White Sharks Galore

October 30, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I traveled to Guadalupe, Mexico this fall for a fantastic expedition on the Nautilus Belle Amie to see one of the largest populations of great white sharks. We were treated to perfect weather and multiple sharks each day. The boat runs a very professional excursion out of Ensenada to the Island of Guadalupe. We spent 3 days with these wonderful animals watching them circling our cages. The boat is well equipped for this trip with 5 separate cages. There were 3 deep cages at 30 feet and 2 surface cages on the stern. I spent 5-6 hours each day in the water from sunrise until sunset. The rotating schedule allowed for very flexible shifts between shallow and deep encounters. 

The picture above was from 6:45 am our first morning. We were enjoying coffee and getting ready to make our first entrance into the 72 degree, vividly blue water when this shark breached and gave us a spectacular welcome. Down below the surface there were 5 sharks circling the cages as we made our first encounters with these large swimming predators. The sharks were more curious than ferocious and often circled the cages with interest. It was very easy to establish eye contact at close range.

The surface cages allowed close observation of white sharks in action. They have incredible speed and are exceedingly well camouflaged for their environment. The grey color on their dorsal side keeps the sharks hidden until they are very close. These sharks are very crafty and can easily sneak up from any angle. Photographing them requires some vigilance as they seem to work in teams to catch you off guard. It's best not to hang too far out of the cage! The most breath taking experience on this trip occurred at the surface. The picture below was from the first morning in a surface cage on the starboard side. This shark was incredibly strong and relentless. It was truly memorable to witness an animal this large from only 10 feet way.

The picture below is courtesy of Nicole Young. As you can see, the sharks can get quite close. By the way, that's me in the corner with the camera. Some of the photos were taken with a 15mm fisheye to allow close working distances.

 

I will be posting video from this trip sometime in the near future. These animals are very graceful and athletic. Video captures their movement in a way that is hard to see by still photography alone.


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