We returned from our adventure to Isla Guadalupe with great memories and a renewed love of sharks! What amazing creatures these animals are! We were very fortunate to have booked our trip through a eco-friendly company (www.greatwhiteadventures.com) who put the stewardship of the white sharks as their highest priority! We were shown these graceful predators with safety and respect for both the animal and divers!
We had 11 individual sharks come into our area over our trip, with as many as 7 at one time! Most were in the 10-12 foot range but there was one larger female (Chica by name!) who was closer to 13 feet and was quite the beautiful girl! When she was in the water, all eyes were glued to her! Each shark had character and showed their personality as they swam by! Their was Cal Ripfin, a weathered guy who looked as though he had been in a fight or 5 in his day! Pancho, quick and aggressive towards the hang bait who always put on a good show! And Lucy, one of our favorites, with the healed tail fin that had been damaged early on by a devastating bite. What a beautiful fish! She had to work harder than the others but did it with style and grace!
It may seem odd to give these animals “personality”, but honestly, each one was different… not just in physical description but in behaviour and in demeanor. What was so clear by the end of our trip was that these animals are far more than mindless eating machine (although they certainly can eat like champs) that race after anything that swims. On the contrary, these fish were slow and methodical in their swimming, using as little of their energy as they could. They were fast and forceful when they needed to be and could turn on a dime! But they turned away many times with out taking bait that was laid out for them. And on one day, a young sea lion swam in and around our cages and cautiously played with the sharks! (granted, she chose to only engage a few and stayed close to the boat when Pancho or Chica swam by!) The white sharks are complex and have opened our eyes to how much we still have to learn from them!
The Fin Foundation will be using all of our photographs and experiences with these sharks to help spread the word about saving them and other species of sharks from negative human activities such as shark finning and long lining. It is a pledge that we take seriously and we look forward to showing communities in the Southwest how important an issue it really is! Look for more updates and posts regarding white sharks in the near future!