Posted tagged ‘Guadalupe Island’

Return to Guadalupe Island / Cage-Diving with the Big Great Whites

December 25, 2013
Great photo by fellow diver Lars Bell

Great photo by fellow diver Lars Bell

November 17, 2013, about a month ago, I flew across the country to observe and photograph great white sharks at remote Guadalupe Island 220 miles off the Mexican coast.  I had made the trip in September with Daughter Dana and it was a great experienceAt that time of the year, Guadalupe Island attracts the young males who crew member Jimi Partington called “the teenagers.” We had a lot of cage action and many sharks, but I came home without seeing the mammoth adult females and feeling as if I had missed something. Jimi had told me they come to Guadalupe in November.  Dana was unable to go due to work, so I made the trip back solo. 

I grew up extremely interested in great whites, and had driven to Montauk to see the head of the great white caught by Frank Mundus off Montauk Point in 1986 which at the time was the largest fish of any kind caught on rod and reel.  For the uninitiated, Mundus was an eccentric shark charter boat Captain upon whom Robert Shaw’s Quint character was based in Jaws.  The shark’s head was mounted over the bar in a little restaurant at the Marina.  I sat for several hours, drinking beers and looking up at that head in complete wonder.  It was so big, it seemed inconceivable that it was real.  But it was. I decided that I had to see one of these giants from a cage with my own eyes.  I got my wish on this trip and will never forget it.  The photo below shows Mundus with his record-breaking catch.

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 Upon our arrival at Guadalupe Island, the first hour or two were very slow.  Then a very large male came up to test the baitsJust as we were getting excited about some action with a big shark, the male beat a hasty retreatBriefly we were disappointed until the reason for his quick exit became apparent.  An enormous female made her entrance and simultaneously made our trip.  She was around 18 feet in length and well over 4000 lbs.  Think about that.  That’s more than two tons of fish.

For those readers interested in the boat, the accommodations, food, crew and itinerary, I suggest reading my first post on this blog called “Cage-Diving with the Great Whites.”  All of these details are covered in-depth in that piece.  This second trip was identical in all respects except for the sharks encountered For that reason this article will be short on text and long on picturesSeeing the “Big Girls” was the whole point of the trip.

Due to scarring that may have resulted from a fight or from mating, we called her Scarboard.  She was the key to making our trip a success and all the pictures in this article are of herWhen an alpha female is at the surface, all other sharks go down below.  To remain is to challenge, and a challenge will likely result in a fatal attack.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the piece.  If you did, the nicest gift you can give to me is to post a comment at the bottom of the page.  Simply enter your email address (it will not show), post a comment as brief or detailed as you want, and check off the two boxes at the bottom of the page.  Reader feedback is my bread and butter.

To my fellow divers on this trip, please feel free to send me any pictures of yours you really liked.  I can edit the piece, add your shots, and give you credit for the pictures.  I had asked a number of you but only two of you responded.  If you have a great shot, let’s get it out there.

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The striped trigger fish escort the great whites to the island and stay with them a couple weeks. The shark won’t harm them intentionally and the trigger fish clean the sharks hide and teeth, a fully symbiotic relationship.

It is now Christmas Day and the happiest of Holdays to all of you.  May it be a happy and prosperous New Year.

Jud

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Here she comes again.

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Hitting the bait, a large tuna head.

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Scarboard was considerate enough to put on a show
for those who were not in the cage as well.

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The day coming to an end. Doesn’t that water
look peaceful? It isn’t.

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At the cage, more curious than aggressive.

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Mother’s abstracts?

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Guadalupe Sunset

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The sheer size of Scarboard was evident by
the distance between the dorsal fin and the tail.

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Another great shot by Lars Bell

Happy Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve

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Cage-Diving with the Great Whites

October 21, 2013

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