The early bird gets the sharks!

Location: Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
Day 1
After a simple transit across the border and making it to the boat, everyone tucked in for the night as the Nautilus Explorer pulled away from the dock. Waking up in the morning, we were greeted by a large pod of Bottle-nosed dolphins. Jumping and playing in the bow wake, the dolphins made it look so easy.  This was a good omen. It was a great way to start the day.  We had an easy transit south to Guadalupe while we learned about cage diving and how to do Shark ID.  Around 6 pm we got out first glimpse of the island. Rising out of the sea, the red cliffs greeted us and as we pulled in behind the island, the seas went flat. A good night‚s sleep was had by all as they dreamed of their first dive with the White Sharks of Guadalupe Island.
Day 2
Cages opened at 0630 this morning and there was a crowd of excited guests. Everyone, well almost everyone, had jumped out of bed to be first in the water. Being a light trip, there was room for nearly all the divers in the cages and they were greatly rewarded for rising so early. Right away, three sharks came up to check out the divers.  At 0800, the submersible cages were sent down and for a glimpse from the deep. For the next few hours, the sharks were very curious about the divers, allowing for great photo opportunities. Topside, the sun was shining, but there was a bit of a swell running. This caused the cages to be a bit bouncy at depth, but this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the divers.  We even saw a breach from underwater. Only Pedro saw it from the surface. Because of the swell, the visibility was only 50-60‚.  By the end of the day, we had seen at least four different sharks. In the evening, a fabulous crab dinner was served on the top deck by moonlight. It was followed by a lively Happy Birthday to David who received hugs from everyone on the boat.
Day 3
Overnight, the sea state had calmed considerably allowing the cages to sit calmly on the surface and at depth.  As before, the first group in the water was rewarded for rising before the sun and jumping in the water. Once again, the cages were full and by 0800, we were watching White Sharks make pass after pass circling the submersible cages. The group this week consisted of many non-divers who dived in the transom cages.  As an experiment, we kept the submersible cages at the surface for a couple of hours mid-day.  This worked out great as the sharks came right up to the surface and everyone got a show as the sharks swam around and between all four cages. There was even another breach just off the side of the boat once again, Pedro was the only one looking in the correct direction – the rest of us saw the splash. With full sunlight and calm seas, the viz was back up to the typical 120‚ we had grown accustomed to.  By the end of the day, we had identified 8 different sharks that had visited with us. With big smiles all around, it was a good shark day. Before dinner, everyone participated in a 50/50 draw to raise funds to promote conservation and research at Guadalupe Island and Socorro Islands. After dinner, Dr. Mauricio Hoyos gave his talk, teaching us about the biology and behaviour of the White Sharks.
Day 4
The early bird today did not get the worm. Waking to an overcast sky, the sharks did not get their typical jump on the day. It just took a little while to get the party started, but by 0900 it was in full swing. The reports from the submersible cages got everyone excited and we soon had full cages again.  Today, two sharks, Curley the female with a missing gill cover, and Tar-Face the male with a black birthmark on his face, both decided that the cages were their territory.  Although several different sharks came and went throughout the day the two faithful sharks stayed with us all day. Every dive today had multiple shark sightings.  Even though the sky was clouded over, the viz was still at least 100‚ throughout the day.  Eager to get in as much diving as possible, the submersible cages went up and down all day.  In the early afternoon, we were the only boat in the bay. This may have been the reason that the lasts dive of the day was rather intense.  At one point we had five sharks around the cages.  One in particular was very curious.  He was covered with black splotches and was not in the ID book and will be named by the photographer who donates the best photos.  Upon raising the cages to the surface for the last time, the sharks came up to the surface as well. We finally had to pull the last divers out of the cages at 1700.  As one final salute, Enrique from the galley reported that he saw another breach just outside the galley window. With great stories, photos, and smiles we said good bye to Guadalupe Island. It has been a great trip, full of sharks and good friends.
Jessie ‘shark chick’
Weather: Winds light to moderate, sea state mostly calm with a low swell on day 1, skies mostly clear with overcast conditions and showers on day 3, air temp 74-80f, water temp 74f surface, 69-70f at 35 ft, visibility 50-120′

By Nautilus Staff

Updates, exciting information and other news from the staff at Nautilus Liveaboards.

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