Great White Sharks of Isla de GuadeloupeOctober 3 2017
Typical Great White Shark approach .. One moment you dont see him and you blink and there this 16-18 ft. 3-4 thousand pound predator is directly in front of you..
That is why the Carcharodon Carcharias is the supreme ambush hunter and at the top of the food chain. Magnificent calculator and very intelligent with outstanding eye site.
Join us when we head to Isla de Guadeloupe in Mexico, Oct 6th to 11th on this Great White Shark Conservation Expedition.Read background
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Already the last day. It seems like the sharks want to put up a show for us. Especially in the afternoon, there is a lot of interactions. Especially a big male named Thor is making quite a splash.
By about 2pm, they have to almost drag a couple of us our of the cages. It's just too good to go...
Day 3 - Night Dive
After BBQ dinner on the upper deck we go for a night dive with the ROV. The boat is in about 80m of water, to make it to the seafloor faster, I put a 3lb dive weight on the tether at about 15m. That acts as a clump weight and will give me the chance to explore for about 30m around.
We end up diving to about 95m. Everyone is astonished how much life there is. One of the first things we see is a big, purple gorgonian fan. Also, lots of sponges and yellow corals can be seen.
Behind a rock, we come across a lobster who's not impressed with us disturbing the calmness of the night with our lights.
This is already going to be our last full day on the Island. Time goes too fast if you have fun.
In the last couple of days, The research group, with the help of some freedivers, tagged two sharks with new tracking devices. Besides an acoustic tag, they have accelerometers, depth, temperature and even a camera aka 'critter cam'. The researchers hope to get a better understanding of the movements and the interactions of the sharks.
I met with Mark, one of the freedivers, who is working with the DAREWIN Project. This group tries to analyze and one day decode Whale song. A very interesting project and maybe another application for the ROVs.
Meanwhile, Mauricio is preparing new receivers for the acoustic tags that will be deployed around the bay. These receivers are good for 6 months and log the presence of sharks swimming by.
After talking to Mauricio and the other experts, I decided to camouflage the ROV somewhat. I use Electrical tape to put a pattern on and hide most of the white.
There is a shark in the water and I try to play it safe and stay close to the cages. The shark tries to go for the bait a few times, passes by the cages and by the ROV a few times. Everyone is very excited, both diving with the sharks as well as seeing the ROV in the water. Mauricio and the other scientists are especially interested. This is certainly a tool they can use t study the sharks and other fauna of the island in new ways.
After 20 hours of transit through a swelling sea, we arrive at Isla Guadeloupe.
It's volcanic origin clearly visible in striations on its cliffs. The cliffs are dropping off straight into the ocean and pretty much continue right down to 500 or 600 meters.
Three more boats are on anchor, Jonathan gives a dive briefing, and soon the diving cages are lowered into the water. We get word from one of the other boats, that for the last two days, they didn't have any sharks, nor any baitfish either. They assume it has to do with the full moon in the last few days.
We decide to put the ROV in the water. Everyone is very excited. Right at the start, one of the boatsmen spots a turtle and we go and check it out without much trouble. I try to reach the bottom to see if there is anything down there. We're in 80m of water and it takes a little to reach the bottom. At about 75m we reach a zone with lots of yellow jacks, no sharks though. Because of the distance to the boat, we can't get all the way to the bottom and come back up.
Shortly after the first shark interaction. One of the GWS approaches and we get it on video but no bitting happened. Another couple of interactions happened, including a bump. Luckily no bites :)
It's time for me to get in the water. Even on the ROV footage, it was clear why this place is one of the best spots for diving with Great White Sharks. The water is relatively warm with 20 degrees C/68F and the visibility seems endless. The blue of the water is mesmerizing.
Before dinner, Mauricio held a presentation about the sharks here in Guadeloupe.
We're boarding the Sea Escape, our home for the next few days out on the ocean.
The Sea Escape is the only Mexican operated boat that goes to Isla de Guadeloupe and with only 15 guests is one of the smaller vessels. That makes it easy to get to know your fellow travelers and the local economy is supported too.
With us on board will be Dr Mauricio Hoyos from the Pelagio Kakunja organisation who is researching the sharks on the island for many years.