Get to know “Screaming Mimi” Great White Shark at Guadalupe Island

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We met “Screaming Mimi” a couple of years ago. When I first encountered her, I nicknamed her “Kinky”.  She has a very distinct kink in her tail. I have no idea what caused that kink, since she doesn’t have any obvious scars or signs of injury. She was named “Screaming Mimi” by someone through the “Sponsor a shark” program of the Marine Conservation Science Institute. That sponsor program, is one of the ways they raise funds for the Photo ID database at Guadalupe Island.

Mimi is a very active and curious shark. When she encounters something new in the water, she exhibits a typical white shark trait. Unlike what most people think, white sharks don’t just attack when they encounter something they don’t know. They swim by close to check it out. It is actually quite funny some times. A couple of years ago, a beach towel blew overboard and started to drift down. 3 white sharks came by to investigate it. 2 of them jerked away and rapidly swam away, when the towel moved a little in the current. The 3rd. one kept swimming close to it, jerking away, and getting closer again. I don’t know if it eventually bit the towel or not, as I lost sight of both the shark and the towel in the distance.

Watch the video below of Mimi checking out my gopro camera that was attached to a long pole and handled from the boat.

You can see that they don’t just attack something they don’t know. The swim by and check things out first.

Screaming Mimi ©Tim Peterson

Mimi also likes to swim really close to the cages and makes eye contact with the divers.

Mimi is around 14′ long and not quite mature yet. It is amazing how big these sharks have to be, before they are mature and able to reproduce.

I hope we’ll see her again this year. She loves to swim around the cages, sometimes for hours. It never ceases to amaze me that we keep seeing the same individual sharks year after year. It’s not like they are resident sharks. The migrate thousands of miles each year, but come right back to the same spot at Guadalupe Island.

If you want to come face to face with a great white shark and would like to learn how to identify these sharks, join us on one of our “science” expeditions. We do have some spaces open and would love to introduce you to our sharks.

Call 619.887.4275, email crew@sharkdiver.com or visit www.sharkdiver.com for more information.

Let’s go shark diving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Get to know “Screaming Mimi” Great White Shark at Guadalupe Island

Instagram 
We met “Screaming Mimi” a couple of years ago. When I first encountered her, I nicknamed her “Kinky”.  She has a very distinct kink in her tail. I have no idea what caused that kink, since she doesn’t have any obvious scars or signs of injury. She was named “Screaming Mimi” by someone through the “Sponsor a shark” program of the Marine Conservation Science Institute. That sponsor program, is one of the ways they raise funds for the Photo ID database at Guadalupe Island.

Mimi is a very active and curious shark. When she encounters something new in the water, she exhibits a typical white shark trait. Unlike what most people think, white sharks don’t just attack when they encounter something they don’t know. They swim by close to check it out. It is actually quite funny some times. A couple of years ago, a beach towel blew overboard and started to drift down. 3 white sharks came by to investigate it. 2 of them jerked away and rapidly swam away, when the towel moved a little in the current. The 3rd. one kept swimming close to it, jerking away, and getting closer again. I don’t know if it eventually bit the towel or not, as I lost sight of both the shark and the towel in the distance.

Watch the video below of Mimi checking out my gopro camera that was attached to a long pole and handled from the boat.

You can see that they don’t just attack something they don’t know. The swim by and check things out first.

Screaming Mimi ©Tim Peterson

Mimi also likes to swim really close to the cages and makes eye contact with the divers.

Mimi is around 14′ long and not quite mature yet. It is amazing how big these sharks have to be, before they are mature and able to reproduce.

I hope we’ll see her again this year. She loves to swim around the cages, sometimes for hours. It never ceases to amaze me that we keep seeing the same individual sharks year after year. It’s not like they are resident sharks. The migrate thousands of miles each year, but come right back to the same spot at Guadalupe Island.

If you want to come face to face with a great white shark and would like to learn how to identify these sharks, join us on one of our “science” expeditions. We do have some spaces open and would love to introduce you to our sharks.

Call 619.887.4275, email crew@sharkdiver.com or visit www.sharkdiver.com for more information.

Let’s go shark diving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Get to know “Lucy” Great White Shark at Guadalupe Island

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I love “Lucy”, and I’m not referring to the popular TV show in the 50ies. “Lucy” is a large female Great White Shark, that is regularly visiting Guadalupe Island. Most mature females are only seen every other year. They mate at Guadalupe Island and then stay away from the Island until after they give birth off the coast of Baja and in the Sea of Cortes, about 18 months after they get pregnant at Guadalupe.

Unfortunately “Lucy” doesn’t seem to get pregnant. In 2008 she suffered and injury to her tail, most likely from a bite by another shark. Her tail is pretty much mangled and it probably affects her speed. I don’t know if that’s the reason she doesn’t seem to get pregnant, but we have seen her every season, for the last 9 years.

“Lucy’s” tail makes it very easy to identify her. Usually we identify the individual sharks by their coloration. The transition from the white underbelly to the grey top is unique for every individual. Some people try to identify the sharks by their scars. That is how “Bite Face” got his name. The problem with scars is that they heal and if that is the only identifying characteristic you have, you would not recognize that same shark when it comes back the following year. Mutilations, like Lucy’s tail don’t change and can be used in conjunction with the markings to identify her. We have a photo id database that is managed by Nicole Nasby-Lucas from the Marince Conservation Science Institute, with over 220 individual sharks in identified.

If you are coming out on one of our “science” expeditions, you’ll get a chance to learn how to identify these sharks from Nicole herself. You will also get the complete photo ID database, so you can identify all the sharks you encountered and what’s really cool, you will then be able to identify the sharks you see on TV. How awesome will it be, when you see a shark on TV and realize that this is the individual that swam inches from your face at Guadalupe?

Even with her tail slowing her down, she seems to be healthy in every other way. She is definitely getting enough food and is holding her own among all the sharks at the Island. Lucy is a very curious shark and she swims very close to the cages, making eye contact with our divers as she is gliding by slowly.

I hope to see Lucy when we return in the fall. I do have mixed emotions though. While I would love to see her, it would of course mean that she didn’t get pregnant again last season.

If you would like to join us, or just get more information, call 619.887.4275, email crew@sharkdiver.com or visit our website www.sharkdiver.com

Let’s go sharkdiving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Get to know “Lucy” Great White Shark at Guadalupe Island

Instagram 
I love “Lucy”, and I’m not referring to the popular TV show in the 50ies. “Lucy” is a large female Great White Shark, that is regularly visiting Guadalupe Island. Most mature females are only seen every other year. They mate at Guadalupe Island and then stay away from the Island until after they give birth off the coast of Baja and in the Sea of Cortes, about 18 months after they get pregnant at Guadalupe.

Unfortunately “Lucy” doesn’t seem to get pregnant. In 2008 she suffered and injury to her tail, most likely from a bite by another shark. Her tail is pretty much mangled and it probably affects her speed. I don’t know if that’s the reason she doesn’t seem to get pregnant, but we have seen her every season, for the last 9 years.

“Lucy’s” tail makes it very easy to identify her. Usually we identify the individual sharks by their coloration. The transition from the white underbelly to the grey top is unique for every individual. Some people try to identify the sharks by their scars. That is how “Bite Face” got his name. The problem with scars is that they heal and if that is the only identifying characteristic you have, you would not recognize that same shark when it comes back the following year. Mutilations, like Lucy’s tail don’t change and can be used in conjunction with the markings to identify her. We have a photo id database that is managed by Nicole Nasby-Lucas from the Marince Conservation Science Institute, with over 220 individual sharks in identified.

If you are coming out on one of our “science” expeditions, you’ll get a chance to learn how to identify these sharks from Nicole herself. You will also get the complete photo ID database, so you can identify all the sharks you encountered and what’s really cool, you will then be able to identify the sharks you see on TV. How awesome will it be, when you see a shark on TV and realize that this is the individual that swam inches from your face at Guadalupe?

Even with her tail slowing her down, she seems to be healthy in every other way. She is definitely getting enough food and is holding her own among all the sharks at the Island. Lucy is a very curious shark and she swims very close to the cages, making eye contact with our divers as she is gliding by slowly.

I hope to see Lucy when we return in the fall. I do have mixed emotions though. While I would love to see her, it would of course mean that she didn’t get pregnant again last season.

If you would like to join us, or just get more information, call 619.887.4275, email crew@sharkdiver.com or visit our website www.sharkdiver.com

Let’s go sharkdiving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Is cage diving safe?

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A lot of you have seen the news coverage of 2 recent cage diving incidents and are wondering, “Is cage diving really safe?”

First of all I want to point out that neither of these incidents happened involved our company. We have been operating safe and sane shark dives for 16 years, without any incidents.

In the latest video you can see that the shark is going after a hang bait that is just laying in front of the cage. This is mistake by the bait handler. The bait was too close to the cage and should have been removed. Excerpt from the regulations for Guadalupe: The permit holder shall ensure that the bait line is immediately removed from the water if the white shark following the bait approaches within 6.5 feet (2 m) of the vessel.

When the shark was going after a bait, it rolled it’s eyes back and lunged for the bait. When it did that, it was essentially blind and it’s momentum carried it into the cage. Since it can’t swim backwards, it just started thrashing around blindly, eventually coming out of the top of the cage.

There is nothing wrong with using hang-baits. Responsible use of hang-baits actually enhances safety, as it allows us to direct the shark. The shark typically follows the bait and when it lunges for it, the follow through is in the same direction. Proper use allows us to lead the shark parallel to the cage instead of into it, as happened in the video above.

You don’t have to have the bait close to the cage to get great shots.

In addition to adhering to all the established safety standards, our cages are made out of round tubing which is both stronger than the square one and safer for the sharks, since it doesn’t have any sharp corners. We also only use surface cages with a redundant air supply, that are securely attached to our vessel.

Back to the general safety question. While nothing is ever 100% safe, so far in innumerable cage dives around the world, there have been zero fatalities, which is to say, it is far safer than recreational SCUBA diving.

Let’s go shark diving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Is cage diving safe?

Instagram 

A lot of you have seen the news coverage of 2 recent cage diving incidents and are wondering, “Is cage diving really safe?”

First of all I want to point out that neither of these incidents happened involved our company. We have been operating safe and sane shark dives for 16 years, without any incidents.

In the latest video you can see that the shark is going after a hang bait that is just laying in front of the cage. This is mistake by the bait handler. The bait was too close to the cage and should have been removed. Excerpt from the regulations for Guadalupe: The permit holder shall ensure that the bait line is immediately removed from the water if the white shark following the bait approaches within 6.5 feet (2 m) of the vessel.

When the shark was going after a bait, it rolled it’s eyes back and lunged for the bait. When it did that, it was essentially blind and it’s momentum carried it into the cage. Since it can’t swim backwards, it just started thrashing around blindly, eventually coming out of the top of the cage.

There is nothing wrong with using hang-baits. Responsible use of hang-baits actually enhances safety, as it allows us to direct the shark. The shark typically follows the bait and when it lunges for it, the follow through is in the same direction. Proper use allows us to lead the shark parallel to the cage instead of into it, as happened in the video above.

You don’t have to have the bait close to the cage to get great shots.

In addition to adhering to all the established safety standards, our cages are made out of round tubing which is both stronger than the square one and safer for the sharks, since it doesn’t have any sharp corners. We also only use surface cages with a redundant air supply, that are securely attached to our vessel.

Back to the general safety question. While nothing is ever 100% safe, so far in innumerable cage dives around the world, there have been zero fatalities, which is to say, it is far safer than recreational SCUBA diving.

Let’s go shark diving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Update from Guadalupe Island

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We just completed our 4th expedition to Guadalupe this year and the sharks have been amazing. Unlike in previous years, we are seeing more juvenile females than males this season. There have been over 10 new sharks already and every trip we encounter more new “friends”. On each expedition, we encountered over 18 different sharks, swimming along with seals, turtles and dolphins.

One of our new visitors

 As for the regulars, they have been slow to show their faces. So far we have seen “Joker” and “Chugey”, who looks amazing by the way. His injuries from a few years ago show fewer and fewer remaining scars.

“Chugey” on 8-11-2016

As a reminder, here is what he looked like 2 years ago.

On our last day of our most recent expedition, Bite Face, another long time regular at Guadalupe Island made an appearance for the first time, but most of the sharks we’ve seen so far have been more recent additions to our database. Amiria, Freya, Screaming Mimi, Andy, #198 and Micks are among those encountered so far.
One of our new sharks inspecting the cages

Tonight we are heading back to Guadalupe where I hope we’ll encounter more of our old friends. This is my 16th season diving with these sharks and I’m more excited to head down there than I was on my first expedition.

If you would like to join us on a future expedition or just want some information, contact us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com 

I hope to get to introduce you to the amazing great white sharks at Guadalupe Island soon!

Let’s go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Update from Guadalupe Island

Instagram 
We just completed our 4th expedition to Guadalupe this year and the sharks have been amazing. Unlike in previous years, we are seeing more juvenile females than males this season. There have been over 10 new sharks already and every trip we encounter more new “friends”. On each expedition, we encountered over 18 different sharks, swimming along with seals, turtles and dolphins.

One of our new visitors

 As for the regulars, they have been slow to show their faces. So far we have seen “Joker” and “Chugey”, who looks amazing by the way. His injuries from a few years ago show fewer and fewer remaining scars.

“Chugey” on 8-11-2016

As a reminder, here is what he looked like 2 years ago.

On our last day of our most recent expedition, Bite Face, another long time regular at Guadalupe Island made an appearance for the first time, but most of the sharks we’ve seen so far have been more recent additions to our database. Amiria, Freya, Screaming Mimi, Andy, #198 and Micks are among those encountered so far.
One of our new sharks inspecting the cages

Tonight we are heading back to Guadalupe where I hope we’ll encounter more of our old friends. This is my 16th season diving with these sharks and I’m more excited to head down there than I was on my first expedition.

If you would like to join us on a future expedition or just want some information, contact us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com 

I hope to get to introduce you to the amazing great white sharks at Guadalupe Island soon!

Let’s go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.