Monday, September 21, 2015

Dive Report –Trip No.9

Dive Report –Trip No.9

Hello you all!!
 We had our crossing from Ensenada to Isla Guadalupe was more turbulent than usual due to strong wind but once arriving to Guadalupe, it was nice and calm. The sky was very clear, and we had a wonderful view of the Island. Once the crew set the cages in the water everything was very calm, no waves, no current, and at the beginning, no sharks.  We knew that they were around and we would see them soon though. Not long after, a medium size male passed close to the cages at the surface showing us it's dorsal fin. The first group of divers of the day got in the cages and noted that this Great White Shark was almost 3 m/ 9 Ft. It stayed for a long time around the surface and a bit later an smaller male approach adding more action and fun. Around the submersible cage we noticed that the great white shark circling around the cages was tagged with a receptor on it's dorsal fin, this shark was circling and moving around from the submersible cage at the 30 Ft/ 9 m to the surface. During the day we had 5 different Sharks; the biggest one was a female that was almost 5 m /15 Ft. long, she was huge and fat, quite an impressive great white.  It made passes around of the submersible cage opened it's mouth and then it went down from the 30 Ft / 9 m to 60 Ft. /18 m or more before disappearing into the blue, then coming back to the surface! From this cages straight to the submersible, passing right on top of us, showing us its white belly.  Many times it turning around and came straight to us with a very sharky smile, then turning and passing very gently next to us.  In the afternoon we had seen three great whites swimming from all directions, up and down giving us a wonderful day in Guadalupe. It was a terrific first day trip, to finish the day nothing better than Mexican BBQ on the bow, taco time and a birthday for one of ours divers!  During our second day, the water temperature was similar to our first day of diving 72 Fº / 22 Cº. The weather was very nice 26 Cº / 79 Fº. Early in the morning we watched a group of beaked whales, swimming in a group of eight, while doing the preparations to start our second day of diving.  Very early in the morning we got everything ready but  this time no signals of sharks during the entire morning. We were waiting and only yellowtails and massive yellow fin tunas swimming close to the surface were the main sources of action in the morning.  It was a a good time for the divers to relax, to listen music on the sundeck. Surprisingly we didn't spot our next shark until early in the afternoon. At 1 pm in the afternoon the first Great White showed up and disappeared.  After a few minutes another two sharks came into the area, one of them had scratches on its face, evidence of a fight.  They were juvenile males of no more than 3 m/9 Ft.  They were very curious about the cages, and then finally all the action started! We had eight great whites over the rest of the afternoon.  The smaller juveniles were all males, and were very aggressive and active at the surface! They were splashing the water, showing their dorsal fin, a big male was breaching close to the swim platform and they were swimming around until the last minute of the day! Our last day of the trip the water at the surface was 75 F /24ºC. The sharks weren’t around again for a long time, the water temperature was a little bit warm and it wasn’t very helpful to find them, instead the yellow fin tunas showed up again swimming very fast and entertaining the divers in the cage! Some others divers were having fun in others ways. Around one 1 PM a great white passed swimming quickly past the cage before disappearing. After couple of long minutes, 2 Great whites showed up and this time the stayed around the cages for a long time!  The divers in the submersible cage watched them but a little bit further it disappeared into deeper waters.  At the cages at the surface we've had lots of action, especially when a big male comes up to check the surface, it was a big male at least 4 meters /12 Ft long! It was very active, and a little bit aggressive towards the bait, it must have been really hungry!  We can say that we saw four different Sharks today, all of which very active and aggressive, showing that in Guadalupe they are always around and they can show up at any time .

Ignacio H. Leyro 
Solmar V
Scuba Diving Instructor

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A trip with many sharks combined with lots of dolphins.

Sept 14, 2015
Hola All!
On our latest journey to Isla Guadalupe, despite some stormy conditions in the atmopshere, the surface of the ocean was good to us!
16 hours after our departure, in the distance we can only see the clouds covering the island, but we know it is there!  As we got closer to the area where the island is, we can start to see a hint of the island, wild and isolated with no visible life aside from the fur seals and elephant seals that call this place home.  We could barely see the beaches of Isla Guadalupe, as the clouds rolling over the island touch the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean, below the water the apex predator of the ocean awaits!
We've got an exciting day ahead of us today, everything is set, our divers are very excited and don't want to waste a second on the main deck, then all of a sudden we hear the words everyone has been waiting to hear "SHARK! SHARK!" Just seconds later, a huge dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water just in front of the cages!  This shark is easily 14' long.  The first rotation of divers get into the water (cage) and from the surface we can tell with all the movement that they're having a really good time!  This massive shark is named "Big" and he was actively going after our bait, over and over, it kept our shark wranglers on their toes!  This shark had lots of stamina, it was the type of shark that if you were watching a movie, it would make you jump out of your seat! It was time for our second rotation of divers and the shark is still going!  From the surface many of our guests got shots of the big great white shark launching half of their body out of the water with a wide open mouth showing lots of sharp teeth!  A second shark came into the area, and we noticed that the first one went deeper as the second shark arrived.
Dolphins came into the area, about 6 of them including one calf, they didn't seem to be worried about anything, swimming in a relaxed mode by the cages, and then disappeared into the blue.
From our submersible cage, our guests were able to take in an alternative perspective to see the great white, we can see how quickly they change direction to go after the bait, swimming slowly with their mouths barely open, they swam by the cages, just feet away, allowing us a close look at scars, mutilations, skin wrinkles, freckles, all good identifying features, with 3-4 sharks at a time!
A combination of sun breaking through and drizzling made a rainbow appear between us and the island, we could see the dark island color behind it, with both ends of the rainbow touching the water, it was so close we could almost dig for gold while shark wrangling!
The return home was smooth as a lake, an extra bonus was to witness more than 1,000 dolphins near Punta Banda, close to Ensenada, a big thanks to our Captain Gerardo for putting us in the position to see this kind of action, and for giving us many opportunities for great shots for over an hour! In the end this was a trip with many sharks combined with lots of dolphins!
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata
Solmar V

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Once again, Guadalupe Island demonstrates why it is the best destination in the world to experience the great white shark!

September 9, 2015
Trip 7 Report –Guadalupe Island
We left from the harbor in Ensenada into a rough sea with strong winds, and was a little bit chilly, but after few hours was the seas calmed and we had a smooth crossing from then on out.The next day we arrived to Guadalupe Island in the Eastern Pacific, a sanctuary for the Great White Shark. Immediately the crew set the cages in the water, 2 at the level of the surface and one submersible to the 30 Ft / 9 m. The divers were anxious to enter the cages while we’ve been waiting for the Great Whites to come. It was quiet at first, but around 10 Am the first Great White Shark, "Top Notch" a big male approximately 4 m / 13 Ft in length showed up breaching and swimming with a big dorsal fin out of the water!  Everybody got ready to dive into the cages while Top Notch was very active and breaching and moving around the cages, when another Great White Shark joined us! In this case, it was a little bit smaller but it was very strong and fast! The water temperature was 72 Fº / 22 Cº , and the weather was a very nice temperature 25 C º/ 77 Fº , to 26 º /79 Fº. It was a sunny day, perfect to pass all day along on the Northern side of Guadalupe, where we strategically picked our dive site to (hopefully) provide an unforgettable encounter with the king of the sea!  During the day we can say that we watched 10 different great whites around us, a few of them hung around the submersible cage but most of the them very curious about the cages at the surface! We had sharks coming from every direction and for everybody! It was a lot of action and a lot of fun!  The people at the sundeck were watching and taking pictures of the great whites breaching.  One of these sharks was the number 138 in the Guadalupe Island White Shark Photo Identification book, a huge male about 4 m / 13 Ft in length. Our second day was a full of action with lots of great white sharks around! The water temperature was 68 F º/ 20 Cº to 72 Fº. The temperature on the sundeck was very pleasant 26 Cº /79 Fº. The view of the island was wonderful and along the beach we could see elephant seals and Californian sea lions which attract the great white sharks to this area. We had more and more great whites, one of them called Big, which is a huge male almost 4 m / 13 ft. in length with marks from a fight, with two scratches or bites on one of it's sides! Speaking of fights, we had a big male swimming at the surface when an smaller male, but very active and aggressive attacked the biggest one!  The biggest one went down but immediately returned to the surface and went after the aggressor at depth. During the morning we had more and more sharks arriving and we had at least 4 sharks swimming around us. We had a couple of them splashing the water close to the cages and one of them swam straight to us with an impressive open mouth!  In the afternoon, 5 great whites were circling the submersible cage and we can say that we identified 12 different sharks during the day. They were very active, swimming, breaching, splashing the water, even as the sun went down.Our 3rd day was terrific! The action started very early with a hungry male around the surface cages and more curious sharks were passing right in front of the cages. The Great Whites were passing around the submersible cage at the 20 Ft /6 m at the beginning but they were going down deeper, then we took the submersible cage to the 30 Ft. / 9 m. Once at depth we could see them better and closer, they were passing very close to the submersible cage, we had 4 of them moving from the submersible cage to the surface cages during the morning. One of them was turning around, this big male was a massive Great White Shark! It had a big head a huge body and fat with a big dorsal fin. It was opening its mouth showing plenty of teeth every pass and was circling from the submersible cage to the cages at the surface, and it went straight to one of the cages at the surface showing an open jaws to the divers! What an excellent opportunity for the underwater photographers to take a phenomenal photo from their trip! The water temperature was 72 Fº / 22Cº, the visibility was very clear with clear blue water, 60 ft. /18 m to 80 Ft/24 m visibility. At the 30 Ft / 9 m the water was clear and most of the action was at depth, many times throughout the day we had 4 to 5 great whites around us and from the morning to the afternoon we had 8 to 10 Sharks  .One more time Guadalupe demonstrates that is a top destination to experience the great white shark in the world. Now we are returning to Ensenada in a very calm sea, all our guests are happy, sharing experiences, pictures, and having a great time on board the Solmar V! 
Ignacio h. Leyro
Scuba Diving Instructor

Monday, September 7, 2015

We are back from another successful trip to Guadalupe Island!

We are back from another successful trip to Guadalupe Island! This time as soon as we left Ensenada and passed Todos Santos Island there were hundreds of dolphins around the boat they followed us for at least half an hour! The crossing to the island was a bit rough but as soon as we got to the bay were we anchor it was really calm, so we dropped the anchor, set up the cages and the first group of divers went in! Fifty minutes had passed with no shark action, it was almost time for them to conclude their one hour rotation and that is when the first sharks showed up! We want everybody to have a good time so of course we gave the divers some extra time before the next group got in the water from there to the end of the trip we had sharks close by almost the entire time.
On this trip the water temperature was 71F/21C during the three days and the visibility was around 100ft/30m. We did have sharks everyday but at most times they were hanging out a bit deeper and coming to the surface for the bait quickly and going back down to enjoy the thermocline which made the dives on the submersible cage very active!
On the first day we had five different sharks, six on the second day and four on the third day most of them were young males this time from 7ft to 9ft / 2m to 3m!
The final day of the trip the wind picked up a bit which only allowed us to use the submersible cage a couple of hours but the shark action on the surface cages did not stop.
After three days of enjoying the company of the apex predator of the oceans we headed back to Ensenada with fairly good conditions to drop off another set of happy guest fuel up and get ready for another great trip out to Guadalupe!
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

We had an action packed 5th trip of the season!

Hola amigos!

I can't believe how fast this season is going, we are in our 5th trip already, I guess it's because we are having too much fun!

On this trip we got a group of 18 Americans, 1 Argentinian and 1 British guest, a great group with a great vibe since they stepped off the bus at the Ensenada marina!

After the usual safety briefing and the unpacking we left port and as soon as we left the marina we noticed something, great weather! The day was sunny, the ocean was really calm, what else could we ask for on our crossing to Guadalupe?! Oh yes! A pod of common dolphins and a whale flapping it's tale at the surface came to say good bye and have nice trip!

The nice weather made us have a great night of sleep and the next morning we woke up to a cloudy day and some little waves, but nothing to worry about, once closer to the island captain slowed down and we all run outside to see what was going on and to our surprise we had a pod of about 5 cuvier's beaked whales! They are rare to see especially from a big boat as they are a very shy kind of whales, so after a couple of times of looking at them coming up to the surface to take a breath we kept going our way to Guadalupe island. Once we entered the north east bay where we are allowed to do the cage diving. It was sunny, and ocean was completely flat, great conditions for great whites! We got to our usual spot, anchored, set the hanging bait, so we could have some blood in the water to attract the sharks, we set the surface cages and boom! We already had a shark around the boat! It all seemed to point to a perfect trip, good crossing, good weather at the island, flat seas, sharks after not even 2 minutes with the bait in the water...unreal!

After briefing and suiting up, divers jumped in the water and from that moment on we had shark action non stop for the first and second day of the trip! On our third day sadly it got very windy and the sharks went into deeper water, which actually calmed down a bit for the last hour of diving and Mau and Atlantis came back to give us some great passes and a few jumps and full opened jaw pictures! Others than those hours on our third day with slow action the trip was just unreal, we had jumps, turns, sprints and all kinds of acrobatics from old shark friends like Mau, Horizon, CC, but specially Atlantis that was the star of this trip, as our friend Zapata, did not show up this time to show the rookies how a proper show is done!

Now we prepare ourselves for the 6th trip, that will bring some great cinematographers and photographers on board, so stay tuned to know who this great guys are!

Hasta la vista!

Antonio Romero

Dive Instructor

Solmar V