4 great white sharks battling for dominance and making eye contact with divers at Guadalupe Island – Captain's Log – August 2, 2010

It has been the perfect way to open our great white shark season at Guadalupe. Sunny skies, warm air, light winds, calm seas and good sharking. Today was our third day for this trip in the cages, The first shark today could be seen near the surface before anyone stepped foot into a cage, as well as number 2 only a short time later.  For around 40 minutes we had two nice sized males, around 12-14 ft, circling the cages and eye-balling us curiously, one obviously the more dominant staying higher up while the smaller kept a respectable distance below. Then suddenly another appeared, and moments later the other divemaster in the cage opposite me signaled me, 4 sharks! I’ve seen 4 sharks at time from the cages before, but I think today was the first time I’ve seen all 4 sharks seemingly battling for dominance and in doing so all 4 behaving extremely bold towards the cages.
They were all making eye-level passes, or approaching the cages from above and below, and keeping everyones head on a swivel.  9 times out of 10 when I feel one approaching from outside my line of vision, he’s gonna be there. It is quite impossible to describe with words the feelings I get during dives like these with so many of these beautifully animals circling, and often making eye contact from a very short distance away. When those blue eyes (yes they have blue eyes!) meet yours and you feel them sizing you up, it sends a jolt of adrenaline through you that just feels primal.
When you see them coming towards you from 100 ft away, in the beautiful clear blue water, with their “joker smile” aimed directly at YOU, it sends a shiver up your spine and you find yourself willing them to keep coming, keep swimming towards me, because you want that amazing rush that only a close encounter with a white shark can provide. After my dives are over and I strip off my wetsuit, I usually need to slump over somewhere with the totally content, drained feeling that one gets from an adrenaline high.
Besides for all the intense excitement, we also had some simply beautiful views as a sealion flashed through the blue water, dancing between the sharks, eyeing the cages and people inside, and parting the polarized schools of fish as it showed off it’s agility. You could almost hear it’s thoughts as it swam circles only a couple meters from the noses of the white sharks, “you can’t touch this!”.
One more day in the cages tomorrow, but already it has been one that I will always remember.
Captain Gordon Kipp
Surface conditions: Skies clear, air temp 25C-28C, winds light, seas calm Diving conditions: Water temp 17C, visibility 100-150ft, mild current

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