Getting to Know the Sharks in Guadalupe Island, Mexico

But somehow, my gut feeling told me that the tuna flotsam escaping the sack wasn’t interesting to them. They were interested in me. They came over and circled around the cage slowly at my level. They eyed me up and down and manoevred on a 360 degree axis around me.They orbited horizontally, vertically and from every angle imaginable. Sometimes they would come so close to the cage that it was very tempting to touch them. But I fought that urge as I didn’t want to scare them off, or get them used to human contact.

I guess for the first few moments I was intimidated because it was just me and these two behemoths. They were around 16 feet long and easily over 1500 pounds each. But the intimidation faded away quickly to such an incredible fascination that I became transfixed. And I suddenly had the urge to talk to them as if they could understand me!

“…they would come so close to the cage that it was very tempting to touch them. But I fought that urge…”

We were told just a few nights before that sharks can pick up the faintest of electrical impulses from our heartbeats. They use this ability to track their prey, and one of the crew said that they more than likely could sense fear, just like dogs can.When that thought went through my mind I wondered if these creatures could feel that I was fascinated by them. It may sound crazy, but I honestly believed they did. And vice versa.

I had my GoPro on a selfie stick at that point, using it like a rifle. I found that having my headstrap on was useless because the exhaled bubbles just got in the way of good shots. I kept it on them both turning on my heels to keep them in my frame.

The Conversation

As the two sharks circled me, I began speaking to them in my mind. Kind of like how you lovingly speak to your pet. “God you two are SO BEAUTIFUL,” I said as they circled me. “How long have you two been living here for?” One female backed off as I thought that, like she didn’t like what I said! She kept her distance, around 20 feet away occasionally coming in close.The second one stayed right with me at the cage lazily circling about, eyeing me up and down with those dense, dark eyes of hers. So I spoke to her even more.

“You’re so pretty,” I said in my head. “I don’t feel threatened by you at all.” She benevolently circled me for what seemed like hours but what I think in reality was more like 20 minutes. During this practically silent ballet where the only sound I heard was my exhalation bubbles and my own voice in my head, I could swear we connected. The entire fluid environment fell away from me as we kept our focus on each other…and just watched one another.

Then suddenly she turned and slowly went down off into the gloom. I kept my eyes on her as the deep blue sea swallowed her up. Disappointed I said in my in head, “Where are you going!!?? You’re so gorgeous, come back here and talk to me!” And like that, just as the gloom encased her she came right back! I sighed as she returned, lazily swimming to up me so I could chat and get some good shots.

I giggled to myself. “Are you teasing me?! You silly girl.” She swam around my cage some more. It made me think about my late wife, who I’d lost to breast cancer complications some 18 months before. She loved to tease me and we shared lots of laughs about that during the course of our 7-year marriage.

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