Guadalupe Island in Baja California | Great White Shark Facts | Shark Diving
Guadalupe Island was born from volcanic activity with a vast soaring volcanic peaks over 250 square kilometers. The island belongs to the state of Baja California Norte, and is considered as part of the district of Ensenada. It is located 240 kms away from the peninsula and has been a Sanctuary for WildLife since 1975. In 2000 America’s Shark Boat first visited and discovered white sharks here and now almost 19 years later it is the center of a thriving cage diving and shark cage diving industry for white sharks in Mexico.
Weather Systems at Guadalupe Island
The weather at Guadalupe Island is semi-warm, but it can also become an arid-dry climate during the hottest time of the year. Although it was discovered in 1602 by Sebastian Vizcaino, its climate and distance from the peninsula preserved it from being colonized: it remained virgin territory until the early 19th century when European fishermen and hunters arrived. The species introduced by these people caused an ecological cataclysm on the site, and by the decade of the 1950’s it was described as a biological cemetery.
Guadalupe Island Wildlife
After being left by humans and after being declared a Reserve Area, the homeostasis was accelerated. This process has contributed to the recovery of birds and mammals. Among the mammals that have recovered the sea lions, the Guadalupe Fur Seal (endemic species) and the Elephant seal; amongst birds, the Xanthus Murrelet, the albatross and a certain species of owl, and amongst fishes and sea creatures, the abalone (widely hunted and appreciated), the lobster, and several species of tuna. However, all the above mentioned species are usually fall prey to the most feared and admired predator of the region: The Great White Shark.
Guadalupe Island Great White Shark Facts
COMMON NAME: Great White Shark
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Carcharodon carcharias
GROUP NAME: School, shoal
SIZE: 15 ft to more than 20 ft
WEIGHT: 2.5 tons or more
IUCN RED LIST STATUS: Vulnerable
About Guadalupe Island Great White Sharks
The legendary great white shark of Isla Guadalupe is far more fearsome in our imaginations than in reality. As scientific research on these elusive predators increases, their image as mindless killing machines is beginning to fade. At Guadalupe Island ongoing shark research and conservation efforts are revealing a vast migration pattern, a breeding location, and white sharks we have come to call friends.
Guadalupe Island Shark Attacks on Seals?
Of the 10-plus annual shark attacks on seals at Guadalupe all are attributable to great whites. However, many of these are not fatal, and new research finds that great whites, who are naturally curious, are “sample biting” then releasing their victims. It’s not a terribly comforting distinction, but it does indicate that seals can be luckier than we first imagined at Guadalupe Island.
Guadalupe Island White Shark Characteristics
Great whites are the largest predatory fish on Earth. They grow to an average of 15 feet in length, though specimens exceeding 20 feet and weighing up to 5,000 pounds have been recorded. At Guadalupe Island we first spotted and named Deep Blue the largest white shark ever recorded in Pacific waters back in 2014. Today she is 20 feet long and over 4000lbs.
Guadalupe Island white sharks have slate-gray upper bodies to blend in with the rocky coastal sea floor, but get their name from their universally white underbellies. They are streamlined, torpedo-shaped swimmers with powerful tails that can propel them through the water at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. They can even leave the water completely, breaching like whales when attacking prey from underneath.
Guadalupe Island White Shark Hunting Adaptations
Highly adapted predators, Guadalupe white sharks never cease to amaze shark cage divers. Their mouths are lined with up to 300 serrated, triangular teeth arranged in several rows, and they have an exceptional sense of smell to detect prey. They even have organs that can sense the tiny electromagnetic fields generated by animals and shark cages. Their main prey items include sea lions, seals, small toothed whales, and even sea turtles, and carrion.
Guadalupe Island White Shark Cage Diving
Guadalupe Island white sharks are mostly found in cooler, coastal waters throughout the island. Today, we estimate the Guadalupe great white’s population at 230 individual animals. However, scientists agree that their number are decreasing precipitously due to overfishing and accidental catching in gill nets in Mexico, among other factors, and they are considered a vulnerable species.
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