you can see from the pictures, Guadalupe Island delivered
some amazing great white shark action this year. From the
moment we dropped anchor, white sharks started gathering
under our boat and they stayed until the very end of the
last day when we pulled anchor and headed back to the
There were always one or two sharks close to the boat. At
the busiest point we counted 8 different white sharks at the
same time but there may have been even more just beyond our
range of vision.
well as exceptionally good great white shark action, we were
fortunate enough to have crystal clear water and flat calm
seas so the photographic opportunities were outstanding.
Watching these enormous predators swim gracefully by while
shards of sunlight rippled off their backs was a magical
has been a few years since I visited Guadalupe Island and I
was keen to shoot the action from as many different
angles as possible to convey the changing moods of the island.
Fortunately, the current held the boat in the perfect
position to capture endless sunsplashes as the afternoons
drew to a close.
With such mill pond flat conditions it was a great
opportunity for some of the photographers in the group to
try their luck at split shots - images that capture the the
terrestrial world and the aquatic realm at the same time.
After a little trial and error I realized that the best way
to nail good over/under images of white sharks was to skip a
couple of turns underwater and sit on top of the cages instead.
That way I could dip my camera right in the path of the
sharks while the wrangler drew them past me.
Traditionally, the divers get out of the water at sunset but
the action was so good that we stayed in or on the cages
long after the sun had disappeared behind the island. That
led to some epic shots of white sharks appearing from the
Not everyone brought a camera. Some guests just wanted to
experience the rush of an enormous great white shark sliding
by them within touching distance.
The mission of the shark wranglers was not to
actually feed the sharks but to encourage them to stay near
the cages. However, some of the more persistent
sharks eventually stole a scrap or two by launching at the
hang baits from odd angles that the wranglers couldn't see.
Occasionally, the sharks would make a run at
the bait and end up pressed up against one of the cages.
Fortunately, the sharks are hardy enough to come away
completely unscathed and the cages are robust enough to
withstand the impact.
We stayed in the cages until the light levels
dropped so low that our cameras could no longer focus. Snapping
sharp focus portraits of white sharks framed against the
blackness was an interesting new challenge. Eventually, we
reluctantly climbed waterlogged back on deck to warm
up and begin the downloading process to make room for
more images the following day.
By the end of our fourth day at sea, we had
seem more individual white sharks than I have ever seen on a
trip to Guadalupe. Some sharks we were able to identify in
our ship's white shark guide - a thick photographic index of
all the white sharks seen at Guadalupe to date. One of the
easiest sharks for us to spot was Mele a large male
that has a distinctive growth on one cheek.
Each year at Guadalupe the male white sharks
arrive first. by September the females are starting to
trickle in so it was nice to see a few females in the mix on
Check out the some of the highlights in this
great white shark video by John Dickinson:
At the end of the trip we got back to land
later than intended because one of the ships motors had some
issues but other than that it was an epic adventure with a
great group of shark fanatics. Next year we will be back at
Guadalupe but in October when the sharks are even bigger!
Join us there:
He has photographed and dived with more sharks than most
people on this planet and he's very good at it.
Andy's images and shark stories have appeared in hundreds
of books and magazines around the world from titles as varied as
Canadian Geographic, Scuba Diving, FHM, Digital Photography, and
the Journal of Zoology.
Andy is the Creator of the ever expanding
Shark and Ray Field
Guide on Elasmodiver.com
When not running big animal expeditions or on
photographic assignments, Andy lives and dives on Vancouver Island,
Andy is also the driving force behind
the PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT
which shines a spotlight on many endangered species of sharks and
rays that are largely overlooked by mainstream conservation groups.
Predators In Peril is entirely funded by Big Fish Expeditions.