I had no idea what I was getting into. Two dive buddies of mine sent me a website link, "Did I know you could dive with a Great White out of San Diego, Ca?" My response after looking at the shark images on this site was "Let's go!". Four months later we were all boarding the MV Islander for what would be an amazing encounter with the Man In The Grey Suit.
The shark diving is run by an operation called Shark Diver. Patric Douglas is the excited CEO of this company. To say this guy loves shark diving is an understatement. After a 20 hour crossing to Isla Guadalupe we arrived at the Island ready to cage dive with the Big Boys.
Isla Guadalupe is remote, really remote. It's 200 miles into the middle of the Pacific. The water surrounding the island is calm and very blue, so it was a huge surprise when the first Great White shark about (17 feet long) showed up within 10 minutes of our arrival. I mean you expect to have to wait hours to see a Great White. Our group was in the water with this beast in about 30 minutes from the first sighting. I didn't even have time for breakfast!
Great Whites are even more impressive in person. They are simply huge and wicked looking. The Shark Diver staff said this shark had been on site for the past two weeks and had already bumped the cages twice. Luke Tipple, the dive operations Guru on board told us this was just this sharks way of saying "hello". To tell the truth we were all hoping he would not be as friendly with us.
Cage rotations continue all day long for three days. You are in for an hour and out for an hour as another team gets in to see and snap shots of the sharks. The cages are huge. Shark Diver runs with two cages bolted to the back swim step, they are solid, and you can see 360. Even then the Great Whites manage to sneak up on you almost every rotation.
When not diving we were stuffing our faces with great food from Chef Paul in the galley. This guy is big on hearty food, with lots of butter and sauces. It was perfect. There was also a vegan on board who Paul cooked for all week, I tried some of her curry/veg mix one night and it was pretty good!
On the downside these trips take 20 hours to get there and back, in the open ocean. The upside is that this is simply an amazing place to cage dive with Great White sharks. The vessel, the sharks and the company Shark Diver all exceeded my expectations.
Shark Diver and more images and video is located on the web at www.sharkdiver.com
Hell of a way to go shark diving!