Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Shredder Got His Name - Guadalupe Island

Known by a few names, Shredder has lived up to the name the crew of gave him at the start of the 2003 shark diving season back in the day when we chummed with real beef blood and divers fished for, but rarely landed, whole tuna.

Our very first white shark encounter in 2003 was with a 12 foot male white shark complete with “shredded” dorsal fin and several deep bite marks on his head.

He came in fast from the left, our first sight was of his mangled dorsal fin slicing through the surface toward our hang baits (tuna), he hit the first one with an unexpected fury, then turned and zeroed in on the second hang bait missing it and disappearing into the blue distance. This was clearly a unique animal and at the end of the day we named him "Shredder," little did we know he would more than own that new name.

Shredder Takes a Bite

I was up in the wheelhouse with our boats captain (Greg) during the last dive of our last day at Isla Guadalupe. It had been an amazing expedition thus far and our shark cages were loaded for the last time with die hard shark divers. At the time three new sharks in the 10-13 foot class were entertaining them. Two divers not in cage rotation, Kevin and Matt, were fishing for “last chance” tuna on the bow of our 88-foot dive boat the Ocean Odyssey when our crew in the wheelhouse heard a large splash. Seconds later a startled voice called up to us, “Umm, hey, a shark just blasted up and severed the anchor cable from our boat,” that was Matt, one look into his face I knew he was speaking the truth.

Our ships captain was not so sure, saying “that’s a rated 20,000 pound poly-pro anchor cable, there’s no way a shark just bit through it.”. One of the ships crew was summoned forward to have a look and sure enough came up with the last 5 feet of cable ending in one very messy shredded fray. A 12 foot great white shark had just leapt up almost 10 feet clear out of the water and bit through our anchor cable, about the size of a mans wrist and designed to hold an 88 foot dive boat in place in even the roughest weather conditions!

We were now adrift with shark cages fully deployed, sharks in the water and one shark the (newly named Shredder) with a new taste for anchor cables. In the history of shark diving I doubt this has ever happened to another dive boat. Crew raced forward and aft, we had our shark divers calmly exit the cages (30 minutes early) pulling them from the water in record time. In exactly 20 minutes we had the ship squared away and ready to get under power. Once we had settled down our divers were thrilled. After all you cannot call it a "shark expedition” until a shark chews through your anchor cable!

That's how Shredder got his name. He's now much bigger in the 14-15 foot class and still an icon of Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. His sat tags have revealed he is a regular visitor to Hawaii's North Shore when he is not thrilling divers at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.