Shark divers from around the world have called it the, “Everest of Shark Diving.” Scuba diving with great white sharks at Guadalupe Island, but without a cage. For some, cage diving with a great white shark is boring, but can you scuba dive without a cage with great white sharks at Guadalupe Island, and more importantly is it actually possible and also safe to do so?
Is it safe to scuba dive with great white sharks without cage?
Due to many shark horror movies, including “Jaws” by Steven Spielberg, white sharks are portrayed as aggressive and deadly animals. At Guadalupe Island several film productions (not us) have sought to portray our white sharks as man eaters. Most recently Halle Berry starred in a shark movie shot by a simply awful production company that made our local sharks look really bad. However, it is clear from scientific research and observations done by citizen scientists at Guadalupe that this is not the case. White sharks are predators – but not killers.
Great white sharks have keen visibility and test bite to see what something is. As a taste-test white sharks seek to know whether or not what they are chomping on is edible. Great white sharks at Guadalupe Island would rather feed on meaty foods, such as tuna and seals and sea lions. Most white shark attacks happen with body-boarders and surfers, because they resemble an injured or sick seal – thus, easy prey.
As it turns out at Guadalupe island white sharks are actually very shy of divers, the bubbles and the shape of cage divers looks interesting but not familiar to the sharks. Shark cage divers are aliens in their world and don’t resemble any natural food source. If you are fortunate enough to see on a white shark during a scuba dive, it’s usually in the distance, after which it soon disappears from view again. Unless you’re this chap and then all bets are off.
Why do white sharks come so close to the shark cages?
The only reason why Guadalupe Island great white sharks come so close to our shark cages is because of chumming or the luring of the shark with a scent, usually with a tuna head on a rope in the water close to the cage. At Isla Guadalupe shark cage diving is only done with a hookah dive system. Great white sharks feed primarily on the surface of the water, where seals are a favourite.
Is diving without a cage with great white sharks at Guadalupe possible?
Diving with white sharks without cage is no longer possible at Guadalupe Island without specialized shark diving permits and it is extremely rare for Mexico to issue these permits. Best NOT to even ask.
Where can you scuba dive with great white sharks?
Hard core shark divers would like to encounter white sharks without cage and would also like 100% certainty on the dive. To do that your dive team would have to lure them using bait, and the luring is of course not without risk. You won’t go on safari and walk around with a piece of steak on a rope in order to lure lions? Or would you?
Globally diving with great white sharks without a cage is not done commercially: there are no tour operators on the planet who advertise this activity due to the risks involved. Except for one, and he has been officially banned from ever diving at Guadalupe Island again. Should something happen, the negative media will ensure that shark divers ban Guadalupe Island and that our white sharks get a bad name.
In short, don’t dive with great white sharks without a shark cage, don’t give money to hucksters who say they will take you, and always think of the sharks first. Let’s cage dive with great whites at Guadalupe Island!