Not just a
huge collection of
Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
to help divers find the best places to encounter the different
species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has
slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on
all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.
now more than 10,000 shark pictures and sections on shark
evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of
reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a
monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are
numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is
now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and
pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be
Great White Sharks and occasional Mako Sharks.
Each year during summer and fall,
Guadalupe Island becomes home to a large population of migratory Great White
Sharks. The sharks converge to take advantage of the resident seal and sea lion
colonies. They also feed on the large schools of tuna and possibly Humboldt
Through the use of chum, the sharks are
encouraged to approach shark cages that are lowered from the sides of
live-aboard dive ships. The encounter is strictly regulated by the Mexican parks
service and leaving the safety of the cages and setting foot on the island
itself is not permitted. Initially the sharks are very curious, making close
passes around the cages and this is the best time to film or view them. Once
they learn that the chum will eventually sink, they tend to swim at the edge of
visibility, patiently waiting for the food to come to them.
Divers entering the cages use hooker
lines to breathe from so there is no need for scuba training. Some operators
invite qualified scuba divers to descend in a submersible cage that is lowered
to about 10m (30') which generates a feeling of greater exposure and offers a
different angle to shoot from.
The smaller male sharks arrive first
followed later in the season by the larger females. Weather permitting, guided
panga tours of the island allow guests to photograph the elephant seals lounging
on the rocks.
There are a handful of operators that offer trips to Guadalupe. Great White
Adventures uses two boats that regularly brave the 18 hour crossing from the
mainland. One of their boats; The Solmar V, leaves from Ensenada on the west
coast of Baja. Their other ship; The Searcher is American owned and leaves from
San Diego. The trips are marketed as luxury all inclusive adventure tours.
Having heard reports of sharks from
fishermen, Lawrence Groth (owner of Great White Adventures) was the first to
charter a vessel to look for White Sharks at Guadalupe. Doc Anes (owner of San
Diego Shark Diving) was also on that first expedition and runs back to back
trips throughout the season.
One of the newest vessels to receive a
permit is Mike Lever's Nautilus Explorer. Although I have not been to Guadalupe
with Mike, I was aboard the Nautilus Explorer on a trip to Alaska a few years
ago and was impressed by both the ship and Mike's professionalism.
and Accommodation: Regardless of whether you sail from California or
Baja, all of the tours meet in San Diego. Please visit the operators web sites
for more information.