Unfortunately I was sick with a migraine yesterday, too nauseous to eat, and only able to make two trips to the cages in the morning before crawling back to bed; now that we’re heading back to Enseneda I’ve fully recovered. I managed to rally for one more dive this afternoon after the pounding in my head had reduced to where the thought of compressing my body in neoprene and descending underwater sounded only slightly terrifying, and while half the boat was a no-show for dinner due to rough seas I was ravenous after not eating anything yesterday, so overall being out of commission for a bit didn’t impact the trip too negatively.
Catching up on all of the action during the past few days, it was a really unique trip. We spent the entire three days in the same anchorage in a bay on Guadalupe. The boat is 130 feet long and has two surface cages and two additional cages that were lowered down 30 feet below the surface, but surprisingly the surface cages seemed to be more fun – there were usually two baits made of tuna heads or tails thrown from the back of the boat, and with the sharks going for them regularly the action was better closer to the surface. Over the two days we met several different sharks, but “Andy” was the star of the show. This 13-14 foot male was the alpha for the area, and he spent hours with us every day, to the point where Audrey started referring to the good dives as the “Andy show”, and cheered whenever he could grab one of the baits before one of the boat’s “shark wranglers” could yank it away. While it obviously would have been a dramatically different experience without cages, from the safety of a cage we were able to watch the sharks stalk the baits, interact with one another during the times where two or more sharks were at the boat, and also just kind of sit back and gasp every time a giant fish with rows of razor-sharp teeth swam by.
It’s gratifying, and a little bit terrifying, to know that places like this one exist in the world. Looking out from the top of the boat and seeing massive shadows and fins in the water is a reminder that Earth has a primordial and savage side that humans mostly don’t see anymore. It’s also gratifying to have gained that knowledge from behind the safety of reinforced steel cages.