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 a Shark Picture and Shark Information Database

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

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