A BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS TRIP REPORT
SALMON SHARKS 2017
IN A NUTSHELL: Another great trip to Alaska.
Excellent salmon shark encounters around the boat, surreal
diving in jelly blooms, giant pacific octopuses and wolf
eels on the reef dives and topside encounters with orcas!
The salmon shark action on this year's trip
got better every day. On the first day the sharks were
completely absent. It was mildly disturbing to not see any
but we knew that they were still in the area because the
salmon were running.
On the second day one of our guests saw one
underwater while we were diving on a Moon Jelly Bloom. That
was more reassuring but we still needed to get them to the
On day three we went back to 'Shark Alley'
where we have had the best success in previous years and
sure enough, there were fins at the surface. We slid into
the water while our host threw in a few fish and then cast a
line with a mackerel attached (no hook of course). This is
how you lead salmon sharks to the boat.
Sure enough, a lightning fast salmon shark
streaked in and snatched the fish off the line right in
front of us while we snapped away with our cameras.
From this point on, the shark activity
continued to build. By the last day, we sharks all day and
we quickly made up for lost time, shooting image after image
of the sharks in action. It was an excellent photoshoot!
MOON JELLY BLOOMS
This year, by popular demand, we concentrated
heavily on diving in the moon jelly blooms. You may think
jellyfish diving sounds a bit dull but it was so much fun
and such a beautiful spectacle that everyone wanted to keep
Living in the Pacific northwest, I am used to
seeing clouds of moon jellies and large lionsmane jellyfish
but the blooms in Prince William Sound are much larger and
denser than anything I have encountered before. There must
have been hundreds of thousands of moon jellies in some of
the blooms. They were so thick that it was impossible to see
more than a few inches in some spots. Swimming into and
emerging out of the blooms made for some great selfie
Some of the jellies had resident fishes that
I had not seen before. Pacific fish expert Milton Love
thinks these may be juvenile oarfish - a species that is
difficult to find as adults let alone in juvenile form.
In one of the lionsmane jellies I also saw a
crested sculpin. The fish seemed impervious to the jelly's
highly toxic tentacles.
The reef diving was pretty good but we did
not make it out to the high current areas where the
invertebrate life is out of control because we were fixated
on the sharks.
Next time I'll make a point of getting out to
the best sites. But, even in the low current areas, we came
across fields of giant plumose anemones, octopuses and wolf
eels so maybe I am being a little too critical :)
Personally, I am very excited about heading
back next year. If you want to get great shots of an apex
predator that few divers have ever seen, this is your
chance! Join our 2018 Salmon Shark Expedition