December 1, 2010
Written by Amos Nachoum
If you need any more proof that sharks are amazing animals, here’s news that I’ll be sharing with divers and photographers on my next BigAnimals shark dive expeditions. According to Jeremy Hsu, writing about science on the MSNBC site, the Shortfin Mako shark uses flexible scales on its body to make to make tight underwater turns during high-speed pursuits. The scales give Mako exceptional control and this allows them to move in for the kill at speeds of 60 mph.
“The Mako has evolved to be the cheetah of the ocean,” according Amy Lang, an aerospace engineer at the University of Alabama who specializes in experimental fluid dynamics, and who was quoted in the article. “It has evolved to chase down tuna.”
Ten, fifteen years ago I saw a lot of Makos and Blue sharks on dives off the coast of San Diego. Recently – not so often. But I have some good news – and it comes from the other coast. I’ve been looking into surveying a shark dive location off Cape Cod with plans to start an expedition there. Prime season for this would be September to October. I am thrilled to learn about this location, because it represents an opportunity on so many levels. It’s a chance to see BigAnimals in their habitat, but it also represents an opportunity to help protect sharks.
As we know all too well, for sportsfishermen sharks are game to be hunted and to the shipping industry, sharks simply get in the way of the shipping lanes which can cost them their lives.
It’s a plan of mine to go to areas where Blues and Makos are thriving and talk to the hoteliers and dive centers in those places. I would want to explain that leading expeditions to experience BigAnimals up close will help local businesses. Instead of fishing these species into extinction we can take divers out on expeditions and capture the shark’s spirit with a camera instead taking their lives. When it comes to local business, a live shark is worth a lot more money than a dead shark.
I’ll let you know what develops in Cape Code and other sites. For now, have a look at my upcoming shark dives. Next September, come with me to Mexico to experience the Great White Shark – for a special few adventurers I select, there will be an out-of-the-cage experience. In the Galapagos next fall during the perfect season, we’ll be diving with the Whale Shark.
October 20, 2010
Written by Amos Nachoum
Great White Shark Diving Field Report: Guadalupe Island
Here’s a field report from Baja California, Mexico as I wrap up part one of this year’s shark diving adventure. I’m getting this out to you before the next group of guests arrive.
Under my leadership, nine people just had the trip of a lifetime. They gathered from across the USA, South Africa, Australia and Germany to encounter the Great White Shark as only as biganimals.com expedition can deliver it. For five of them, “once was not enough.” They had been with me already on as many as six other trips – and, amazingly, one was back for the second time for an adventure with the Great Whites. It’s always gratifying for me to reconnect with people with a passion for adventure. This trip was no exception.
Cage-Free Diving with Great Whites
Shark dives off Guadalupe Island are usually done inside a protective shark cage. But with through preparation and very close supervision, it is possible to have the “cageless sensation” for a select few. On this trip I carefully chose five divers to join me, one at a time, for a cage-free experience, described by some as the “Everest of Diving experiences.” Here’s one guest as he’s getting ready to leave the cage.
I go about this very carefully. I started everyone in the surface cage at first. As you can see from the picture below, when guests leave the cage, they are always escorted by a safety diver. Though we saw sharks during the whole five day-trip ranging in size from 12 feet up to 15, the pace of shark visits on the first and second days was slow. But then, on the third day, the pace of the sharks frequenting our cages picked up and on the last day and last dive out of the cage we had four Great Whites circling the cage while we were swimming with them…carefully yes, and very much aware. Everyone returned home safely this morning, and now I’m waiting for the second team of this year’s Great White shark expedition.
The weather was calm and sunny, the sea was flat, and the team — they were an extraordinary group of adults who clearly understood what is at stake, the risk, and the adventure. All of the guests did a great job, and know very well how to work as a team, and take part in my know-how to manage risks as I lead them to experience the Great White in this dramatic way. Together we were able to dispel the myth of the “mindless predator” the Great White is so often made out to be. But the myth can only be dispelled when it is done thoughtfully, with responsibility and respect for these magnificent animals.
The water temp was a chilly 66-degrees F at 40 feet and at 80 feet, even cooler at 64 F. The semi drysuit by Bare was very helpful! A good thing, because the lower we took the cage obviously the colder the water got – but also more and more sharks were around us. We even recognized a few from last year. (We named them Lucy and Schroeder.) The year before as well as saw and ID’d some newcomers. One of them we called Noreiga. Once you see a Great White up close, like in the picture below, you’ll never forget it.
Next year’s Great White trip is scheduled for October 9 – 16, 2011, and only five spaces remain open. I suggest that you reserve your spot to see the great white shark for yourself as soon as you can.
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