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  • Sea Lions at San Benitos

    San Benitos: A Sea Lion’s Playground

    If I had to describe San Benito’s diving in just a few words, I would say that is is a “sea lion’s playground.”

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  • Trip Recap by Lowell

    Had a wonderful season at Guadalupe. Not many people have the opportunity to come within a foot or two of a Great White shark. Countless shark encounters both above and below the water each trip. We had yellow tail, seals and yellowfin tuna alongside the Whites this year. Something special about this area of the world. We ended the Guadalupe season with large females and surprisingly a good number of males. After departing Guadalupe we turned the bow to Cedros Island, where of guests were able to enjoy and laugh with the sea lions, fur and elephant seals that line the coast of the little dove island. It’s hard not to enjoy your dive with sea lions and seals. The pups would gather together at the surface and stare at the divers while blowing bubbles. Underneath we had the pups doing their acrobatic moves as they twisted and looped through out everyone. Visibility was pristine and the topography of the dive site was filled with rocky pinnacles and low lying kelp and sea grass patches. The next day we headed to San Benitos Island, just off Cedros. Diving conditions were perfect. The sun riding high in the blue sky and…

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  • “Big” and “Cream Puff” visit the Nautilus UnderSea

    Today would have to be the equivalent of a “bluebird” day, underwater, that is. Our second day at Guadalupe is what I would consider to be a “blue water white shark” day. What started out with a bit of an overcast sky soon burned off and made for beautifully sunny and blue water cage diving day from the Nautilus UnderSea. By lunchtime, we had all had a couple rounds of excellent dives with at least six different sharks – at least three males and three females. From the submersible cages, shark activity picked up in the deeper blue, with some great views of large males named “Big” and “Cream Puff” swimming gracefully and deliberately around us, making some very close passes by the cages and offering some fantastic photo opportunities. A few lucky divers were even treated to an exciting show of a fur seal dancing around under the boat and showing off right in front of a shark. As the sun set behind Guadalupe Island in the afternoon, the action did not slow down and all cages were full of divers at the surface taking it all in until the last minute. –DM Maya

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  • It’s that time of the season when the really big female white sharks start showing up at Guadalupe Island. We call them big momma’s.

    For the first 6 weeks or so of the season we see almost exclusively male white sharks. Generally they are a little smaller in size than the females, especially in girth. When a big female appears in front of the cages they are unmistakable and awe inspiring. Their movements are a little more slow, more deliberate, and you can almost feel the dominance and power in their movements and behavior. Today I saw my first big female of the season. In length she was about average, maybe 14 ft, however it was her girth and sheer mass that first indicated to me that she was female. Actually my first impression of her was that she was probably pregnant. At the time we had 2 good sized male whities around the cages who had been circling closely until the bigger female showed up. Then suddenly the males seemed to tone it down a notch, slow down a little and keep a little more distance from the cages. A much larger, dominant shark will generally have that effect on other sharks in the area. Overall today we had at least 5-6 individual sharks, mostly male with the one female. On several dives…

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  • Conservation threats

    The island was part of the route of the Nao de la China, the Spanish galleon. Galleons were the big wooden cargo ships that made the route from China and the Philippines to the New Spain –as it was called Mexico back then. As the trip was very long, the Spaniards brought some goats with them and set them free at the island, so when they’ll made a stop there they can have fresh meat. But the problem was that Isla Guadalupe doesn’t have any big predators, the biggest one is the burrowing owl, there were no threats for the goats and they proliferated (multiplied) by thousands. Other people say that there were not the Spaniards who introduced the goats at Guadalupe, but the seal hunters in the late 18th Century. Along with goats, came the mice and cockroaches, and at the end of 1950s a small group of fishermen came to fish for abalone and lobster, and with them came the cats –manly to hunt the mice, dogs and even donkeys.  Cats are very good predators, very efficient and generalist – that mean that can prey on a lot of different animals on the island, and thus, they are…

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  • Divemaster Report : San Benitos

    Date: Aug 14, 2013 Location: San Benitos Dive 1: 0800 ˆ Peck Rock (north end of East Benitos) Temp: 63F Viz: 90ft Wx: light wind from NW, overcast Seas: 3-4′ nw’ly swell Comments: Good dive, lots of fish life, a few sea lions around. Found a long stretch of fishing long-line and recovered it onboard. Guests enjoyed it but not enough to want a second dive there. Dive 2: 1100 ˆ North point of East Benitos (formerly the Enchanted Forest) Temp: 63F Viz: 90ft Wx: same as above Seas: same Comments: This divesite used to be our most healthy kelp forest. Now there is absolutely no kelp there, or anywhere else around the East Island except for a small patch at the South end. Dive was enjoyed by everyone nonetheless with nice bottom topography and a few sea lions playing with some of the divers. Strong current. Moderate fish life including some amber jacks. Dive 3: 1415 ˆ South end of East Island Temp: 63F Viz: 60-80ft Wx: light breeze,  sunny Seas: calm Comments: Dove off the stern to a small kelp patch. We found a small colony of Guadalupe fur seals who interacted with all the divers. Everyone really…

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  • One of my favorite places on earth to be is sitting on top of a cage suspended 10 metres beneath the surface of the waters surrounding Guadalupe Island.

    Add in a Great White shark staring into my eyes as it passes by only a few meters away easily makes it my number one favorite place to be. This week was my first trip back to Guadalupe after our 8 month season at the Socorro Islands, but it almost feels like I never left. Even when there are no sharks around, the anticipation and feeling of knowing that at any moment you could see the toothy smile of a 4 meter white shark materialize out of the blue is enough to keep my adrenaline flowing. For the past three days we’ve been cage diving at the north east part of Guadalupe, where we have a large bay sheltered from the prevailing north west winds, a large number of Guadalupe fur seals, clear blue water and most importantly a healthy white shark population. This week we spotted around 6 different individual male whities at various times. On our first day we had an afternoon full of intense action, with two males both circling the cages repeatedly and in a tight circle, round and round, on a couple occasions nosing the cage gently. Throughout the remainder of this expedition we enjoyed…

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