Friday, August 25, 2017

Six new sharks at Guadalupe Island


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This season has started out completely different from the last. Where we had lots of juvenile females early last year, this season it has been all males so far. On our last expedition, we saw 30 different Great White Sharks, with 6 of them being first timers.

The Marine Conservation Science Institute marinecsi.org is keeping the photo ID database and you can contact them if you are interested in naming one of these sharks. I don't want to keep referring to them as "Unknown 1" etc. Naming a shark is a great way to support the research and how cool would it be if you see "your" shark on sharkweek?

The only female we have seen so far this season is "Screaming Mimi". She is as active and curious as she was last year and has given our divers many memorable moments.

Aside from all the new sharks, we have also been visited by a lot of our regulars. Bruce, Bite Face, Chugey, Andy, Hunter, Silent Hunter Bolton, Ace, El Diablo, Johnny, Jacques, Mickey, Sad Face, ChumChum, Thor, Atlantis, Drogin, Joker, Monkey, Hooper, Horizon along with a few that are as of now unnamed, have all made an appearance. We had 30 different individuals on our last expedition!

Here are a few of our new sharks.

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To sponsor one of these beauties, contact MCSI here.

To join us on one of our expeditions, contact crew@sharkdiver.com or call 619.887.4275

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.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The big white sharks are back at Guadalupe!


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We just got back from our second Great White Shark expedition to Guadalupe Island last night and are happy to report that the big boys are back in town! On our first day, Bite Face showed up. He has been present every single year, since we first met him in 2001. A little after Bite Face, Chugey made an appearance and chased some hangbaits by the cages. Chugey has been a regular since 2004. On day two, Bruce, one of the biggest males we regularly see came back. Bruce has also been there every season since 2001.

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Chugey with the Smyth family at Guadalupe Island

It is absolutely amazing to see how these sharks come back year after year. To think that we see the same individuals for this many years just blows my mind.

Aside from these guys we originally encountered during our first year at Guadalupe back in 2001, some of our other old time favorites showed up as well. Mau whom we first met in 2006, Johnny from 2005, Joker, Drogin and El Diablo from 2007 are all back. That is eight sharks that have all been there every single years for at least 10 years!

Jeanine with El Diablo
Of our more recent acquaintances, Monkey from 2011, Hooper and Luca Arnone from 2013, #186 from 2016 (he needs a name by the way, contact MCSI to sponsor his name) and finally Husker, Mickey and Poseidon who first showed up last year all made an appearance.

#205 Mickey
This season has been different from last year, where we encountered many small females in early August. This year it's been all males. It never ceases to amaze me that after all these years diving with the Great White Sharks at Guadalupe, they keep surprising us. For anyone trying to figure them out, in my experience, I find them to be predictably unpredictable.

Come join us on one of our expeditions and find out first hand that experiencing these amazing creatures in real life is completely different from anything you see on TV.

Call us at 619.887.4275 or email crew@sharkdiver.com for more info.

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.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Which sharks are back at Guadalupe Island?


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We just came back from our first expedition of the year to Guadalupe Island, where we saw 12 different sharks. As is usual for this time of the year, the smaller males were the most frequent visitors to our cages. On our trip we saw the following sharks that are all in our photo ID database.

#107 Atlantis: He was the first shark that showed up on day one and stayed around all day.


#65 Johnny: He came really close to show off his new mutilation to his tail. He's now sporting a cut in the center of his caudal fin.



#206 Poseidon: He was super active and made may close passes by the cage.


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#97 Drogin: Drogin was his usual self. He's a super active shark, coming at the cages from all different directions, trying to steal a hang bait.


#188: We can't leave this shark without a name! How would you like to name him? Contact http://www.marinecsi.org/ and sponsor his name! Make it a cool one! He deserves it!


#149 Kenrick: He was one of the bigger males that showed up and swam around like he's the boss. He's still a sub-adult though and won't be the dominant one, once Bruce, Bite Face, Thor etc. show up.


#168 Sad Face: He was named last year, because he had bite marks that looked like a sad face on his side. This year those marks were barely noticeable, so it's a good thing that we can use the color markings to positively identify him.



#121 Don Julian: He's growing up. Last time I saw him, he was probably close to a foot shorter than he is now. Maybe in a couple of years he'll be mature.



#199 Who wants to name this awesome shark? Contact the Marine Conservation Science Institute to sponsor his name.

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#186 He came by with a bunch of pilot fish. He can also be named by contacting http://www.marinecsi.org/


#83 Joker He was pretty shy and didn't come close.


We also saw a young male with a cookie cutter bite on his head, but I didn't get any photos of him, so I couldn't identify him.

Tonight we leave for another trip. I can't wait to see who else is back at Guadalupe and am ready to meet some new sharks. Last year we added 29 new sharks to our database, how many will it be this year?

Come join us and get to know these awesome creatures. How great would it be to know the individual shark, next time you watch shark week? Call 619.887.4275 or email crew@sharkdiver.com for more information on how to join.
www.sharkdiver.com

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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Great White Shark "Lucy" in the media.


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Just as we are about to embark on our first Great White Shark expedition of 2017, there is a piece about Lucy, one of our favorite sharks, in the media. The piece is by none other than Lalo Saidy, our instructor on these expeditions.


Read all about what he had to say and see some great pictures of "Lucy" here.

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Come join me and Lalo on one of our expeditions this year. We have just a few spaces left. Let's find out if Lucy is back again and see who else shows up. Experience your own "real sharkweek" and discover what it's like to come face to face with a great white shark!

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

Lets 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.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How can you have your own private "Shark Week"?



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Next week we start our 17th season at Guadalupe Island, diving with Great White Sharks.

Kinga Phillips has been coming out with us twice so far, and she's written an excellent blog about her experience and how you can have your own private shark week.


I like how she described the Great White Shark: "The highlight of the trip is spending cage time face to face with one of nature’s most incredible examples of the perfect predatory form. So perfect evolution took one look at her design roughly 100 million years ago, dropped the mic and walked away."



She provides a lot of insight, not just about the actual experience of diving with Great White Sharks, but about conservation and eco tourism as well.

Read her entire blog here

For more information on how you can experience your own "real sharkweek", call us at 619.887.4275, email crew@sharkdiver.com or visit www.sharkdiver.com

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.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

47 meters down, review by Cindy Michaels


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Shark Diver's Communications Director, Cindy Michaels is not just the heart and soul of our company, she's also a former writer, broadcaster, news director and professional movie reviewer.
Her review of 47 Meters Down combines her experience from her previous work, with the knowledge she has about the subject matter of the movie, Shark Diving.

Enjoy her review!

Cheers,
Martin

By Cindy Michaels,

Before I begin my informative rant about the movie 47 Meters Down, keep in mind that the film was originally only meant for a 2016 DVD release under the name In the Deep. (My grandmother always said, "leave well enough alone." Apparently, they didn't listen to my g-ma.) A film company bought the rights, recalled the DVDs, and it was unfortunately released on the big screen. But some DVD copies that had already been distributed to retailers landed in the hands of the public. So if it becomes a cult classic, those DVD holders may be able to make an extra buck for owning a collector's item. My suggestion... recycle at your local redemption center.

The movie: I laughed; and frustratingly so. Mandy 'Moan' Moore stars in this unrealistic film about two sisters that venture to Mexico for a little R and R. The girls get sweet-talked by a couple of local guys into taking a shark dive in a surface cage. Now, I would normally say..."good move, guys!" But the boat was rusty, rickety, and run by a scruffy Captain Taylor, played by Matthew Modine. Ohhhh Matt.


Anyway, things go horribly wrong and the cage drops 47 meters down. Yada yada yada. That's 154 feet! Have any of you dived that far down? If so, you know your dive time changes dramatically; air is used 4.7 times faster at that level. But for Kate and Lisa, or rather the writers of this mess, no rules apply. The girls are having conversation, hugging each other, and yes, Mandy Moore cannot stop moaning. They just would not have had the time to do all that. One intake from all her crying would have used up the air she had left. And for the amount of times each of them tried to swim to the surface but were told to go back down to the cage...seriously? If you've already gone half way, keep swimming! Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

I ponder this one. Why did all the guys that took them on this venture hang around topside with spear guns, waiting for the girls to be rescued by the Coast Guard? If Kate and Lisa make it to the top, there's NO WAY the boys are getting another date! "Hello, Mr. Coast Guard man, what's your name?" And where are the big beautiful great whites? There really weren't that many in this film. Clearly Bruce or Lucy would have said 'hello.' They must have found more entertaining places to swim, like Guadalupe Island, chatting it up with our divers!

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Ok, for those of you (and there's got to be at least 1) who are a tad bit apprehensive about cage diving, after nervously sitting through 47 Meters Down, let me reassure you of some vital things.
Our cages are awesome! They are reinforced with floatation material bolted to the INSIDE and indestructible, water-tight dock floats secured to the outside; four on each cage. The cages are tied together and then attached to the boat at 3 points by chains and lines.

our surface cages are attacked to the vessel
My friend, the cages are secure; they are basically an extension of the boat.
And just for giggles, I'll tell you this. If our crew was in that movie, they would have jumped overboard to save Kate and Lisa with their bare hands, strong arm muscles, and fearless attitudes! All would be safely brought on board OUR VESSEL, just in time for a lovely sit-down dinner specially prepared by our fabulous chefs, Mark and Shay.



So, please don't let Mandy Moore moan you into being afraid of cage diving with us. It is an incredible experience where we INVITE shark folk, like Bruce, Lucy, Chugey, Scarboard and the rest of our fishy friends, to come say 'hi.' If they were willing, we'd invite them to dinner. Mark! Prepare the tuna!


~Shark Diver has been diving with great white sharks for 16 years with a 100% safety record. Our great white shark diving season at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico runs from August-November. We take 18 divers per trip and treat our guests to 3 meals a day, unlimited snacks, beer and wine, a comfy bed and fluffy pillow, and lots of excitement. Dive equipment provided, no certification necessary, shark-sighting guaranteed. We love the sharks and you will too. Come dive with us! www.SharkDiver.com

Let's go Shark Diving!

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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Get to know the Great White Sharks of Guadalupe Island


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Over the last couple of weeks I wrote about a few of the Great White Sharks we encounter at Guadalupe Island. Before I introduce you to more of those, I want to tell you a bit about the sharks we are less familiar with. While we have a lot of sharks we see every year, or every other year for the females, there are many that don't follow that pattern. Some sharks we have only seen during one season, while others visit Guadalupe at irregular intervals.

"Geoff Nuttall" was a regular from 2003 until 2011, then he wasn't seen for 2 years, before returning to his annual returns in 2014.

"Geoff Nuttall"
Quezalcoatl, #58 in our database was first seen in 2005 and then didn't appear until 2013, an absence of 8 years. Where did he go during those 8 years? While we have really good tracking data from the sharks that were outfitted with satellite tags, showing the migration pattern of the sharks we see regularly, we have no data on where the shark we see infrequently are going. There is so much we don't know.

#56 Quetztalcoatl
Dr. Bob, a very curious and active 13" sub-adult shark only visited in 2014, the now world famous "Deep Blue" was seen in 1999 and then again in 2012. "Lou", "Oscar" and "Hefe" all had absences of 6 or more years, before showing up again. Some of these absences may simply be due to them not showing up at the cages during those years. We simply don't know.

Below is a video of "Dr. Bob". Check out his bite marks on the right and look at his eyes as he swims over the camera. He's looking straight down at the divers.

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My favorite shark, "Shredder" has not been seen since 2011, after 11 continuous years at Guadalupe. I hope that his absence is just like those of the other sharks that were taking a break from visiting Guadalupe, but I have to say that I'm worried about him. He's never been the most careful individual in the first place, as evidenced by his many scars and mutilations.

Anyway, I can't wait to go back to Guadalupe and see who's back. I'm equally excited to meet some new sharks. In the last 2 years we added over 50 new individuals to our database! Are they going to be back? Come join us for a real "sharkweek" and find out!

Call us at 619.887.4275, email crew@sharkdiver.com or visit www.sharkdiver.com for more info.

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.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Get to know "Luca Arnone" Great White Shark at Guadalupe Island


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"Luca Arnone" listed as #163, is one of our recent additions to the photo ID database at Guadalupe Island. We first met him in 2013 and he has been coming back every year since.


Last year "Luca" looked a bit rough. He was partially wrapped in a thick rope, which fortunately was being removed by Dr. Mauricio Hoyos, the local researcher at Guadalupe Island. The cut caused by the rope was not too deep and since white sharks have an amazing ability to heal, it should not cause him any permanent harm.


"Luca" is a fairly small shark, probably just shy of 12', but he doesn't seem to mind the bigger sharks and is a frequent visitor to our cages. 


Luca was named by one of our diver, who named 2 different sharks, one after his son, Luca and the other after his daughter Milana. Naming a shark is one way you can support the ongoing research at Guadalupe Island. The Marine Science Conservation Institute, "MCSI" who maintains the photo ID has various levels of sponsorship available, including naming a shark.

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Another way you can support "MCSI" is by coming on one of our "science" trips. A portion of these expeditions goes to fund the research and Nicole Lucas-Nasby, the researcher maintaining that database is coming along as the host. She is sharing the results of her research with you and if we encounter a new shark, you'll also have an opportunity to name that shark. How cool would it be, if you see a shark that you named on "Sharkweek"?

If you want to find our for yourself what it's like to come face to face with a great white shark and maybe name one of these sharks, come join us on one of our 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.

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.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Get to know "Scarboard" Great White Shark at Guadalupe Island


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"Scarboard" is another one of my favorite sharks. You're probably beginning to see a pattern here. I have a lot of "favorite" sharks. It's is amazing how all these sharks have different behaviors. Some are a bit skiddish, others are seemingly relaxed without a care in the world. Observing them for 16 years, I have grown attached to these guys and girls. However, as I always point out, I absolutely love these sharks, I'm crazy about them, but it is NOT a mutual feeling. As much as some people want you to believe that they just want to be hugged, they really don't. They are awesome predators, not out to get us, but they are not harmless pets either.

"Scarboard"

Scarboard is a massive female shark, one of our biggest at Guadalupe Island at around 19'. When we first met her in 2002, she was already huge. Like most of our adult females, she shows up at Guadalupe Island every other year. After getting mating at Guadalupe, she is spending the year in between offshore, before giving birth off the coast of Baja or in the Sea of Cortez. She doesn't have any mutilations, like "Lucy" and so many others, but she does have a very unique characteristic that makes identifying her easy. She has a very distinct line from her nose halfway to her dorsal fin. Where most Great White Sharks' lines have a continuous curve, Scarboard's is straight.

"Scarboard"
After we first encountered her in 2002, she came back in 04 and 06, but then we didn't see her again until 2011. We don't know, if we simply didn't see her, or if she stayed away from Guadalupe for 5 years.

When we don't see a shark during the season we expect to see them, we always worry that something might have happened to them. Luckily, sometimes, like in Scarboard's case, we worry about nothing. Where do they go during that extended time away from the Island, what do they do? There is so much we don't know about those sharks.

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The first time we saw Scarboard, after her 5 year absence, I was in the middle of our 2 cages, she slowly swam by the first cage, checking out each individual diver and when she came to me, she looked me straight into the eyes, stopped and did a 180 degree turn, looked at me again, swam off, turned and swam back at me, stopped again, turned and swam off. It looks like that she recognized me, even after a 5 year absence.

Last season "Scarboard" was being used for protection by some bait fish. I've never seen anything like that before. When she swam by, she looked like the "Bearded Lady".

Scarboard the "Bearded Lady"
 
A lot of people are surprised to learn that Great White Sharks recognize individual divers. The fact that they do is not as strange as it seems. We know of lots of fish that recognize divers. Groupers that have a favorite individual they follow around, moray eels that come out of their holes when they recognize a diver, Wolf eels that wrap themselves around the neck of an individual etc. It's important to remember though, just because White Sharks recognize individual divers, doesn't mean that they "love" us, want to be petted, or have any feelings towards us. We need to respect them for what they are, amazing predators, neither mindless killers, nor harmless pets.

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For me there is nothing quite like seeing a familiar shark and realize it recognizes me as well. It still amazes me that we keep seeing the same individuals on a regular basis. They migrate thousands of miles, but come right back to the same spot.

If you want to find our for yourself what it's like to come face to face with a great white shark and want 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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

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.

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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.

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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.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

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.

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"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.

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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.