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June 2003 Vol. 18, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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U.S. Great White Diving

from the June, 2003 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

You don't have to travel to Australia or South Africa to dive with great whites. Nope, Great White Adventures boats from San Diego and San Francisco will often get you all the action you need. Here's a report from reader John Kontnik (Lakewood, CO), who took a five-day trip from San Diego last October.

* * * * *

My wife, several friends, and I had the adventure of a lifetime. We dived with great white sharks. We left San Diego at 10:00 a.m. for a 22-hour trip to Guadaloupe Island, 215 miles WSW of San Diego and 155 miles west of Baja. All diving is in cages as chumming is constant. Two cages are in the water at all times. Each comfortably holds four divers and photo equipment. Divers occupy the cages in 45-minute shifts and use hookahs, not tanks. So you have hours daily to view the critters.

On our first day we had several encounters that lasted 15- 20 minutes. On day two there were no great whites, but we had great interactions with curious blues that swam right through the cages. On day three we hit home run after home run. Whites were around from 7:00 a.m. until we left the site at 5:30 p.m. At one time six swarmed around the cages. Two or three at a time were common.

All you will probably see are sharks. There is no diving outside the cage. When you are not in the cages, it is thrilling to watch the sharks on the surface from the top deck.

The 95-foot fishing boat, The Searcher, is cramped with small double occupancy cabins and four shared heads, but it works well. Hope for calm seas, which we had on the way out but the return was rough. Nevertheless, this is the real deal.

The five-day expedition to Guadaloupe Island is $2,250 and runs Wednesdays to Sundays, August through November. One-day expeditions from San Francisco to the Farallon Islands operate September through November. Golden Gate Expeditions, 2038 Pacific Avenue Alameda, CA 94501, 510- 814-8256, www.greatwhiteadventures.com.

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