Monday, October 11, 2010

That Travel Chick Joins Shark Diver 2010 - Part Four

That Travel Chick aka Fort Lauderdale's Amanda joined us at Guadalupe Island in 2010 for the ultimate shark encounter. This is Part Four in her ongoing series diving with great whites and Shark Diver.

Her travel series is a must read for budding shark fans worldwide:

Day 2 Diving with Great Whites with a Full BREACH!

Another day starts before the break of dawn. It’s nice getting up and relaxing a bit before they drop the cages in the water. I opted to do shark watch again so that I get extra time in the cages. I went light for breakfast again which is fine. The everything bagels are sooooo good.

I decided that there is never enough suit juice because it’s still a bitch getting into the wetsuit. I spend so much energy trying to get my ass in it. Tomorrow I’m just pouring it all out on myself. Hahaha… I am in the cage by 745am. Not as early as I like but still. Brian was in before me and came out just as I was going in. Nothing happened but the mackerel were plentiful. As soon as the first shift came in the sharks started coming around. I think they may like us. I was in the cage for 2.5 hours straight. I am pretty sure I turned into a human popsicle. I had major camera malfunctions though. My HD camera ended up getting water in it. Stupid lock. They always fail. And the trigger button was getting stuck on my camera case. So I would have to turn it off and aim and then turn on to take a pic. Sucked but did the job till I got out. We got to see quite a few sea lions and sharks together. 3 and 3. That was quite intense to tell you the truth. I wasn’t sure if a sea lion was going to get picked off or not. Did see him hunt and catch a few mackerel which was quite amazing. We all came out of that cage and was like OMG.. that was amazing. I quickly went for the hot water to warm up a bit till the next shift. I wanted as much time in the morning as possible as its when the viz and sharks are plentiful.

So as we are getting ready for the next shift a few of us are watching the sea lions play and frolic in the water, I look to the back of the boat and no more than 5’ away from the cage does a friggin great white shark breach. FULL OUT OF THE WATER BREACH! It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life. This massive creature came up for no other reason than to show off for us. He came straight up, flattened out and dipped down his snout to do a semi-belly flop down. The few of us that saw us, were shouting, screaming, clapping and reliving the moment. Doug came up from the cage and was like OMG… did you see that. He actually got to see him rev up and gain speed to jump out. The rest were all busy looking the other direction at the sea lions. That moment right there was the icing on the cake. We have already exceeded all expectations of the trip by seeing more than the usual number of sharks and now we see a FULL ON BREACH. Yeah. Life is great right now. Of course the few of us are like ok well why don’t we just see a predation and add the cherry to the top. That would be quite amazing but the only killing we have seen are the seals getting mackerel or the damn seagulls getting our chum.

We go in for our last shift of the day and the water is getting a bit more murky and the waves are kicking us around a bit more but we still see a few sharks swimming around and now there are about 10 sea lions around us chasing after the mackerel and just playing and pissing of the sharks where they aren’t coming as close to us. However, one of the sea lions got so close to me that was able to reach out and touch him. That was pretty neat. I probably screwed up his feeding but I was happy.

Come out of the water and I am done for the day. Freezing my arse off and ready to bask in the sun. Which I did til the appetizers came out. It was pineapple, I had to move for that. I was chillin on the sun deck with my cell mates which seems to be a regular occurrence for the 3 of us to do. They are pretty awesome people. I am very happy that I get to share all these moments with them.

Appetizers are amazing. Dinner was the best I’ve had in a while. They grilled up some rib-eyes with a great marinade, cooked to my liking with asparagus and smashed potatoes. I couldn’t get enough but my stomach wouldn’t allow me to finish. Then they sang happy birthday to me and as a candle used a glow stick in my apple pie and ice cream. Best pre-birthday ever. Since we’ll be on the water tomorrow and probably barfing our brains out they figured they would celebrate tonight. I was very touched. This crew busts their ass and they are just great all around people.

The night of course ended out on the back decks with many laughs and stories and smoking. Followed by a B-movie night in the galley by Bruce Campbell. I watched some and it was hilarious. I gotta rent Army of Darkness now.

It’s been quite an amazing day. The best day of my life actually. I’ve seen everything I’ve ever wanted to and dreamed of since I was 7. I’m actually in tears just thinking about it because it’s just a feeling of accomplishment. I came on this trip hoping to find answers to something and I feel pretty damn complete in my life right now. Starting up a new business. Moving in a different direction. It’s all pretty damn scary but I know I can handle just about anything. I always have. It would be nice if it was handed to me but I probably wouldn’t appreciate as much. So I’ll work hard and accomplish my goal that I have set out and by this time next year I hope to be right here celebrating how far I have come. It’s in writing, I have to succeed.

Good night for now. Tomorrow is a brand new day of possibilities.

Sharks we saw Day 2:

  1. Shredder
  2. Ted
  3. Arden grace
  4. Cono
  5. Russian
  6. Chingey
  7. Johnny
  8. Rainbow
  9. One not known as of yet

Shark Diver John D Iles - In The News

One of the unintended consequences of commercial shark diving done right, are the legions of pro-shark advocates that go out into the world to change hearts and minds about media hit at a time.

One of these is newly minted Shark Diver John D Iles, who joined us in 2010 at Isla Guadalupe to meet the great white shark.

John got what he was looking for and became a true shark advocate, in a way that only those who have actually stared into the eyes of a great white can.

This week he appeared in the Star-Herald to talk about his first hand experiences with sharks, shark diving, and the need for conservation.

Here's an excerpt:

What upsets Iles more than “Jaws” is the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” programming.

“Shark Week is more of an enemy to sharks than ‘Jaws,’” he said. “‘Jaws’ is a movie and a work of fiction. When a supposedly educational network airs ‘Victims’ and ‘Worst Bite,’ it’s making it seem like ‘Jaws’ is true after all.”

Editors Note: Thanks John for the media and thanks for standing up for the sharks, we could use about 100,000 more just like you.

Complete Story.

Shark Diving Azores...White Sharks?

If underwater photographer Jan Reyniers has his way the Azores will soon be known as a top notch destination for Blues and Makos.

Perhaps Great Whites in the mix as well, as rumors of these critters cruising the backside of the Azores have been drifting through the shark community for many years now.

Here's the website for your review.

It looks from all intents that they will be running a "sharks first" operation offshore in crystal clear waters.

Wishing them the best of luck in the new shark endeavor.

Image by Jan Reyniers

Andrew Fox - Shark Hero

Facebook was center stage last week for a story coming out of Australia and Rodney Foxes operation. A white shark named Strappy became entangled in a packing strap which was slowly cutting the shark in half.

In a first rate PSA by the Foxes they highlighted the need for cleaner oceans by featuring Strappy and the damage being done to him by one industrial packing strap. There was some talk of trying to cut the strap off this animal. No mean feat, as white sharks are notorious for not wanting to be touched.

This week The Dorsal Fin blog has the update on Strappy and a rescue operation that was successful. As it turns out Andrew Fox manged to release Strappy from his confinement and it is hoped that now this shark will live for many more years to come.

Kudos to the Fox operation for:

1. Providing an oceans PSA using Strappy as cause célèbre

2. Helping this animal at great personal risk

This is first rate work by a commercial shark diving operator who has lead the industry over the years.