Friday, December 18, 2015

Conservation shark diving in Fiji

This is the 4th year Shark Diver is going to Fiji to dive with Bull Sharks at Beqa Shark Reef Marine Reserve. In the last 3 years, we have been diving with more than 70 Bull Sharks at a time, with Black Tip-, White Tip-, Grey Reef-, Nurse- and Lemon-Sharks also being seen on almost every dive. Occasionally we even got a visit from a Tiger Shark.


While I love "my" Great White Sharks, I have to say that it is hard to beat the excitement of what Ron and Valery Taylor called "The best shark dive in the world".


Our partner in Fiji is Beqa Adventure Divers "BAD". BAD is truly an exceptionally GOOD dive operation who was instrumental in creating the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, which is now officially a national marine park and fully protected.

Celebration - BAD Cut from Beqa Adventure Divers on Vimeo.

BAD is so good that the government of Fiji has designated them to be the official caretakers of the park, with their staff being the designated fish wardens, empowered to enforce the rules of the park.


BAD is also a carbon neutral operation that supports the Mangroves for Fiji, a vital project that not only helps to offset carbon emissions, but also provides a crucial habitat for many marine creatures, including sharks.


BAD describes itself as "a conservation project masquerading as a dive shop" and they really mean it. They are a prime example for how conservation and business can not only coexist, but actually be mutually beneficial. One of the ways they make sure that the project works is by not only paying a levy to the fishing villages in exchange for them to not fish at the reef, but also by hiring their staff from those villages to provide an alternative income to the villagers. All the dive staff at BAD is from those local fishing villages. To see how the project works, click here.


Shark Diver is diving in Fiji from May 8 - 29. A 7 day stay (5 days of shark diving), is starting at $1800 p/p double occupancy. The price includes 7 nights accommodation in a 4 star hotel, with a breakfast buffet edaily, 5 days of 2 tank shark diving and rt. airport transportation from Nadi airport. We can customize your dates and length of stay and also add some dives in the soft coral capital of the world. Cost of airfare from LA to Fiji varies from $1000 to about $1300, depending on day of departure.

We can also book your shark dive with "BAD" anytime of the year, with or without a hotel. Call us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com for more info, or to book.


Let's go shark diving!

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Support shark conservation at Guadalupe Island

With the holidays fast approaching, what are you going to give the person who has everything? Here is an idea. Sponsor, or name a shark at Guadalupe Island and support the research and conservation efforts there.

The Marine Conservation Science Institute is not only maintaining a photo ID database at Guadalupe, but also does extensive research into the migration behavior of "our" Great White Sharks. By naming, or sponsoring a shark, you are helping to keep the research going.

Let me introduce #153 from our database. He's an awesome shark and I hope that you agree that #153 is not a good name for this guy. I'm sure you can come up with something better.


To name or sponsor this awesome individual, visit http://www.marinecsi.org/donations/. All the proceeds go to the research and your donation is fully tax deductible.
 

If you are the one that ends up naming this shark,  Shark Diver will give you a print of either one of these pictures, so you can show your friends the shark you named.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Science Expedition to Guadalupe Island

I booked the trip to Isla Guadalupe (Guadalupe Island) with Shark Diver of San Diego to fulfill a long held desire – since reading Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s “The Shark” and meeting his son in San Diego when I was a boy. And, in every way possible, this trip exceeded my expectations owing to the efforts of an outstanding Shark Diver team (particularly Martin Graf and Cindy Michaels), the Guest Marine Researcher Nicole Nasby Lucas, a fantastic Horizon crew, and great group of fellow shark divers. This is a must do in my opinion for anyone with a passion, interest or bucket list item relating to Great White Sharks – it’s fun, safe and amazing. Many details follow.

The Main Event:
I don’t want to bury the lead, so I’ll get right to our guests of honor. The Great White Sharks are impressive, majestic, and beautiful. They move by the twin cages, quite closely, at a stately pace, and look at the folks in the cage with large deep blue eyes; and, they appear utterly calm and in command. They make passes at the two bait carcasses off the stern, sometimes lazily and on occasion quite quickly. We were fortunate enough to witness a breach on one occasion – a male, who had previously made half-hearted passes at the bait, disappeared, the emerged from deep below the boat, under the cages, at speed, and hit the bait vertically from below, taking himself halfway out of the water – to the astonishment, screams and overwhelming joy of everyone aboard.


The visibility, typically, is very good at Isla Guadalupe, so the sun penetrates deep into the water and the boat casts a long shadow into the depths. Often our first sightings each time into the cage(s) were of the dark silhouette emerging from the shadow cast by the boat, coming up slowly from below and then circling the cages, bait and boat for some time before silently disappearing into the shadows again. Though each of us kept eyes peeled in all directions, it was amazing how frequently we were taken by surprise by a shark suddenly appearing. On deck, between dives, the crew is very experienced and keen eyed; and, they will call out “White Shark” as they approach, usually well before any guests see them. From above or below it is mesmerizing, and difficult to turn away.


Isla Guadalupe:
There are a few places worldwide to see Great White Sharks with predictability. Both South Africa and the Farallon Islands offer this opportunity; but, both have limited underwater visibility and challenging water temperatures. Isla Guadalupe has better water clarity, 100 foot visibility, and weather, and very few (we saw only three other) boats, some distance away. Unlike other locations, Isla Guadalupe will not force you to deal with cold and murky water, crowded boats and cages, quick “in and out” quick thrill experiences, etc. You will have days on the dive site, in relatively warm and very clear water, and good weather.

#153 he needs a name! You can name him by clicking here
Isla Guadalupe is a designated Bio Sphere, a marine sanctuary. It sits about 200 miles southwest of San Diego. It is made up of volcanic remnants and has a stark beauty, with tall, steep cliffs diving hundreds of feet down to sea. There are large populations of, and rookeries for, elephant seals, sea lions – all of which you are very likely to see, with approaches to boat on occasion.

Timing:
Typically, though as Martin notes there are no hard and fast rules with White Sharks, they tell us the males will show up in earlier months – e.g., July, August, and September – and in greater numbers. And the typically October and November are when they have female sightings – the females being fewer but much larger than the males. Also, typically, the wetter weather comes later in the year, with the Pacific hurricane / wet season; but, this too is not always the case.

The Drive Out:
It is a long trip out to, and back from Isla Guadalupe from / to San Diego. It was some eight hours from San Diego to Ensenada Mexico, where we docked to have passports checked, and then a long 18 +/- hours to Isla Guadalupe. Note that the return trip is the same itinerary, in reverse, with a stop in Ensenada before entering U.S. waters. Along the way out to Guadalupe, a large pod of dolphins escorted us. The sea can often be a bit rough to quite rough, with good swells causing a fair bit of roll onboard. Owing to timing, much of the initial leg is spent hanging out in main cabin getting to know fellow divers, with folks eventually heading to their beds – sleep and good anti motion sickness remedies work well. Most folks used some combination of ear patch and oral medication. It’s a long drive, so be smart and just bring your meds.



The Boat:
You won’t “Need bigger boat”  The MV Horizon the Horizon is roughly 80 feet long with 8 state rooms and several bunks. There are two restrooms and showers that are shared by all. The accommodations (two persons to a room with curtain for privacy and in bunks) are not lux, but they are nice, and you won’t care anyway  The Horizon is used only as diving vessel; and that's all season long. They determine who bunks together once everyone arrives in San Diego, based on number of couples, individual travelers, etc. The sleeping quarters are below,, and the main cabin contains the galley and a series of booths along each side used for dining and spending time together with travelers in route or between dives. Net / net, this is a large and comfortable boat.


The Cages:
There are two, kept on deck astern for the trip and each night when diving is completed. For each day's diving, each is suspended off, but affixed to, the stern at the surface (that is, they do not sink below) – so you simply climb down a ladder and into the cage (easy); and each easily holds four divers. One cage is aft port, one aft starboard. You will alternate each dive, so that everyone has plenty of time in each cage.


 The Dives:
The divers are assigned to two teams. Each team dives for an hour, and then rests and re-hydrates for an hour while the alternate team dives. Each team has four people in each cage, and the team alternates cages each time, so everyone gets to try both cages and gets plenty of dive time and rest. There were a couple days of early open diving as well – starting just after sunrise – during which anyone who preferred could climb into either cage.


The crew will size you for suits, equipment, weights, and Martin himself oriented each of us to breathing via air hose and made sure we comfortable before we stepped fully down into the cage.
Safety is primary and at no point was anything but utterly assured all was well and well in control. No divers are ever permitted out of the cages – for the sake of the sharks, the marine preserve, as well as the divers. You are completely safe at all times. There were folks of all ages, bith genders, and widely varying experience levels. Past trips have included folks in their 60’s and 70’s, and quite young divers as well. The always amazing Cindy at Shark Diver can advise on particulars.

Breathing with the hookah system is easy – no metal tanks to strap on, simply a long hose that goes from on deck tank system to each diver’s regulator (mouthpiece through which you breathe). So, if you’ve ever snorkeled and used a mask, you’ll be just fine. The cages are beyond sturdy, offer complete visibility around, above and below, and are plenty large enough for each set of divers.



The Purpose:
In addition to the opportunity provided to guests to see these amazing creatures, each shark observed is photographed (Martin, Nicole and the divers get to participate in this) and compared to a database of previously observed sharks. New sharks are named and tracked in the database each successive year. This is a joint effort between the Marine Conservation Science Institute (MCSI) and Shark Diver. 

#172 Freya a shark that was newly named this season.

Newly identified sharks on a particular dive are named by the people on the dive in a bidding process (proceeds of which go to the MCSI and shark research effort). On a side note, I was fortunate enough from a 2014 dive with Shark Diver to name one – Hooper (after the Richard Dreyfuss oceanographer character in Jaws) – great fun and a great way to support the cause.

# 159 Hooper
Isla Guadalupe is home to a marine preserve and a research station manned by a researcher named Mauricio – who will visit the Horizon and give an excellent presentation with Martin on Great White Sharks and the Isla Guadalupe Bio Sphere.

The Shark Diver Team:
Martin Graf, the CEO and dive leader, teacher, host is a deeply experienced and great guy. He is hands on, overseeing everything on the dives. He also gives talks and a presentation to the divers on Isla Guadalupe, Great White Sharks, and many experiences with both. If Nicole Nasby Lucas (again, researcher from MCSI) is leading Science Expedition, she, too, will give a fine presentation, talk. Both Martin and Nicole worked each evening on identified sharks seen from photographs taken during the day. All the reservations, logistics, arrangements, and care taking of the divers before and after is led by the excellent and omnipresent Cindy Michaels, their Director of Communications – Cindy was a rock star and took care of every question and need leading up to the trip.

The Horizon Crew:
In a word, excellent. Experienced captain, crew – professional, easy going, genuinely friendly, and they take care of anything you might need. I cannot say enough good things about the crew of the Horizon.

The Food:
As noted elsewhere, the food is outstanding. The quality and quantity of the meals is positively surprising and uniformly excellent. There is also beer and wine aboard. There are large and delicious breakfasts every morning cooked to order, excellent lunches (including Sashimi), and absolutely fantastic dinners, including prime rib near end of stay. The galley will account for you preferences and restrictions with no problem.

Thank you David Moore! We appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us and our future divers. We are glad you enjoyed your expedition and hope to see you again on another shark trip.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Do sharks get cancer?

One of the reasons millions of sharks get killed each year is the popular belief  that sharks don't get tumors, or cancer. That, along with the demand for shark fins, are the major reasons sharks get slaughtered. The belief that sharks don't get cancer has led to a big demand for their cartilage, which is supposed to prevent, or cure cancer. Now I'm not a scientist, but it seems to me, that even if sharks were immune to cancer, eating their cartilage would not make me immune to it as well, just like eating a fish doesn't give me the ability to breathe underwater.

But are sharks really immune to tumors or cancer? Well, since I'm not a scientist, I'm not sure about the cancer part, but I can definitively say that sharks do get tumors. Take "Meli" for example. He's a great white shark who regularly visits Guadalupe Island. Last year we first spotted him with a big growth on his left side and it is still there a year later. These pictures were taken just a couple of weeks ago and show his big tumor.




So, if you are taking shark cartilage supplements to prevent cancer, you might want to save your money and in the process, you just might save a shark.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Island Of The White Sharks

Do you want to know what it is like to come to Guadalupe Island and meet the Great White Sharks? Read the following trip report and look at the pictures from John Gunn and Katrien De Maertelaere who joined us at Guadalupe Island back in August.  

Island Of The White Sharks
As we boarded Horizon, the 80 foot long dive boat that would be our home for the next week, we had no idea of the adventures that lay ahead. Fulfilling a life long dream to dive with Great White Sharks, I was about to embark on a trip out to Guadalupe Island in Mexico. A rocky desolate island 150 miles west of Baja California, which is now recognized as the best place to dive with these wonderful creatures in crystal clear waters. Having recently spent time out at the Farallon Islands (The west coast’s other hub of Great White activity) I couldn’t wait to experience the magic of Guadalupe.

Shark Diver (www.sharkdiver.com) were our hosts and the crew of the Horizon greeted us warmly as we strolled past the monstrous steel shark cages out on deck and settled into our cosy sleeping quarters. The trip out to Guadalupe isn’t for the light hearted, a 36 hour trek in decent swells (and apparently we had it calm!) but the Horizon was a wonderful vessel and once we’d past through immigration in Ensenada, Mexico we were out in the open ocean, heading due west over some of the richest and biologically diverse stretches of water in the world. Within a couple of hours of leaving the Mexican mainland we were accompanied by a large group of Pilot Whales, who stayed with us for over an hour, breaching out of the water just a few feet from the boat. It was a wonderful start to what we were all hoping would be the adventure of a lifetime. 
 

After a bumpy couple of nights sleep, we awoke on the second morning to the sounds of clucking steel and rushed up on deck. The cages were slowly being lowered into the water, overshadowed by the towering, volcanic rock face of Guadalupe Island. It was quite a sight and it felt only right that one of the world’s largest congregations of Great White Sharks had chosen this alien rocky outpost as their hunting ground. After a quick but delicious cooked breakfast (the food on the entire trip was divine!) and an introduction to the cage rotations (we’d be tag teaming one hour in and one hour out of the cage for the next 2 days!) it was time to gear up and get diving!


I was part of the first rotation and with the bate lines floating next to the cages and chum being poured over the side of the boat, we anxiously waited for our first glimpse of the world’s oldest apex predator! The hour ticked by without an appearance and the next team of divers jumped in to try their luck. Within minutes we were startled by the soon to be familiar shout, ‘WHITE SHARK!’ as a huge dark shadow gracefully glided past the boat. I could only imagine the sight from below the surface.


There had been no need to panic! Our second dive of the day turned out to be one of the best dives of the entire trip. We were treated to 3 White Sharks, circling the cages for the full hour. The opportunity to see these animals up close in clear water was truly special. They’re both graceful and terrifying at the same time. A monster from your nightmares, that you can’t take your eyes off. The 14 foot sharks glided inches from the cage, ominously disappearing into the blue, before somehow re-appearing moments later from the completely opposite direction. While at first glance their eyes are black and sinister, a closer look reveals a soft light blue interior that focused in on the divers as the shark glides past. These guys were definitely checking us out!



As rotations merged into each other, the action never stopped and as we experienced more sharks, we were privileged to witness an array of different personalities that each gave a unique interaction. Shark Diver keep a log of all the White Sharks they encounter and name them, as a way of keeping track. Over time, we learned who was who; ‘Legend’ was a mid- sized feisty shark that would charge and breach for the bait, giving the topside divers and crew quite a show. ‘Johnny’ was a more relaxed but larger and proud shark and every now and then we’d be lucky enough to look down into the depths and see the infamous ‘Bruce’, a monstrous male White Shark circling below. 



From the surface, the water was so clear it was like watching the sharks swimming in a pool and from below, the 100+ foot visibility offered photo opportunities I’m yet to encounter anywhere in the world. On our last night we were treated to a fantastic presentation from a couple of local researchers (the only inhabitants on the island, with the exception of a small fishing community) from Pelagios Kakunja Marine Conservation, educating us on the vital science and research currently being done to understand more about the Guadalupe ecosystem and the best ways to protect it in the future. As well as the informative talk, the two researchers showed us a ‘deep sea monster’ that they’d found floating on the surface, a bizarre bottom dwelling creature that we figured out probably belonged to the ‘Frog Fish’ family. 


Finally, we were treated to up close GoPro footage of a recent Great White predication on an Elephant Seal at the island (only the third time such an attack had been caught on camera), before we all slunked down to our cabins beneath the waves and looked forward to the final morning of diving before our departure back to the mainland.


The final morning didn’t disappoint, as we were continuously circled by a large male shark called ‘Biteface’. At nearly 16 feet in length, he dwarfed the cage as he glided inches from the steel cage and our busy cameras! After lunch the cages were hoisted back onto the Horizon and we set pace at a steady 10 knots, back to San Diego. Within a few hours, just as the sun was setting, we were accompanied by a stunning group of breaching Dolphins, giving the entire group a great opportunity to reflect on this wonderfully rich and wild stretch of ocean and the trip of a lifetime.


Will I be returning to Guadalupe? Most certainly, but probably not before my passion for Sharks and underwater photography takes me to the Tiger Sharks of the Bahamas and the resident Bulls Sharks of Fiji. Take a bow Shark Diver, you well and truly delivered!

Thank you John and Katrien for coming out with us and writing this great report! It was a pleasure having you on board and we enjoyed introducing you to our "friends" at Guadalupe Island. We are looking forward to taking you to the Bahamas and Fiji for your next shark diving adventure!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New sharks at Guadalupe Island

It's been a fantastic great white shark season at Guadalupe Island so far. As reported earlier, a lot of our regular visitors have come back again, with "Bite Face" making his 15th straight appearance.  Along with our old "friends", we have also seen a bunch of new sharks. Three of them have officially been added to the MCSI photo ID database during our last science expedition.

Introducing "Luca" a sub adult male, # 171 in our database.

video 


Joining him at #172 is "Freya", a small female.


"Hunter", a curious and active male is going to be #173


Along with those 3 above, we have seen at least another 7 sharks that are not in the database yet. I'll let you know, when they get officially added.

If you want to meet our sharks up close and personal, call us at 619.987.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com. The rest of this season is sold out and our 2016 season is already more than 50% booked. Maybe you will be the next person to find a new shark at Guadalupe Island.

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Talking about Sharks, Feeds the Frenzy

A Growing Attraction

Some might say diving with sharks is the last thing they would ever want to do...until they do it! For many, it has become an addiction and more and more repeat divers are getting their yearly thrill with Shark Diver, based out of San Diego. For 14 years, Shark Diver has been introducing the public (those who are dive certified and not certified) to the underwater world of great white sharks. They don't plan to stop. Why? Because people keep coming to get their 'fix.' The shark phenomenon has continued to rise for the last few years, due to local and national television news and social media coverage, cable television programming, and of course, silly movies. The 'News' has put us in touch with shark sightings off the coasts of Australia, South Africa, the Eastern and Western United States, and Guadalupe Island in Mexico; all right at our fingertips. The more we talk about sharks, the more popular they become.

Photo: Cindy Michaels
Every year, starting the first week of August, Shark Diver takes more than 200 divers to Guadalupe Island to see these misunderstood creatures, up close. During a 5-day adventure, divers fulfill their bucket list items, unique wedding anniversary or honeymoon celebrations, birthday milestones, or childhood dreams. In 2014, Shark Diver's sold out season saw a record number of divers wanting to see great whites, but it was also one of the biggest years for shark encounters at the cages. Things were only going to grow after that. Already, since the company's first dive this year on August 9th, there have been more than 120 great white shark sightings and it is expected that the same amount, if not more, will be seen by the time the 2015 season ends in November.



Get to Know Your Sharks

Shark Diver has worked with the Discovery Channel for some of its Shark Week episodes as well as countless other operations that partner for filming. But the company's greatest passion is to bring those who have never seen a shark...to the sharks, themselves. For the past 2 seasons, a researcher from the Marine Conservation Science Institute (MCSI) in San Diego has joined Shark Diver in educating divers about specific markings, migratory habits, and all the fun stuff you don't learn in school or on television. On the hosted adventures, divers have the opportunity to name any new shark that is spotted, while in the cages. That named shark is then registered in MCSI's photo database, which features more than 150 already identified sharks, such as Bite Face, Shredder, and Bruce. By naming and identifying the new great white, the divers are helping out with MCSI's research; dedicated to conserving and protecting marine resources. Shouldn't naming a shark be on your bucket list?


Photo: Cindy Michaels
What to Expect without Expecting

Like other highly feared fish, great whites are unpredictable. There may be curious juveniles that try to bite delicately on the cages, or a large adult that just wants to stroll by slowly to check you out. There is no expecting one behavior or another from these boys and girls. Divers prepare themselves for a scary time, but walk away awe-inspired by what they just witnessed. Every trip reveals something different. 



When you decide that life is too short to only watch sharks on television, venture out on a dive with Shark Diver. You will see a great white shark while on your trip or the crew will take you back to Guadalupe Island at no extra charge. It is the company's guarantee. Whether or not Shark Diver sees you year after year, there is a good chance you will never view great white sharks the same way, again.


~Cindy Michaels 
   Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Great White Sharks, Dolphins and a "Sea Monster"

We just finished another awesome expedition to Guadalupe Island. After 14 years of diving there, it never ceases to amaze me, that we keep encountering new things. We had a pleasant trip down to the Island, with mostly calm waters and were accompanied by a pod of pilot whales that stayed with us for a while.


On our first day of diving, we had "Herman", a good sized adult male white shark, swim by our cages, just as 2 adult bottle nose dolphins and their baby showed up. As soon as he saw them, he took off like a top fuel race car at the 1/4 mile track. Score one for the dolphins! (unfortunately we don't have any pictures of this)

At the end of our second day, the local researchers came by with a "sea monster" they found floating on the surface. I had no idea that these things existed in our waters. Anyone knows what species this is?

Our "Sea Monster"

We encountered a total of 16 different sharks on our trip and some, like "Legend" and "Herman", really put on a show, swimming by the cages and looking our divers straight into the eyes. Another sea turtle checked out our divers and showed us that they are not afraid to swim with great white sharks.


The trip home was again flat calm, a fact that was greatly appreciated by our diver. We are leaving again in a few hours for another exciting expedition to Guadalupe Island. What will we be seeing this time?

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"Aggressive" shark closes San Diego Beach

We arrived back in San Diego from our last Great White Shark trip just in time for an "aggressive" hammerhead shark to close a popular La Jolla (San Diego) beach.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, "A hammerhead shark that circled and followed a group of swimmers and kayakers near La Jolla Shores prompted lifeguards to close a stretch of water to thousands of beachgoers Saturday afternoon."

A hammerhead shark circles a kayaker near La Jolla Shores Saturday. The shark's aggressive behavior prompted the beach to close for the remainder of the day and night. — Jimmy Van Evera

Since these hammerhead sharks are not normally "aggressive" towards humans and usually quite shy, I was surprised to hear that one was actually approaching a group of swimmers.

Upon further reading of the article, I found that there was a good reason for the shark to come close to the kayak and the swimmers.  “We each caught a yellowfin, and we always bleed them out to keep them fresher,” said Jimmy Van Evera, who estimated they’d fished for three hours. “We were paddling back in and we saw this hammerhead pop up near our kayaks.” It was about 10 yards away, but ventured closer and closer"

Ok, that explains a lot. Hammerheads, like most sharks love to eat tuna. By bleeding their catch into the water, the fishermen essentially rang the dinner bell for the shark in question. The tuna blood was covering their kayaks and by paddling to shore, the kayak left a scent trail for the shark to follow.  The shark knows what a tuna looks like and once it sees the kayak, is curious to find out what smells like a tuna, but looks like a kayak. These hammerheads are not really a threat to humans, unless they happen to be covered in fish blood.
 
The headline for this story should have read "Irresponsible fishermen lure shark close to swimmers", instead of calling the shark aggressive. Read the entire article here.

If a human smells food and goes to check it out, is he/she showing aggressive behavior? Since there was tuna blood in the water and sharks are curious to investigate what smells like a tune, but looks totally different, it was probably a good idea for the lifeguards to get the people out of the water.

Personally, if I would hear there is a hammerhead in the water, I'd grab a mask and snorkel, go in and check it out. They are beautiful creatures and, as long as you're not smelling like fish blood, not a threat to humans.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Monday, August 24, 2015

30 White Sharks and a pod of Orcas

What an incredible expedition! We not only saw a record 30 different individual white sharks on this expedition, on our way back we ran into a pod of Orcas that came right up to our vessel. The pod included a whale with an incredibly tall dorsal fin, as well as some mothers with their babies. What a treat!




In addition to the sharks we encountered earlier this season, we had 3 new females, 3 new males, along with Keli, Andy, Johnny and Herman, all sharks we know from previous seasons.

Photo by Mark Denstedt, not Martin Graf

If you aren't among the lucky ones that already booked an expedition this season, we only have a couple of spaces left on our August 30 and September 9 expeditions. Call Cindy at our office 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com to reserve your space.


Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bigger than Deep Blue. The biggest shark at Guadalupe Island!

We just returned from our first expedition to Guadalupe Island this year. I'm happy to report that the big boys are back. Bruce, Jacques, Bite Face and Thor all made it back safely to the island. As big as those sharks are, they were dwarfed by the biggest shark to ever swim by a cage at Guadalupe. On our second day of diving, we encountered the largest fish on earth, a whale shark, swimming alongside a great white shark.

video

I have seen whale sharks before, but this is the first time I saw one swimming with a great white shark. You never know, what you are going to see on the ocean. Aside from great whites and the whale shark, we also got a visit from 6 bottle nose dolphins and a couple of green sea turtles.


It's not only the big boys that are back. We also saw the slightly smaller Hooper, Mau, Horizon, Ace, Micks, Mike, Drogin, Legend, Paul Walker, Seamus, Don Julian, Big and Ian along with the females Sydney and Amiria.

Like last year, we also encountered some new sharks. We definitely have another small female and male shark.


We only have a few spaces available for this season. Call us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com to reserve your space.

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Courageous sea lion


From last season at Guadalupe Island, where we encountered a courageous little sea lion.

 

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Who is at Guadalupe Island?

Our great white shark season is officially getting underway this coming Sunday. I can't wait to see who is back at Guadalupe Island. Is "Shredder" going to be there after being absent for a couple of years?


"Shredder"

I'm really worried that something happened to him, but since "Quetzalcoatl" (no I did not name him)
once stayed away from Guadalupe Island for 8 years, I still have hope!

"Quetzalcoatl"

What about our regulars like "Bruce", "Jacques", "Bite-Face", "Johnny" etc.? Who is making an appearance this season?


"Jacques" one of our regulars.

Who is going to get hurt this season?  It never ceases to amaze me, how rough they play with each other.

"Bruce" a couple of years ago

But don't worry, they have an amazing ability to heal. Just look at the picture of "Bruce" below!

"Bruce" with barely a scar from his bite.

We never know who is going to be back. Every year we encounter new sharks and see old "friends". Right now, we have more than 170 individual great white sharks in our database, with a handful having been there every season, since 2001.

If you are interested in learning more about the photo id database of our great white sharks, check out MCSI's website here. We also have only 2 spaces open on our Sept. 14-19 science expedition with Nicole Nasby-Lucas, the scientist responsible for the database.

To join us on the science expedition, call us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com.

We also have limited openings on our Aug 30, Sept. 4 and Sept. 9 expedition.

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.