This was my 7th "Great White birthday" spent out at Guadalupe Island cage diving with the white sharks. Guadalupe is my magic place in the world and I’ll continue to spend my birthdays out there until I can’t get my old ass out of the cage anymore! LOL Our adventure started in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn in San Diego. We all (16 of us) boarded a charter bus that took us to Ensenada, Mexico to get on the Solmar V. Man! The Solmar V is a REALLY nice boat! You can check it out at www.solmarv.com
Guadalupe is an 18hr boat ride so we all spent our first day at sea getting to know eachother. I think we had 10 newbies (never been with the great whites) with us. This trip is so awesome that the return rate is really high. Lawrence runs a really tight operation and I guarantee you will walk away a changed person. Once you’ve been face to face with a great white, something in you changes. You become.....humbled, I think would be a good word. You see what magestic creatures they really are. They aren’t the man chomping monsters they are made out to be. For a life changing experience go to www.greatwhiteadventures.com
We arrrived at the island around 9am the next morning. We all got our safety instructions and the first set of divers got in the cages at 10. I was the first one in and I believe I was the first to see a shark! I was only in the water for about 10 mins before he showed up. It was one of our old friends "Cal Rip Fin" I’ve seen Cal on every trip I’ve been on. His dorsel fin is ripped in a unique way that makes him easy to recognise. About 5 mins later he was accompanied by a female named Chica. Both sharks are about 15ft. They hung around and kept us entertained all day! One of my favorite parts of the trip is to hear and see the reactions of the people when they see a shark for the first time. We had a fireman from New Jersey that came out of the cage completely speechless. He couldn’t come up with anything to say for about 10 mins and then he just babbled! I love it when that happens! LOL The sun was out all day, slight breeze, and just a little swell.
The next morning we had divers in the cages with sharks around by 7am. I just watched the topside action because I wanted to go on the Panga ride at 9. I’m not sure why they call it a panga unless it’s another name for a zodiac boat. A few of us got in the panga and cruised over toward the shore. Guadalupe dosen’t have a "shore" with sand on the bottom. Guadalupe is a giant rock that sticks up out of the ocean. The island drops steeply into the water. Where we anchor the Solmar is only a couple hundred yards from shore and we have 240ft of water under us. Because of the way the bottom is we were able to get really close to the shore. There are regular sea lions and elephant seals that live on the rocks along the shore. We cruised up to the north tip of the Island and back. It took about an hour. Back on the boat the shark action was in full swing. Lawrence also got out the "Deep cage" The deep cage is only for certified divers. (You don’t have to be certified to go in the surface cages.) This cage goes down on a boom off the side of the boat to about 40ft. This cage is totally open and excellent for getting some awesome photos and video. The deep cage takes the divemaster and two divers down for 20 mins. This cage is limited on time because there is only one and a lot of people want to go in it. I posted a couple pics showing the "openess" of the cage in my photos. We dove in the big cages all day with a couple different sharks that came and went. Cal and Chica were around for most of the day also. We ended a spectacular day of diving with a bar-b-que on the bow of the boat! Excellent day!
Our third and last day there started early again with the sharks at the cages before 7. We had the deep cage going all day and the surface cages were busy too. We had a third shark show up around 11 and hung out for the rest of the afternoon with Cal and Chica. Then Lucy showed up too. We had 4 sharks at once. Pretty awesome sight. Lucy came sporting her "bling" (pretty little blue pilot fish) She’s real easy to recognize because she has a broken tail. It got bit many years ago and healed wrong. She can use it just fine, it just looks broken. We packed it all in and headed out at 6pm. We had a beautiful sunset. One of the crew made us these awesome mano margaritas and I had a few! It was my birthday after all! We had a great dinner and I got a birthday cake...complete with candles! What a way to spend your birthday!
We arrived back in Ensenada around noon the next day. The crossing was so smooth all night that if you didn’t see the water, you’d never know you were on a boat! It was the smoothest crossing I’ve had in 7 years of going there. We got back on the bus and headed back to San Diego. We arrived around 5pm. We had to do all the customs stuff coming back. That’s why it took so long.
This was my first time on the Solmar V. All the other trips I’ve gone on the Searcher. They changed the schedule around and the Searcher wouldn’t be out there on my birthday. That’s why the Solmar. It was a delightful change. I love the crew of the Searcher but the Solmar is just as good! Whichever one is out there on Oct 11th next year....that’s the one I’ll be on! If you ever want to do something that will change your outlook on life......go sharkin’ with Great White Adventures! www.greatwhiteadventures.com