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Cage Launch

Cage Launch

Female California Sea

Lion with pup

Male Guadalupe Fur Seal

Male Guadalupe Fur Seal

Female Elephant Seals

Female Elephant Seals

Female Elephant Seal

Great White Shark

Tuna bait, about to go


Photo by Sandra Critelli

Photo by Sandra Critelli

The Great White Sharks of Isla Guadalupe,

September 2008

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Two hundred  and thirty miles southwest of San Diego is the (very) remote island of

Guadalupe, uninhabited except for a small Mexican naval station. But the island is

permanent home for the Guadalupe Fur Seal, a small Labrador dog sized pinneped,

California Sea Lions and Northern Elephant Seals. Only the female Elephant Seals are

here in September, the giant one ton plus males will not arrive until November. The

other big seasonal visitor is the awesome and unjustly vilified Great White Shark.

They show up at the beginning of a Yellowfin Tuna run and  while the seal pups are

abundant (and inexperienced). The sharks migrate down the western coast of the US

and start arriving in late August.

This trip was arranged with Paul "Doc" Anes of San Diego Shark Diving, a specialty

operator who I have been diving with since 1991.  Our home for five days was the

"Andrea Lynn" a Mexican flagged vessel that left from Ensenada, it's about 18 hours

to get to the island from there.

Like most remote oceanic islands, Guadalupe has special character to it. Sheer

volcanic origin cliffs, unpolluted blue water, a small cedar tree cloud forest at the top.

But the dozen different Great Whites we were able to get to see, lured by tuna "baits"

in the water were the highlight. And yes, we were in cages on this trip!