they develop, etc. The fun was on as we had margaritas prepared by Luis steward on board kept flowing.  Our eyes were set on the Horizon for Blue Whales unfortunately they were not in the area, instead we got a great sunset and a delicious dinner prepared by Tony our chef on board!
Our first day of diving we arrived a little before 9 am. With a unique cloud system covering just the top north of it, all your senses need to be so sharp to be underwater! And we arrived to our anchor point to very blue water. Blue Blue water? Yes blue blue water! 110ft/33.5m vis+, more good news? Water temp 73˚F/22.7˚C, so as we are ready to put first group in the water, we look overboard! A fin is swimming along the boat cutting the surface! It's a Great white shark, Excellent! From this point in the morning on we had 9 more hrs of sharks, not one single second without a shark in front of us during the day! Minutes later a second male shark shows up, but it is not just any shark! This one is a player, likes to pose, it’s a model! His name is Bruce aka Zapata, minimum body length 15ft/4.5m,  a third male quickly joins the party, a fish named Bite Face is named aka Crazy Luis, body length 13ft/3.9m, these 3 sharks together did whatever they wanted to do with the baits attacking it from everywhere and at the same time! On the surface we had to rotate the wrangling from Captain Gerardo to Manolo and myself, because the action was really on! One shark found the way to get the bait going full speed from depth launching ¾ of its body out of the water 5 times throughout the day, landing on its belly splashing water in all directions!  We kept rotating more people in surface cages, with the shark action still going!  The beautiful thing we have on board the SOLMAR V is the 3 different perspectives from which you can see the action, surface cages 8ft/2.4m depth, second deck (sundeck) guests waiting and taking top side view pictures 12ft/3.6m from surface and submersible cage at 30ft/9.1m! The submersible also had a lot of activity with most of the time 4 sharks coming close to investigate it, 5 to 6 hrs in it and we saw shark from all angles, so very close, very away from it, coming at, descending from surface cages, making close very close circles around it, sharks were very curious about submersible cage! Back at the surface Zapata was still chasing baits with no rest, going from left to right cage back and frwrd. At 18:00 hrs we had no more sun light, the vis turns more dark blue, right when we though no more action one dorsal fin cuts surface, then two then three then four five and six! HaHaHa! Dolphins! Watch out dolphins! At the end of the day only one shark stayed wanting to play more, shark! Zapata. We ended with a delicious Dinner under the stars, Mexican BBQ and celebrating Will ̓s birth Day! 
Shark Diving day 2. The morning itself was gorgeous! The whole day was sharky! From 7:30 AM to 18:00 Hrs our guests were in and out of cages, we really didn't have much downtime without sharks around the cages. The first one showed up at 6:40 am came in slowly swimming, taking its time, from wrangling platform we also see others in deep water, not wanting to come up, it was just a matter of time!  In the mean time lots of yellow tail jacks, scads feeding on bait we have for sharks, water was so blue, it did not have a stint of anything, perfect blue for pictures, the morning started to heat up nicely! You feel it on your shoulders, then bingo! A sharks is coming from the shore direction straight to bait, then others are also coming up to bait, soon after we had a shark traffic in front of cages coming from left and right launching fast attacks to bait non-stop, heads out the water open jaws, dorsal fins cutting the surface followed by the tail, the water so smooth that we actually see their black eyes and size of body around pectoral fin!!  Zapata shows up more peaceful than yesterday, others leave the area a bit, you can tell right away! Shark Horizon comes in, both of these sharks together continue putting on a great show, sometimes turning upside down showing the so white belly, tip of pectoral fin out of the water then back normal position splashing lots of water to come back in, amazing! Seagulls were hanging out just waiting for leftovers overlooking the whole area all the time, one more shark shows up, a large un-named male! We had lots of people on the sundeck just taking pictures from there not wanting to get in the water because of such a great action! Going deeper in submersible cage was as fun and exciting as being on the surface, different perspective, giving one a great view of the whole area counting up to 6 sharks at the same time, 9 Hrs of it! Gunter the shark is here, he has a massive body size, liked to play, challenging you sort of.. he would go for the bait not cutting the rope letting you pull, then shaking the head out the water showing its gum and teeth, splashing water and squeezing the blood out of the bait!  In the mean time I hear lots of cameras shooting and of course our spectators on sundeck so excited, just to end the day a very active juvenile shark took our baits several times, I guess besides being superfast he was very hungry! 
Day3 at Guadalupe, another sharky day!
Among other sharks we had today was CC (cut caudal) a good sized male who is a sneaky and fast shark, learned to come up from below the cages, right where we don’t see it and straight up jumping out of water taking the bait! He would also vanish into the depth and come back from other side to get bait, the fantastic blue water makes possible to see today the shark traffic once again on the surface.  The warm water temperature 73˚F/22.7˚C helps us stay underwater for a long time, allowing us to get those beautiful shots of open mouth, big teeth once again, so all the action happened on the surface, unfortunately we could not use submersible cage today due to those large swells from  storm Norbert. 
Our return to port was a little bumpy due to swells and wind from storm Norbert but once we got to Ensenada area by Isla Todos Santos the white belly dolphins were waiting for us and welcomed us back from our trip, although they were a little spread out but still had the chance to take lots more of pictures and videos from them.
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata


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