Guadalupe Island 2019 Trip Guest Blog by Morgan Blaha
Here’s a short little compilation of some of my favorite moments underwater from Guadalupe Island! Beginning with my very first shark sighting, to sharks just doing their sharkie thing, enjoy!
But let’s talk about DROGIN! Drogin is a teenage male shark somewhere in the 10-14ft range, who quickly grabbed the attention of all of us on the charter when he graced us with his commanding presence. He’s my favorite shark of the trip and I debated for a while about whether I even wanted to share my up close and personal moment with him in this compilation at all. However, so often we see footage in various media forms showing great whites having encounters with cage divers that look ominous, threatening even, and are portrayed in a way to make the sharks out like they’re aggressively advancing towards the cage. I think it’s important that if we’re in a position to share a different and true perspective of cage encounters, that we do it, and maybe our shark loving voices can be louder than those who want to show them as nothing more than an intimidating set of jaws.
SO! Drogin and I were formally introduced during the third dive of my Guadalupe trip, (three’s a charm, right??). Leading up to this encounter I had been hoping to see a breach as I had missed one during my previous dive. Within moments of thinking this, here comes Drogin enthusiastically entering the screen with his sights set on the tuna head above him. During my trip, I learned that because great whites have such a huge body mass that it’s difficult for them to quickly make sharp turns, and sometimes that results in a collision. That’s exactly what we’re seeing with Drogin. He had just the right amount of speed propelling him that he didn’t have quite enough time to maneuver his body in a different direction upon re-entry. Cue Morgan and Drogin cage introductions! He was not being aggressive. He was not trying to come at us in the cage. He really wanted nothing to do with us at all and swam out of there as soon as he could.
I’m not sure how I managed to feel so many emotions in such a split second of time, but I was in awe and excited to be within inches of this shark, and also concerned hoping he was okay. I mean, he did just face plant, after all. Then just like that, it was all over and I was watching his tail disappear back into the deep blue depths of Guadalupe. I still can’t tell this story in person without getting completely overwhelmed by elation and my voice raising at least three octaves!
During the roughly 7.5 to 8 hours I spent underwater, I didn’t see empty, bloodthirsty monsters. I saw these beautiful sharks with blue outlined eyes that have a story to tell. I saw the classic great white smile. I watched some sharks energetically go after bait, and most others change their mind half way through their advancements and serenely swim the other way. The other favorite sharkie moments in this video represent the majority of the behavior I observed: chill sharks just being chill sharks. I know I have a biased opinion as I’ve loved sharks most of my life and I’ve wanted to cage dive with great whites just as long, so this encounter was not fear inducing. It was an incredible moment I’ll never forget.
If you love sharks as well, I say go dive with them and meet them. If you’re afraid of them, challenge yourself to learn more about them and maybe even go cage diving to see them up close and personal! By sharing this video and my experience, my hope is to shed light on a more positive view of sharks and inspire more respect and admiration for them, and maybe even make a dent in decreasing the negative stigma that’s been unfairly assigned to them over the years.