Archive for September 2006

Seven Shark Species in Seven Days   Leave a comment

California was amazing. Not a single day went by without some kind of shark interaction. I spent the first day of the trip snorkeling with a large aggregation of Leopard Sharks (Triakis semifasciata) off of La Jolla in San Diego. Despite the low visibility this would have been a great start but to top off the experience a shy Grey Smoothhound Shark swum by for a quick cameo. Sadly the shark pictures tell the story of how much sand was being kicked up but regardless of the grainy results I was thrilled to encounter these two species and I look forward to uploading the images as soon as possible.

Day two involved a trip out into the gulf with a new friend – Walter Heim. Walter has been tagging Mako Sharks off the San Diego coast for some years. Prior to this he was a recreational shark fisherman but as the numbers of Blues and Makos declined in the 90’s he switched hats and he now gathers data for Shark Tagger. I spent three glorious hours in the water with two small Mako Sharks and a couple of Blues. The offshore viz was great compared to La Jolla and the Mako Shark Pictures speak for themselves.

I spent the third day on Catalina Island terrorizing Horn Sharks and searching in vain for Soupfin Sharks. In close proximity to the Horn Sharks I stumbled on a number of Swell Shark egg capsules and although I didn’t see any adult Swell Sharks its good to know that they are there somewhere and busy procreating.

On day four I hooked up with Ron Clough who organizes the California Shark and Ray Count. Ron and his band of volunteers keep tabs on all species of sharks and rays around the LA/Ventura area in order to assess the general health of the marine ecosystem. A healthy apex predator population equals a healthy reef. Ron was able to find an Angel Shark in horrendous visibility but other than a token couple of Angel Shark pictures I wasn’t able to maximize the opportunity. Apparently the Angels are resident in the area so I’m hoping that I can try again when I head back down (probably in January).

On day five I snuck in another dive with the leopards while I waited to board a bus to Ensenada but a storm had kicked the swell up and the vis was even worse.

Day six was spent cruising to Guadalupe Island aboard the Solmar V. No time in the water but a boat full of sharkoholics to hang out with made the day pass quickly.

On days seven, eight, and nine I spent most of my waking hours snapping away at Great White Sharks in the cool clear waters around Guadalupe. The White Shark action was consistent for almost the whole time that we were there. If you want to see the Great White Shark Pictures, they are already loaded onto the Sharkive database.

All in all it was a great trip and you would think that I would return satiated for a while but all it did was wet my appetite for more opportunities. California is only a two day drive from where I live on Vancouver Island. Compared to most places that I dive it is tantalizingly close and I can already hear the sharks calling me back. In the mean time I have a whole lot of new shark pictures to upload and two new ray species to write about so keep an eye on the updates page over the next couple of weeks.

 

For the sharks,

Andy Murch

Andy Murch is the host of Elasmodiver.com a Shark Picture and Shark Information Database

Posted September 23, 2006 by Andy Murch in Nature, Photography, Sharks, Uncategorized

California Shark Safari – Going Hunting!   Leave a comment

After the frustrations of Sixgill Shark hunting in BC for the last month, its finally time for me to head back out with Shark Diver to get some new shark pictures for the next issue of the mag. We have a really exciting itinerary that will take us along the Southern California coast in search of some of the coolest sharks you can find in the Americas.

Drive and dives are always fun but road trips through California are packed with opportunities. We are planning to hop between Catalina Island, LA County, San Diego and Guadalupe Island. If you know your sharks then you’re already reeling off the potential subjects: Horn sharks, Leopards, Soupfins, Smoothhounds, Swell Sharks, Angels, Makos, and finally Great White Sharks at Guadalupe – what an awesome agenda! Of course, we’ll be filming everything we can as part of the Shark Divers TV show so even if you’re not coming along you’ll be able to catch all the action (eventually).

This trip is an extra special one for me because although I have dove with around 50 species of sharks it has been a standing joke between Eli (Editor of SDM) and I that I have never seen a Great White Shark. In the past whenever a trip was planned I was always busy shooting somewhere else but finally it has all come together and we’re going after Mr. Big, Jaws, White Death, The Man in the Grey Suit, The caretaker, or whatever else you want to call him. Its gonna be very cool to come face to face with the most notorious face in nature for the first time. Crystal clear water, lots of white sharks, a warm drysuit, a giant memory card, and three days to film – heaven.

Hopefully my next post will include links to some great new shark pictures but first I need to change the oil in the Sharkmobile and follow the sun from Canada to Cali. I’ll be hugging the coast all the way down so if the ocean beckons before I hit LA I’ll simply pull over, dive in with my camera, and go look for sharks. Time to go pack…

 

For the sharks,

Andy Murch

Andy Murch is the host of Elasmodiver.com a Shark Picture and Shark Information Database and Staff Photographer at Shark Diver Magazine

 

Posted September 2, 2006 by Andy Murch in Movie Journal, Nature, Photography, Sharks