Great white sharks are oceanic nomads and undertake long migrations, but they do return to the same locations year after year like Guadalupe island, a special shark place we discovered in 2000. White sharks aka great white sharks can be found in almost any region between 60°N and 60°S. Among other locations, there are aggregations of great white sharks along the East and West coasts of Canada and the USA, South Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
Great whites aggregate in both coastal bays and remote oceanic areas and islands far from the continents, as in the case of Guadalupe Island in Mexico. But why over 680 white sharks populate the waters around Guadalupe Island from June to January? What makes this long and narrow island in the middle of the Pacific one of the perfect great white shark habitats?
California current and Great White Sharks
Guadalupe is an oceanic island located approximately 260 kilometers from the West coast of Baja California and is home to the California current. The movement of this current, with cold water rich in nutrients, encourages the production of phytoplankton and attracts both coastal and deep water species, among them the great white sharks. Marine life around Guadalupe Island is very diverse. From whales to sardines to various types of invertebrates, to rays and sharks. If you are interested in checking out the full list of species, “The Great White Shark” by Ph. Mauricio Hoyos is a great resource.
In our specialty built white shark cages we encounter not only great white sharks, but tunas, jacks, sardines, and other surprise species over the many shark seasons we have been here thrilling divers.
Guadalupe Island Topography
Guadalupe is a volcanic Island, 1297 meters high. This topography is a big factor in why Guadalupe Islands is a preferred great white shark habitat. With the help of submarines and other devices, scientists have been able to observe how these intelligent animals, taking advantage of the topography of the island and the good visibility, apply a very unique hunting method. As you can see, diver’s aren’t the only ones to appreciate good viz!
Studies and videos show how great white sharks swim close to the bottom, camouflaging the white lower part of their body. They look up, monitoring the surface for elephant seals to attack by surprise and at the same time hunt deep water prey. Due to the topography of Guadalupe, great white sharks can enjoy a variety of prey within a small range, less than 100 meters from the coast of the island.
Guadalupe Island is a unique place for great white sharks and a must-do for any diver or ocean lover! You do not need to be a certified diver to have close encounters with them we designed a cage system for even the most novice thrill seeker and safety is our priority.
Great white seal meals at Guadalupe Island
Three different types of pinnipeds live on Guadalupe Island: the California sea lion, the Guadalupe fur seal and the Northern elephant seal, which just happens to be the favorite prey of the great whites! On the island there are around 7 colonies of northern elephant seals who migrate from Alaska and spend the winter there for reproductive and breeding purposes.
During this migration, great white sharks take advantage of their movement to hunt them. The elephant seals arrival to and departure from Guadalupe offer ideal opportunities for great whites to strike. On the Northeast side of the island there are large congregations of northern elephant seals which makes it the preferential location for anchoring and enjoying epic encounters with the great white sharks
The Guadalupe fur seal is neither as lucky nor as fast as the Californian Sea Lion. Great whites actually prefer to make a meal of the heads of the Guadalupe fur seals and often leave the lower part of their body floating on the surface. Interested in this amazing shark adventure? Book with us today!