Here's her story:
When I was 5, my aunt took me to see my first drive-in movie…Jaws. Now I know what you are thinking…that is way too scary of a movie to be taking a kid so young to, but that movie started it all for me. I have LOVED sharks ever since!!!
I wanted a shark cage just like Hooper’s and even a crappy boat like the Orca would do for my travels…but alas, I never got that shark cage that was on my Christmas list. So in creating my Bucket List, this is the first item - See a great white alive (preferably in the wild).
Flash forward to 2003…this is when I discover Patric and his wonderful company that takes people out to meet the magnificent white shark face to face in this magical place called Isla Guadalupe. I emailed Patric and asked him a few questions about the trip and he called me back and told me everything I needed to know and then some, in his made-for-radio voice. So I decided this was it, when I had the money and was ready to go, I was going with this guy!
Well in life things happen and priorities change and shark diving was put on the way back burner but was still going to happen someday.
So it is Monday, August 11, 2008 and I sit down at work to read my emails and one in particular catches my eye:
Congratulations you were drawn as our Grand Prize Winner for the Luke Tipple promotion. You have won the Dive with Great White Sharks at Guadalupe Island. I will send you out a pack in the next two weeks with all the information to book your trip, and connect you with SharkDiver.com so you can answer all your questions. (check out the SharkDiver.com website to get the general idea.) You do not need to be Scuba Certified for this trip.
I read the email over and over again in my head and then asked a co-worker to come read it and tell me what she thinks and she says, “it looks like you just won yourself a shark diving trip!” So I get on the phone to call my best friend, Nicole and I read the email to her and start crying, my lifelong dream is finally going to come true and it would be in September 2009!
I can’t say enough about Patric and the Horizon crew. Everyone was so nice and helpful from Aaron helping us with our weight belts to Mike being right there with a cold drink of water when we got out of the cages to Patric himself being kind enough to “Count” the sharks for us and Mark making sure that I never saw one piece of cilantro or raw onion on my plate! The whole crew was fantastic, the boat was clean and in order and the food was great. Martin, our dive master was very informative and extremely patient which came in handy when he was teaching me to clear my mask and regulator. I love the ocean and spend my summers snorkeling the southern California coast and this was my first time diving. It only took about 15 minutes to get the hang of breathing with the regulator and be comfortable in the cage and once the sharks arrived I forgot all about that regulator.
In the movies they always show sharks, whites in particular, with black, lifeless eyes, which does not help in them being feared but I can tell you that their eyes are far from lifeless. When a 15 foot great white swims 1 foot in front of your face you can see that it has a beautiful blue iris and as this shark swims past you can actually see it focusing on each diver.
They are very curious and cautious animals and whey they cruise past the cages you can’t help but look at them more as graceful than menacing. I was a shark lover long before this trip but seeing them in the wild has made me want to do more to help protect them and now I need to win the lottery so I can go on EVERY Sharkdiver.com trip EVERY season!
Yours in sharks,