Adopted by a shark…

Location: Isla Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico
Day 1
Thar’ she blows! After departing Ensenada and waking to a beautifully calm transit the ocean was suddenly boiling with life. Sperm Whales as far at the eye could see. We pulled back the engines and just drifted amongst the lazily swimming whales. We could not have engaged the engines if we had wanted to, the whales were all around us. As they traveled in pairs slowly to the south, all the guests and crew were in awe of the amazing sight. We guessed that there were about 200 individuals in the pod as there were blows from horizon to horizon. What an awesome sight! Once again on coarse to Guadalupe, everyone enjoyed the calm seas and colourful sunset. After dark, we arrived at the island and set up for the early morning’s diving.
Day 2
Overnight, the sea-state deteriorated considerably. We woke to high swells and strong winds in the normally calm protected bay. Welcome to Guadalupe! Being too rough to submerge the cages, we opted for surface diving only while we decided our next move. Mid morning, we pulled up anchor and looked for some shelter behind the northern point of the bay. Although the conditions were rough, it did nothing to dampen the spirit of the group. We launched the cages and sent the four person cage down. Everyone got at least one ride in the submersible cage. One small male shark came in to investigate periodically throughout the day. Near sunset, the sea state had built beyond the fun factor and we pulled the cages out of the water. Moving back to our southern location, only the surface cages were left in the water and eager to see sharks, a group of divers jumped into the cages to get a final glimpse of a shark before all light failed. Sure enough, the same shark came around again for the last hour of light. After the last diver climbed out of the cage, we served up a crab feast on deck. It was a tough day‚s diving and everyone went to bed dreaming of the calm seas that were to greet us in the morning.
Day 3
Dues were paid the day before but today we got our reward. Waking to a much flatter sea and calmed winds, the day looked promising.  On schedule, the cages were opened and the submersibles went down. The back deck was buzzing with talk of the first shark of the day. Peering into the deep blue of the early morning light, she materialized from the depths. A huge female had come in to check out the cages. It was Lavonne, the large female that was named last week. Beautiful, perfect and possessive. Right away, she adopted the two cages as her own. Any other shark that came near, she chased after them until they left. All day, every dive, as soon as the cages hit their diving depth, Lavonne came up from under the boat and began her routine over again, passing within inches of the cages with every circuit. Stobes flashed in search of the perfect photograph. As the divers came out of the water, each one had a personal story to tell of how this 17‚ Great White Shark looked right at them and they looked her back and saw the blue of her eye. Near midday two California Sea Lions arrived from the beach and started twisting and twirling around the cages. They ganged up on Lavonne and ended up biting her on the tail until she left. Watching how agile the Sea Lions were and how confidently they swam around such a big shark was impressive. Predator and prey played „cat and mouse‰ throughout the afternoon. The two Sea Lions eventually became board with their game and left the shark to her cages. During the last couple dives of the day, Shredder came in to make his token appearance. He made a few passes around the cages till Lavonne had managed to push him away too. As the light levels failed us, the dive day came to a close. During Happy Hour, the Shark ID was very simple. After dinner, Dr. Mauricio Hoyos gave a talk about his research with the White Sharks and the Beaked Whales of Guadalupe. Everyone turned in thinking of the big beautiful shark that circled under the boat awaiting the next morning‚s dive.
Day 4
An even better day awaited us. As we all awoke, it felt as if we were tied alongside a dock it was so still. The water was like a mirror and the fog had filled in the bay creating a very low ceiling. It gave the morning an ominous feeling, like Great White Sharks could be found in these waters. Eager to get back in the water, the submerged cages went down full of divers and as if she had been waiting all night for the cages to come back down, up from the depths came Lavonne.  Once again she came right up to the cages, posing for photographs and flashing her stunning smile. A couple of other sharks came in as well, vying for time in the spotlight. Kimel, another very large female, came in for a while, making a few extremely close passes. Shredder showed his face for a few shots too. Once again, a Sea Lion came in to play with the sharks. While the sea lion lounged on the surface, all the divers secretly were rooting for the shark to take a vertical run and attack. Lavonne swam straight up toward the sea lion, but she gave no real effort to go after him. With the visibility over 100‚ the sharks have no element of surprise working in their favor and once a seal or sea lion has seen the shark, they can easily outmanoeuvre and avoid an attack.  This went on till lunch time when the sea lion went to bother some other sharks. Throughout the day, the action was constant, with either of the large female sharks patrolling the area below the Nautilus. Sadly, the dive day had to come to a close. All the gear was hauled on board and the bow was pointed toward home. This trip offered some great opportunities for photography and video. Everyone eagerly shared their photos on the ships computer while enjoying a nice transit and a great roasted chicken dinner.

By Nautilus Staff

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

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