It's great to be chased by a white shark!!

Location: Shark Bay, Guadalupe Island, Baja California, Mexico
Well, our 2008 great white shark season is almost over and we are all mildly depressed by that.  It’s been a fabulous season with excellent sharking after a bit of a stressful startup when the Mexican Authorities quite rightly changed the regulations and prohibited chumming and the use of tuna throw-lines.  Our first trips of the season were all prefaced by telling our guests that (a) the rules had changed and we wouldn’t be using tuna throw-lines anymore and (b) if they weren’t completely happy with the “new” experience by the end of the trip, I would personally do whatever it takes to make each and every guest happy.  Every single person on all 12 of our trips this season was very happy and appears to have had a “great” to “excellent” to “incredible” time depending on the natural enthusiasm of that person).  Quite unexpectedly, it turns out that the biggest change wasn’t the tuna throw-lines,  it was the operation of our new “true” submersible shark cage which absolutely blasted through and way beyond our wildest expectations.  Once we got everything sorted out, we kept that cage humming up and down every 35 minutes in virtually all weather conditions from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. And boy did we see a lot of sharks from the submersible cage.   The analogy is pretty clear in retrospect. Instead of chumming and baiting and trying to get the great white sharks to swim up to the surface immediately behind the boat, the experience is far more reliable, interesting and natural if we descend down into their world.  Sightings at depth were pretty constant with white sharks often coming in very close to the cage and even bumping and nudging it.  The season record was 6 sharks swimming around the submersible cage at one time!!   With 5 shark cages deployed, we have been able to offer virtually unlimited time in the cages but only having 1 submersible cage did limit our divers to 5 or 6 sub dives on each trip.  The answer is obvious to me  -next season we will be deploying 2 or 3 submersible cages with almost unlimited dive time for all!!   So why is it great to be chased by a white shark??   I have a sharp recollection of standing on the upper deck of the Nautilus and watching a big dorsal fin cutting through the water right behind our inflatable loaded with guests on a shoreline expedition.  I could hear the theme music from Jaws in the background.  On any other boat, the crew and guests would have been freaking out that an enormous great white shark was stalking them.  Not so on our boat!!  Instead it was “GREAT”, “GET YOUR CAMERA”, ” CAN YOU GET CLOSER”..  In fact Devin, the skiff operator, ended up playing head-on “chicken” with the shark with the great white turning away only at the last possible second,  Devin and the great white then ended up trying to get on each other’s “sterns” and chasing around in a tighter and tighter circle until they were virtually doing donuts. Only on the Nautilus Explorer!!!  Captain Mike
Weather: Beautiful sunny summer weather with flat calm seas and no wind.  Air temperature high 70’s
Water: Water temperature 69 degrees, visibility 100 – 125 feet.

By Nautilus Staff

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