Friday, October 1, 2010

Bruised and Beaten at Isla Guadalupe 2010

The 2010 white shark diving season at Isla Guadalupe has been one of the most productive on record with most of our trips seeing high double digit numbers for identified sharks at our cages.

During each season we see a wide variety of white sharks in various health conditions. In 2004 a shark we called Dead Man Walking appeared at our cages for the first and only time.

His condition was horrible, covered in parasites, emaciated, and sadly, not long for this world. He never came back.

This is the nature of commercial shark diving, we are here to witness these animals. The 2010 shark population has been robust and, for the most part, healthy. Except this guy - image by Amanda S.

Two weeks ago this unidentified critter arrived at our cages looking pretty tattered. Massive old and fresh bite scars are all over the animal and dorsal fin that was chopped and flopped were the hallmarks of this white shark.

Newly minted Shark Diver, Amanda S, got some good ident images we will be sending on. Not all is lost though, as we discovered with Lucy. Her tail is absolutely shredded and when she arrived at our cages a few years ago with the fresh bite that had removed 20% of her tail we wondered if she could make the long migration to and from the island.

She has, three times now, and successfully predated on a seal as well. What we think we know about the robust nature of these amazing animals, we do not, as critters like Lucy, and this new shark (still looking for a name) show us how nature survives even in the worst of conditions.

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