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

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