Sunday, October 25, 2015

I wonder what are great whites thinking when they make eye contact with us?!...

Hi all!
Oct 21,  2015
Wind from NNW makes us feel like real adventurous explorers in the ocean In route to Isla Guadalupe, white bellied Dolphins escorting us along the way! A sun fish rests on the surface sideways probably enjoying of the swells and water temp of 74F, a sky covered with clouds in grey color lets the thin light break thru, some boobies don't waste time to play In the wind gliding just over the surface without touching the water!
Our new first day at the island started with lots of enthusiasm from our guests wanting to see great whites! The clouds and thin rain didn't let the sun break thru at first, air temp was 21C, underwater was a whole other story! Water temp 24C, vis 20m, submersible cage started to descend very early while divers on the surface cage were  already immersed. At depth our first visitor arrived very curious about the submersible cage,  Gunter, a male white shark kept coming at us repeatedly with a smiling face, a pilot fish rubbing its little tail against shark's snout! They know the area! It seems he doesn't have rush or stress by the way he swims, other male comes in, keeping distance from each other they shared the swim area below SOLMAR V! Which was very good for us, after being absent for several trips, a shark named Horizon shows up with fresh bites on its right flank, at least today they are pacific swimmers, Andy another male white shark got in the area once the other two disappeared, surfaces cages were slow active hoping these shark will come up to break surface but they didn't, so 3 other sharks including one female made appearance by the submersible cage, it was fun to see interaction, at times  how they measure one against other to keep status! 
The following day  “Legend” a male shark recently acoustic tagged showed up, after a few weeks of being absent he came back keeping every one happy putting on a great show from about 7:30 in the morning to around 12 noon! He is a speedy guy, barely taking a break, he kept circling surface cages very focused on how to get the bait! In the end he always did it! Launching its body in different angles got the bait by doing vertical rapid ascend breaking surface half of body out of the water, wide open mouth showing teeth and splashing such amount of water! Many other times coming straight at the cage open mouth, swimming slowly, very close to cages was also one of the things he liked to do among so much more! The "Watch what you wish for" became reality for our guest. Submersible cage was as good as on the surface. Having up to 4 sharks circling at the same time, and providing a different perspective to see them from this cage, that smiling face never disappears, barely open mouths, that big eye definitely is making contact with us, I wonder what are great whites thinking when they make eye contact with us!?!?...
Dive inst
Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

We are on our 14th trip of our 2015 great white season, just two trips left before we head back to the Socorro Islands!

Hola amigos!

We are on our 14th trip of our 2015 great white season, just two trips left before we head back to the Socorro Islands! But first, let me tell you how the trip went...
To start we left with great weather which gave us nice smooth crossing to the island, by 9:20 am we already had the bait in the water!  About an hour later, the first great white showed up! A few minutes later, a second shark showed up!  We had arm water at the surface, 74F/23.3C, the action kept going with these two males that were 10-12'/3-4m were very feisty and gave a great show!  They did some partial breaches and quick turns, the submersible cage was busy, when the sharks weren't at the surface cages they were circling our submersible cage a bit deeper!  The submersible was a great place to be all day long to get another perspective on the great whites!

On the second day we started a bit slow, but after a while the two males from yesterday showed up and gave us a good show for a few hours!  When the action at the surface slowed, the submersible cage had good passes.

Our last day of diving we moved to a different dive site, as the visibility was not that great at the dive site from our first two days.  At the second site, we had similar conditions with lower visibility than usual, but after a bit we spotted our old friend Bruce aka Zapata!  He's a massive great white we've that always puts on a good show, he stayed around the cages for nearly an hour, especially around the submersible cages!
For the last part of the day, we had another 10' male that came to the boat, and stayed for the last hour, a very agile shark that made quick and sharp turns around the cages!  It was a good way to end the diving activities!
On the way back we again found a great weather and made it back safely to Ensenada and now we are ready for our 15th trip! So stay tuned because there is more action coming our way!

Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor
Solmar V

Monday, October 12, 2015

We are getting to the end of our 2015 Guadalupe season but we still have a lot of action going on!

Hello Hello!!
We are getting to the end of our 2015 Guadalupe season but we still have a lot of action going on!
This time we had 72F/22C water the entire trip and really clear water 60ft/18m to 100ft/30m and sharks every day!
The first shark showed up about 20 minutes after we set the cages up and started chumming, it did not stay around for long but another 6 sharks came up to the boat through out the day, we also had a pod of about 20 Cuvier beaked whales very close to the boat!
On the second day, we had 8 different sharks around the cages, some of them were well known to us including: Gunter, Big, and Top Notch, who all gave a good show. To finish the day we had a small whale shark passing right next to the surface cages followed by a really big mobula ray!
The last day was the one with the most action not so much on the surface but a lot down on the submersible cage maybe 10 different sharks at least 4 of them on the same frame at some point with very close encounters with the sharks almost banging against the cages! We also had lots of yellow tails and yellow fins all around the cages and eating the bait.
We only have 3 more trips to go before we head to Socorro, but as I said there is still a lot of action going on so stay tuned to see how this season is going to end!
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Friday, October 9, 2015

Another exciting trip to Isla Guadalupe!

Oct 06, 2015 
Hola Solmar V Fans!
A journey of almost one day on the luxurious Solmar V has started!  Our destination of Isla Guadalupe, in Mexican territory is also the feeding ground of the Apex predator, the great white shark!
The day after our departure, we spotted the island early in the morning.  As we approached the island, we can see the brown color of it its also covered with some green color of the vegetation due the recent rain.
It was quiet as we approached the island, the first thing we heard were Guadalupe seals barking welcoming us to the island! No other noise but seals, the wind is even not blowing! Our guests are excited about the pristine looking island, as you approach Isla Guadalupe, it looks like something nobody has ever seen before! 
For many there is an emotion that can best be described as: "I CANT BELIEVE IT! MY DREAM IS JUST ABOUT TO BECOME REAL!" At the same time that they are hand touching, feeling the emotion, and looking at the empty inside of the cage!
The main anchor hits the bottom of the ocean, the crane on board starts lowering the surface cages in an ocean so calm and glassy that it reflect the clouds on the surface. 
We were just about finished with cage diving guidelines when we heard one of our favorite words coming from outside! "SHARK SHARK!" A 12ft one broke the surface, from the sundeck many could see how slowly it swims in front of the cages, at times speeding up to get the bait, from inside of cages a clear view of it, every wrinkle of the skin was visible, every scar, the tip of pectoral fin almost touching the cage, then a second shark made the first one go away in a display of dominance! It didn't want the bait, it was just swimming back and forth from bait to bait! Seagulls flying over the bait to get a piece if it! We can still hear the Guadalupe pup seals barking loud! The submersible cage was also active counting up to 3 to 4 sharks at the same time and very interested in whats inside of the cage, swimming underneath, the dorsal fin almost rubbing the bottom of it, other times coming from the surface straight at us open mouth displaying white sharp teeth with pieces of fish still trapped! Below the surface, the shadow of the Solmar V make the sharks look darker, it seems they like that area by not getting out of it. 
The wind picked up, clouds showed up in the sky, making the sharks a bit difficult to see until they are right in front of you! The bait is still in the water, lots of yellow tail and yellow fin tunas were feeding on it, but of course at some point sharks came into the area not interested in it! They decided to hang out at 20 to 30ft of water, making the submersible cage once again the one everybody wants to be in, some confrontations happened between male sharks without biting each other, just the display of dominance.
On our final day we got a nice sunny day back, as early as 7 am divers already in the water, sharks made themselves visible this early, from there it was a non stop shark action wanting to take bait, a big male named Gunter showed up, putting on a great show, by stop swimming right in front and on the side of surface cages showing from snout to tail the whole white belly, open mouth out the water several times just inches away from swimming platform, we could have touched snout if we wanted to do it! From the surface we were able to see through gill slits, other males came into the area as well, the water visibility being as good as 80ft made a fantastic photo opportunity, water temp 73F, from sundeck we counted 3 to 4 sharks by the surface cages and one seal with head always looking into deep water, don't want to be ambushed! From submersible cage even 5 sharks distributed in the same area, a little chase of a shark going after a yellow fin tuna we eyewitness, the excitement was really on! Back on the surface cage a few shark breaches just inches away from it happened a few times, so top side photos were taken by everyone, many of the photos are very good candidates for the SOLMAR V PHOTO CONTEST!
Our return trip to Ensenada very smooth, near the area several beaked whales made appearance showing the white color of their heads, dolphins also were in the area, but not in big number this time!
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A WHALE SHARK at Guadalupe Island?

Hola amigos!
Here we are on our 11th trip of this season and the great whites keep giving us a lot of excitement!
To start the trip with the right foot we left with a great weather which gave us a great and VERY smooth crossing to the island, so smooth that we got there earlier than normal and by 9am we already had our divers in the water! Not much later, probably not even half an hour, the first great white showed up! A quick start, but after that it slowed down for quite a while, but not even that made the sharks come up, probably because of the warm water at the surface, 74F/23.8C, so for a few hours only our submersible cage saw most of the action as the temperature was a little cooler at 30ft, around 71F/21.6C. But around 4pm a big 12ft male showed up and gave us good action for the last couple of hours. In total we had probably 5 or 6 different sharks coming to check us out, not bad for the first day!
Our second day started with a quick pass 10 minutes after we threw the bait in the water, then it slowed down again as it did the day before, but the action in the submersible cage did not stop! We had a great day down there, we had thousands of little sardines under and around the boat and that attracted a bunch of huge yellow fin tunas that obviously spent the day hunting next to our cages and in between all of that action we had the great whites gracefully swimming around, we had up to 3 sharks at the same time, non stop action when suddenly out of the blue a 20ft/6m whale shark showed up! Yes you are reading correctly a WHALE SHARK! It actually scared the great whites and they left for a few minutes when they saw this bigger shark next to them! So the whale shark came around the submersible cage about 3 times, swimming slowly and pretty much posing for our cameras! What a great surprise very unusual for these area, but still very awesome for us to see it!
So after the whale shark left the great whites came back and kept us entertained for the rest of the afternoon!
Our last day of diving started slow again, with an early pass and then nothing for a while, but slowly sharks started coming up and spending a little more time at the surface and by 12:30pm the show started, males started coming after the bait, one at the time,showing their enormous jaws to all of our divers both under and above the water...what a great way to end the trip!
Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor
Solmar V