Another great white shark tagging expedition to Guadalupe this fall, the 7th for me over there since 2009.
This year we camped on the island for two weeks, we had to shorten the stay due to boat logistical considerations though.
2015 is another El Nino year and this truly effects Guadalupe Island. First the water was 25°c, almost 5°C above normal, this
means that the white sharks were usually staying deeper where the conditions are more stable for them. On the other hand the amount of sealife was phenomenal: yellowtails, yellowfin tunas, mobula rays, wahoos and the week before we arrived 2 whale sharks were seen!
Above the water the conditions were affected as well. The abundant rain changed the island from that dry and inhospitable gigantic rock to an almost friendly green landscape. And of course the rain affected us as well,in our base camp during the 3 first days, most of it has no more roof on top of the old walls and the remaining parts of it are leaking. All the gear was soaked and we had to fight to find some dry places to put our sleeping bags.
This year we had to share the place with a lot more mices and cockroaches than last year and the mices were very very active at night and didn’t hesitate to climb on us when they were not making holes in our bags and food containers!
In the water we had many great whites, we could tag 6 of them and saw many with with tags we placed last year. We were working from Dr Mauricio Hoyos'boat and we had to be ready and fast to get in the water as the sharks were not staying very long around it, we noticed that the bigger the boat is, the more they stay, the feel more comfortable and can take more advantage of the large shade area to make their approach more discreet. The more time we spend in the water with these animals, William Winram and I are more conscious of their abilities as apex predators, they learn about divers and their behavior adapts. For that reason even though we know them better and better each year we are paying more and more attention to their behavior. I hope that the « expedition leader/photographer » who was performing outside of the cage stunts with his clients noticed that as well and will eventually give up doing it before someone really gets hurt.
The Islander brought us back to the mainland, they have been supporting us since 2009, if you want to book a Guadalupe trip do it with them, they are the best crew and from their cages you’ll be able to observe more sharks than from any other boat.
We are now back on the mainland and about to leave for our next adventure, a sailing/freediving/tagging trip we wanted to do for many years…..