Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Great White Shark Diver 2012 - Joanne Faulkner

Some people love sharks and some people are willing to travel quite a ways to see them. Newly minted Shark Diver Joanne Faulkner is one of those people, and yes, Joanne, we'll have you join us anytime!

All my life I have wanted to dive with great whites. My Dad took me to see Jaws when I was about 10 years old – maybe he thought it would be fun to scare the kids? 

Well, I loved it, couldn’t get enough of sharks after that.


So to be fortunate enough to actually get to go on a trip with Shark Diver was the opportunity of a lifetime. And it was really really amazing.

I had not been able to convince anyone I knew to come with me, so I went on my own. It didn’t matter though, there were several others on the boat who also came on their own. We also had a family of 4, plus a couple (who turned out to be avid travelers and divers, with many entertaining stories to tell).

OK, early on the first morning (after a rocking and rolling 20 hours on the open ocean to get there), my new dive partner and I were standing on the back deck, no one else around (they were all either still in bed, or having breakfast inside, or getting ready to dive).  I was trying on my wetsuit for the first time, which was dry – and I was dry – so this was not an easy task. As I was bent over wrestling with the leg of the suit, a great white shark breached clear out of the water, and splashed back into the water. I was about 2 feet from the railing, and I saw it's belly!!!!!  

We had no time to be scared, it was about a second or two at most. With the colour drained from his face, my dive partner looked at me, walked into the center of the deck, and said quietly, "holy #$%&#! we're all gonna die." The poor guy had come to Guadalupe Island to get over his fear of great white sharks… so, not a good way to start! He was convinced we were about to be eaten. But then he started to joke about it, saying that pretty much nothing else could top this experience of seeing a great white jump out of the water right in front of us. And it’s true. I will always remember that split second, putting me into the realm of a very minimal group of people in the world who have ever witnessed a great white shark breach.

We were grouped in pods of 4 for our dive rotations, which went hourly – this meant we had on average 5 hours a day in the water. Ample time to see white sharks! (and get very pruney fingers soaking in water all that time)  There was a half hour break (no divers in the water) at noon for lunch. The cages went in the water at 7am, and basically they let us go in until 5pm or 6pm or whenever we were all too exhausted to get back in the cage.  In our initial trip information from Patric, it said that some people skip their rotations and others could get extra cage time – I wondered why people would travel all that way and just stay on the deck! But experiencing it was very tiring! And yes, I did end up skipping at least one rotation, and then on the last day I didn’t do the last couple of hours that were an open rotation. I could hardly pull myself out of the water towards the end of each day; I was completely drained, but in a great ‘once in a lifetime’ way!

The crew worked their butts off making sure each of us had the perfect trip. We were safe at all times. We ate enormous amounts of food (which was fantastic). Some of us had food allergies or sensitivities, and chef Mark made sure to cook individual meals for those folks (including me, no wheat and no meat). Although I must admit I had a small piece of the raspberry glazed Cornish game hen served one evening, and it was delicious.  Most of us went to our lower-deck bunks around 8pm each night because we could hardly keep our eyes open by then. And surprisingly, there was no drinking at all. Well, I think a couple people had a few, but remember, we were on the ocean and the boat never stopped rocking. Our stomachs were often feeling a little woozy at times, but most of us were good at re-balancing ourselves by looking at the horizon (this little tip worked well for me). However, I gave up trying to shave my legs on day 2, because I kept bumping against the shower wall as the boat tipped from side to side. 

We saw 9 great whites over the 3 dive days, 2 of which were ‘new’ to divemaster Martin – they had not previously been identified. Being September, the female sharks are not (usually) in Guadalupe, but we did see one – the rest were males. They are nothing like in the movies and on tv – these sharks were calm, docile, just slowly cruising by our cages, sometimes a little closer than anticipated, but I never felt scared! One of them came so close to me I stopped breathing in my regulator and couldn’t even take a photo. I was mesmerized by every tiny detail I could see of its skin, and eyeball (yes, it was that close!) 

Having a great white shark look you in the eye is what the word awesome was really meant for. I was in a true state of awe, for sure! It’s difficult to describe the feeling of getting to do the one thing that has always been on my bucket list. Long before anyone called it a bucket list. As a kid, I thought it was just always going to be a dream. Going on this trip was exhilarating and I have so many adventurous stories and memories – and it’s kind of nice to have some bragging rights once in a while too. J  But it doesn’t have to be a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip … I’m already planning my next trip to Isla Guadalupe.

Cheers,

Joanne Faulkner - Official Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Monday, September 24, 2012

2012 Isla Guadalupe White Shark Trip Reports


Aug 26 -31, 2012 Isla Guadalupe Trip Report 

Mark Denstedt is a return Shark Diver and now part of our shark diving clan. We plan on getting him face to face with Tigers in the Bahamas next;)

The sharp slap of small ocean swells against the hull of the Horizon crack the night air. The loud rumble of the engines begin to slow into a deep throated purr. The inky black of night slowly gives in to the small slivers of sunlight. And suddenly there it is!

From out of the gloom, the dark silhouette of Isla Guadalupe fades into view from it's shroud of mist.

It's around 5:30am and I'm standing in my favorite spot aboard the Horizon at this time, the bow. I can never get enough of the stunning sunrises out here away from the din of civilization. There before me is the shape of Isla Guadalupe, my second time out here with Sharkdiver and the Horizon. And it's every bit as awe inspiring as it was the first time. Even now I have goosebumps thinking about it.

As the boat secures itself and both crew and aspiring shark divers begin to stir,and  from out of no where it hits you! There it is!! The reason you've travelled across 200 miles of ocean and it's the most beautiful thing you've experienced so far. The smell of Chef Mark's cooking!

Ok, ok, maybe that's not the reason for doing this but it's a damn close second if you ask me.

Obviously the real reason is seeing Great White Sharks doing what they do up close and personal. And boy did we get that on this trip. Day 1 there was a total of 14 white sharks spotted and identified by the end of the dive rotations for the day. At one point there 6 within viewing range of the cages. Already this trip has easily surpassed my first time out in 2010. In between rotations we had a full White Shark breach about 3 feet off the port side directly in front of one heck of a startled diver struggling to pull on his wet suit! We had a couple of the local seals come out and play around the cages for the entire day with the smaller of the two very curious about the cages and us. So curious in fact that he wound up pretty much in the cage! He poked me several times from behind with his nose startling me each and every time. He did the same thing to Richard a few times on his dives. Maybe it was because we're Canadian.

The second and third days were more quiet as far as the shark spotting went but the seals were back entertaining us and a couple of dolphins cruised by for a couple of minutes on Day 2. And we did see another 4 White Sharks.

Day 3 no seals but another 3 White Sharks were spotted with one being a rather large female. When she cruised our cage several times she was breath taking in her mass and girth. Myself, Trent and Matt just looked at each other wide eyed shaking our heads in wonder from the confines of our cage. And there was yet another full White Shark breach this time about 200 yards away but every bit as amazing as the first!

All in all I think we saw somewhere in the range of 20 sharks over the 3 days, I'm sure Martin has the exact number spotted. In any case this being my second trip out here it definitely one upped the last trip! I'm still unable to convey with words just how incredible it is to see a White Shark swimming less than six inches away from you, or the feeling I get when one makes eye contact with it's big beautiful blue eyes. It's at once a little frightening, a lot of exciting and a lot of goosebump raising. I don't know that I'll ever not be completely overwhelmed by the experience. It's kind of humbling and man, that burst of adrenaline you get when a Great White Shark seems to just materialize from out of no where is nothing short of incredible! I can not recommend this trip and Shark Diver enough. Yes there are other companies that do this trip, but at the same time there isn't. There is only Shark Diver.

Once again I extend my thanks to Patric, the crew of the Horizon; Martin,Carey,Dan,Mark,Carolyn,Nick,Kyle and Stephan, and most importantly the incredible group of divers that allowed me to share in their experiences out there. Once again I've made some new friends from this trip.

Last nite after one last dinner with Jay, Leo and my fellow Team Canada friends I walked back out to H&M Landing to watch the Horizon leave for the start of a new adventure with a new batch of divers. A couple of tears filled my eyes and a lump caught in my throat as I watched her head out. I was sad that once again my journey has come to an end but excited for the people aboard getting to experience the beauty and excitement of everything this trip has to offer.

Farewell Horizon, see you again in a couple of years,

Mark Denstedt

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rocking The Boat at Isla Guadalupe - Shark Diving 2012

When we got the call from Ed DeVito this year we knew we had a true shark fan on the other end of the line...and a very busy one to boot.

As it turns out Ed is a businessman with not a lot of time to spare (we know the type) and for a while there it seemed that Ed was not going to make this season. Fortunately for us he did and was treated to the seasonal shark train at Isla Guadalupe which he caught on tape.

Enjoy, and thanks Ed!

  Tiburon Blanco (White Shark) - Isla de Guadalupe 2012 from Edward DeVito on Vimeo.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Tiger Beach, Bahamas 2012 - Take Out for Tigers

Last week Scotty Gray from the venerable and always fun M/V Kate and Blue Iguana Charters entertained a few of our divers at Tiger Beach, Bahamas.

As many of you know it's an exciting dive site and one of our go-to sites for the many film and television productions we do each year with the help of the crew from the Kate (seriously these guys are the best).

One of the Tigers decided to try and take her dinner Take Out (that bait tube is 4 feet long). You never really know what or who you'll get at Tiger Beach when you dive there looking for big sharks, which makes this dive site one of our favorites on the planet.

Like a puppy with a chew-toy.

Let's go shark diving!

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bo Cumbo Makes a Shark Diving Video - Guadalupe 2012

Bo Cumbo is a newly minted Shark Diver having recently come back from an epic white shark diving week with Shark Diver at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

Oh, and he also made an amazing shark diving video of his encounters - thanks mate:

 

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Wells Fargo, Are You Freakin' Kidding Me?

About a year ago we decided to part ways with Wells Fargo Bank after a ten year banking business relationship.

It's wasn't us as the saying goes, it was very much Wells Fargo.

I came to realize that Wells Fargo looked at me and my thriving commercial shark diving business the way a gut parasite worms its way into a host and less as a business partner that was there to actually help me with my ongoing finances.

Spend a minute and really picture the gut parasite, in case you need a visual aid there's one here that aptly covers my metaphor (NSFW).

Wells Fargo propaganda is very good, but after the 200th "mystery charge," those $5-20 miscellaneous charges that appear on accounts every single month, ones that bankers apologize for effusively and then remove with a wry smile, you get the feeling that Wells Fargo has some institutional problems.

Additionally, never sign up for Wells Fargo credit card processing services. If you have ever tried to buy a new car and met the middle aged, greasy, slick, worn suit wearing guy who made you and your entire family feel like they needed a bath after the encounter, that's pretty much our experience letting Wells Fargo get their calloused hands on our main line finances.

Our little shark diving company was overcharge $15,000 in "unexplained fees" in that first and only year with Wells Credit Card Processing. We have since moved to a great little processing company that charges a flat 2.0% rate and have a loyalty to them that is completely sacrosanct.

We decided to make the move from Wells to a nice little Community Bank - but did our research first.

The first thing you need to become aware of are Zombie Accounts. A back end way large banks like Wells Fargo keep your bank accounts very much alive in the hopes that recurring charges like online bill pay for cable will re-activate your dead account at Wells Fargo causing you to rack up fees with the bank long after you have left.

We were prepared for this when we sat down to untangle our web of accounts with a Wells banker which took over an hour. We also requested that Wells Fargo CLOSE all our accounts, citing Zombie Banking and providing articles to that effect to impress upon them. We thought we were being smart consumers and not banking victims.

Good luck. Our banker smiled, told us what we wanted to hear, and we left.

I am here to testify that Zombie Banking is alive and well at Wells Fargo. Seems this bank loves it's customers so much they never, ever, want to see you go and have recalled us twice now months later with rounds of "mystery charges" to bank accounts that never really closed.

It's not incompetence, I wish it was.

This is programmed theft. This is the way Wells Fargo sees customers. As the great showman PT Barnum once said, "There's a sucker born every minute," Wells Fargo has adopted that motto and created an entire empire based on "taking" money from their customers as a way of doing business.

Sure it's $5 here and there, the occasional $20, assaying a .05% additional processing fee on credit cards, but it adds up to tens of billions each and every year and you are the sucker.

We're still fighting the good fight with our Zombie Accounts. This last week a mystery $100 Fed Ex charge appeared on one of our so called dead accounts, 10 months later, and we walked back into our local branch to once again do battle with the bank that loves too much.

It would be o.k if they served fresh baked goods and mediocre coffee, but instead I have to watch Wells Fargo Drones go about their minimum wage jobs under harsh fluorescent lighting armed with pasted on rictus smiles, shuffling from one part of the bank to the other...much like real Zombies.

Frankly I am over it and if you currently bank with Wells Fargo, maybe you should be over it too.

As for the folks from Wells?

I'll see you folks again in two months. It's always good to know that even if the world ended with a fiery meteor the size of Kansas that blasted us all into space, somewhere in that deep dark vacuum Wells Fargo staff would be hard at work on my dead bank accounts trying to resurrect another $60-200 from them.

Cheers,

Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
415.235.9410

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Guadalupe White Shark Diving Trip Report August 16-21, 2012

“Are you scared?” 

These three words were almost universally spoken to me when I told people that I was about to undertake on a White Shark diving trip. It was all part of my forty by forty, a bastardized version of the bucket list that an ex girlfriend had introduced me to. It is a list of forty things I would like to do by the time I am forty, White Shark diving was number one on that list. 

I remember researching the different shark diving operators and my head quickly began swimming from the different types of boats and services offered. When I stumbled upon SharkDiver I really liked what I read, especially the part about leaving from San Diego and not having to travel through Mexico by bus. Speaking to Patric just proved that I was making the right decision. His enthusiasm and eagerness to answer any and all of my questions put me right at ease. Not a slick talking salesmen like some of those other operations, Patric really seemed to exude a passion through the phone of a love for sharks and the people just crazy enough to want to dive with them. I remember booking the trip in February and hearing Patric exclaim over the phone, “Congratulations, you are going shark diving.” The months flew by and before I knew it my trip was upon me; packing up and heading to San Diego the excitement had yet to hit me. 

 Sharks became my obsession early on in life. The Scholastic book clubs during my formative years always offered those books on sharks that I would readily snatch up. As the years passed by, my shark collection grew to figurines, statues and a small library of shark related books. Now, here I was on the precipice of coming face to face with this Apex predator and fulfilling a lifelong dream.  When I landed in San Diego, the day before I was to set out on the boat, I could feel the excitement slowly building.


The worst part about this whole ordeal was the waiting. I befriended a group of fellow shark divers who were staying in my hotel and we agonized together over our nine pm call time to the boat. The minutes slowly ticked by and we kept wondering if we could head over to the landing a little bit earlier. Finally, we grabbed out luggage and headed over to the Horizon. There we were greeted by an assortment of other people who were just as excited as we were to get this trip underway.

Stepping onto the Horizon for the first time, one but can’t help but notice the two shark cages perched upon the aft deck. This was it, this was where we would spend the next few days observing one of the most formidable creatures in the ocean. Most people would be scared, or filled with some kind of trepidation, not I. The feelings of excitement that had yet to wash over me began to take root. I wanted the engines to start that very moment and get me to Isla Guadalupe, but once again I had to wait.
The crew were affable and ready to answer any question we may have about our upcoming trip. In a matter of moments all of the passengers on board had met one another and were sharing stories of how we got to where we were currently. After Martin and Captain Spencer briefed us on safety precautions and the itinerary, we were off to bed with visions of Whites dancing in our heads.

The next day was a lot more waiting, yet there were a few wonderful experiences that awaited us. We happened upon several pods of dolphins that seemed to enjoy playing chicken with the oncoming bow of the Horizon. The dolphins jumped and squawked as they kept us company for several miles. The photo opportunities were plentiful and it seemed as if they wanted to make sure that we got their good side, lounging and playfully following our wake. Once the dolphins left, we went back to our lounging about on deck.

That evening the display of stars was unrivaled. Coming from New Jersey, the light pollution is something akin to being able to land a small air force on any parcel of acreage. Out here in the open ocean the stars shone over the water in all of their brilliance. Satellites and shooting stars were the order of the evening with the armchair astronomers among us looking to identify the constellations. I literally laid on the top deck for an hour watching the display above in the heavens. After a hot shower below it was time to turn in for the night in preparation for the next day and my first shark dive.

Waking up every few hours like a child awaiting the booty Santa left from Christmas Eve, the time couldn’t go fast enough. Eventually, I drifted off into a restful sleep and woke to the sound of the crew readying our cages for the morning dives. Most everyone was up and about at a time usually reserved for milkmen and farmers, these adults were ready to dive with the sharks. After another wonderful breakfast provided by Mark and Caitlin, it was time to head into the cages.

As luck would have it, I was in the first group to head into the cages, and I also was the first in my team to head down the steps. Stepping down the rungs, it was as if I was unwrapping my present in the form of a twelve foot one and a half ton puppy. I situated myself quickly on the cage bottom and scanned the darkened horizon for sharks.

They say that everyone remembers their first time, and this was no exception. What appeared to be a small car was driving in from the darkness and heading at a leisurely pace towards the cage. As the sunlight began to illuminate some of the shadows it was clear that this was no small car, this was our first White of the day. To try and put into words what this feeling is like is to do an injustice to the experience. If you are here, diving aboard the Horizon, there is a reason; you love sharks. For me, someone who has been a self professed shark nerd for all of my thirty-eight years, I was in absolute heaven. The smile that spread across my face almost caused me to lose my regulator. Needless to say, this was one of the best experiences in my life. 

We spotted a total of twelve sharks on our dive today, with one being a new kid on the block. There were stretches where you would see nothing for minutes only to be snapped back to attention by a flurry of underwater activity when the sharks decided to come in and play. The visibility and proximity of the sharks afforded even the most amateur of photographers (namely myself) the opportunity for several incredible photo opportunities. At the end of the day, the staff helped us out of the cages and back aboard to sit down for another wonderful meal. The best part of all this, we get to do it all again tomorrow. After a great meal and four dives, this writer is ready for bed.

Day 2
I am not by any stretch of the imagination a morning person, yet I have found myself up before sunrise both days. Today I was awarded with a magnificent Isla Guadalupe sunrise which filled up a bunch of space on my camera’s memory card. Breakfast soon followed which was a delicious mix of eggs, bacon and Chef Mark’s banana pancakes which were out of this world. The way this day of diving worked out was that my diving group had a later dive time, and the seven o’clock dive time was an open rotation. I decided that I would get in and see what was going on this early in the morning. This dive was rather peaceful, with The Russian and a new shark that were patrolling quietly. It seemed as if these sharks were like the divers, tired and still filled with a bit of morning malaise. After a few languid passes they both disappeared, the Russian’s lone appearance for the day. Our dives for the rest of the day had great visibility and a few sharks who were curious as to what was going on near the cages. I was able to get in five dives on day two and each one was unique in its own way. 

            Topside, we shared stories of the day as we waited for dinner. I must tell you that most of us were just as excited for dinner as we were for our cage diving by the end of the trip. Mark and Caitlin kept the small kitchen humming and we were never at a want for good food or drink. Our dinner for the evening was a pork tenderloin with corn, rice and spinach salad. A few of us ventured outside and dined al fresco as we stared at the sea lions along the beach.

Day 3

            There was no sunrise on day three. The morning was overcast and a gloom hung over the divers and the weather. We were saddened that today was our last at Isla Guadalupe and the weather was not doing anything to lighten our spirits. My dive group had the first rotation this morning so it meant that if I hopped in for the open  dive I would be in for two hours. Marks’ breakfast was enough to keep me topside as some brave souls ventured down into the dark and what I could only assume was cold water. I passed on my rotation since the weather had now started to mist. My group had a few shark sightings and I readied myself for my turn in the rotation. 

            Suiting up, I was a bit disappointed that it was a little darker and cooler than it had been yesterday. Perhaps the sharks had already tired of us and called upon their weather Gods to make us go away. This intrepid group of divers may have been deterred, yet we were damned determined to get our last dive of the day in. I settled in on the outside of the cage and waited for what I thought would be a few dark pictures of a shark or two as I called an end to my trip.

            One of the new sharks that we had spotted was definitely a ham of the bunch. Martin speculated that this new shark was inquisitive as to what the cages were and what was going on in his space.  We spotted him about fifteen minutes into the dive,; diving low and deep underneath the bottom of the boat. As you get further along in your dives, you will notice there are particular habits which each diver picks up in the cages. For example there are a few unique ways that we will observe the sharks from inside the cage. One is the whirling dervish. This move is when you are focused on the shark as he cruises silently along under the boat. You are so certain that he will loop around and come back that you follow what you assume to be his plotted shark course. This friends, is a bad idea. Shark are one thing and one thing only; unpredictable. As you are watching him he will somehow appear right before you in the front of the cage, causing you to spin around like a whirling dervish. There is the crab walk, the cage hang and a few that I am sure you will have fun naming on your own. 

            The water was beginning to lighten a bit and the New Guy was patrolling lazily along under the cages. In the next few minutes, several bait bags and shark attractant (Ground mackerel guts and blood) were added to try and bring our friend to the surface. The shark got the hint and began swimming closer to the surface for some face time with us. 

            I cannot pinpoint exactly which point our shark decided that since it was our last day, he was going to put on a show of all shows for us to remember him by. I just remember him inching closer and closer to the cage, swimming by and staring in as if to say, “Are you ready?” The bait bag was the first thing he decided to investigate. The day before, several bait bags had met there demise at the jaws of these White Sharks. The crew assured us that if the sharks decided to do so, they could have a bait bag treat each time it was thrown out.  The New Guy came up and played with the bite bag, going for it but not really putting his whole heart into it. The cameras fired up and we got some great shots. Happy, I though at least the last day proved to not be as bad I had feared.

            New Guy was not done yet. He decided that after he had grown tiresome of the bait bag, he would come and investigate the boat. The night before I had seen some red splotches on the top of the shark and I asked Captain Spencer what they were. He informed me that many sharks have these marking, whether they are blue, black or red. They are bits of paint that have rubbed off on the sharks boat when he scratches his back along the bottom of the hull. Apparently New Guy had scraped his back against the boat prior and now wanted to see what the rest of this contraption was about. He changed course quickly and headed for the boat.

            I have seen Jaws countless times and consider it sacrilege if I miss an episode of Shark Week, but nothing prepared me for what I was witnessing with my own eyes. The shark was headed for the boat and trying to bite the underside of the hull. I kept the camera focused on him as he did so, hoping that it was only gently tapping the hull and not going to ramming speed. With the maneuverability of a jet fighter he shot back and came in for a second attack which was now aimed at the prop. 

            Getting closer to the prop, he gently nibbled on the prop as well as drive shaft. What the hell was this shark doing? My morning dive had turned into a full on Discovery channel special on shark habits in the wild. The taste of the prop disagreed with his discerning palette and he turned and looked at the cage. Nahh, he wouldn’t.

            At no time in my trip did I feel unsafe in any way, let me stress that the crew was top notch in their focus on passenger safety. Knowing that I had Martin and the rest of the group above gave me a quiet confidence that no matter what this shark decided to do, we would all be sharing stories of the dive, safely later in the day. However, seeing him decided to set straight for the cage gave me a minute’s pause where I thought, this is going to make for one great fish tale.

            The shark rammed into the cage near the bottom base trying to gauge just what exactly was sitting in front of him. Inside the cage we looked at one another, wondering if this shark had just came in and gave us an exploratory bump. Before we could refocus he came in for a second swipe at the cage, only this time he misjudged his girth and got himself in a tight spot.

            When they tell you at Shark Diver that you will get up close and personal with a shark they are not lying. This is as close you can get to a sharks mouth without becoming his lunch or being his dentist. As he came back for another bump he decided that he’d stick his snout into the cage. Being in the corner, I was able to see the underside of his chin and his lovely row of teeth. He shook his head loose from the cage and I am sure they heard the pounding of our hearts all the way back in San Diego. He wasn’t done and he came back in for another swoop at the cage.

            Unfortunately for this shark his special reasoning was a bit off kilter. He thought that he’d be able to fit between the boat’s stern and cage with ease, never thinking for a moment that this area was more than likely a tad bit too small for his enormous girth. It didn’t stop him from performing his acrobatic act with grace and aplomb; ok, actually he did so in a series of frenetic jerks and tail lashings that caused my whole dive group to exhale in unison and think that we might be going for a ride courtesy of this thrashing shark.

            After what seemed like an eternity (most likely a reality of 4 seconds) the shark squeezed through the opening and we were clear once again. A quick trip to the surface to check in with Martin and we were ready to continue our dive. He continued to pose for pictures, the events of the last few minutes calming him a bit. When it was time to head out, I looked around underwater and thanked him for an unbelievable experience that he had provided us. 

            When I got back to land, and rid myself of the sea legs that had served me nicely, I couldn’t believe the experience that I had just had.  As all good raconteurs do, I wanted to share my tales with anyone who was within a five mile radius and I did so with vigor. More than half of the folks that I had met on the trip were staying in the same hotel, so we all decided to meet up later that evening and head to a bar to decompress form the excitement. We laughed and chatted about the amazing trip that SharkDiver had provided us with and also realized that we had formed friendships along the way. Out of sixteen passengers, nine of us gathered that night in the bar feasting on fish tacos and drinking beer.  I’d say that is a very good percentage of happy customers.

            When I arrived home and began reliving the trip through pictures and stories, one friend asked me a question that really made me think. She asked me, “Was the trip everything you had hoped it would be?” Without hesitation I replied that it exceeded my wildest dreams, and that’s not hyperbole. Many times we tend to elevate things in life, whether they be the fish that got away story or the girl or guy. Even if I wanted to try and make this trip better, there would be nothing in my imagination to top it. 
            I would like to thank the whole M/V Horizon crew for their tireless dedication in making our trip the most pleasurable it could be. Everyone was a consummate professional and their knowledge and helpfulness made for an experience of a lifetime. Someday in the future I will head back to Isla Guadalupe and a new cadre of friends both above, and below the water will great me.

Just an FYI, new guy wasn’t entirely new. He was Bullseye, a shark who hadn’t been seen in Isla Guadalupe for three years. Just proving once again that if anything, these sharks are unpredictable.


Shark Diver,

Jason Ordini 2012
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Great White Sharks still flying at Isla Guadalupe!


Clear water and lots of sharks
The trip started out with an exceptionally smooth crossing and we were greeted by an awesome sunrise to start our shark diving day.

Within the first 2 hours we already had 7 different sharks, with the big boys Bruce, Bite Face and Jaques all making an appearance.

At 10 am we had our first breach and then the action just got better. By the time we pulled out the cages, we saw between 16 and 20 different sharks!

The action didn't stop there.

While relaxing in the bow area we got to witness another full breach and just to complete the perfect day, while enjoying the Rib eye dinner, another full breach right next to the galley window.

Maybe the sharks like Rib eye as well. This was the second breach during dinner this season.

The second day started with, what else, another breach off the bow and a little later, one by our stern. The action continued all day, with fewer sharks appearing, but staying around the cages all day long.

They really put on a show!
On our last day, it continued the way the second day ended. Sharks passing close to the cages until it was time for us to leave and head back to San Diego.

Another smooth crossing and now we are arriving back in San Diego. What a perfect trip!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
Dive Operations Manager
Horizon Charters
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.