Back from our 2014 Guadalupe Island expedition. This year we spent a full month based on the island instead of operating from a liveboard like we usually do.
Camping on the island helps a lot to focus on the tagging work and allows to enjoy Guadalupe at its full potential! From my first visit I could feel that Guadalupe was not only about the white sharks, there is much much more. The island itself is spectacular, the mineral landscapes totally surreal.
Our camp was set in a old building near a beach. Well, by building I mean some old walls with areas partially covered with old plywood sheets, the place was full of mice and roaches, there is no fresh water nor electricity.
We asked boats to fill our water jerrycans and once every two days we fired up an old 2 strokes generator for an hour
in order to charge our electronics. One hour was just enough not to get fully suffocated by the exhaust gases…
We brought all our food with us on the island and sometimes we were getting a meal on one of the diving charter boats anchoring in the bay and taking the opportunity to give a talk about the research we were conducting to the guests. These conditions don’t sound particularly nice but there are so many things to see here that we din’t even think about it.
This year was an El Nino year, the water was 3°c warmer than it should be and the sharks stayed well below the 40m thermocline, where the conditions are more stable for them. The visibility was not as good either. The sharks rarely visited the surface waters. Well, that’s just the cycle of nature, we had to deal with it, we had to be more opportunistic to tag the sharks as they were not staying very long after their curiosity in the boat and the freedivers was satisfied. Despite these difficult conditions and the usual problems you can face during expeditions in remote locations….we could eventually tag 14 great whites, four of them with a new generation tags that were deployed for the first time ever. These tags will bring groundbreaking informations about the social behavior of the great whites during their annual migration to Dr Mauricio Hoyos and Dr Yannis Papastamatiou, the leading scientist of the study initiated and funded by the Watermen Project .We were aiming specifically at male sharks to place these new tags.
Now we’ll have to wait next year for the second phase of the study and recover the precious data’s the tags will provide…..I can’t wait for next year’s expedition!!!!
We would like to thank Islander Charters, the owners Shane and John, the captain Jason and his amazingly professional crew who helped us a lot by giving us a ride to and back from Gudalupe as well as logistical support when they were at the island with their guests.