SAN DIEGO – Not far off the San Diego coast is one of the few places you can get close enough to touch a great white shark.
People travel from all over the world to San Diego to cage dive with great whites.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience for a lot of these people. Kind of one of those bucket list things people want to come and check off,” said Capt. Ryan Heiser of Island Charters.
The journey starts with a bus ride from Shelter Island to Ensenada, Mexico. From there, Islander Charters takes people 150 miles southwest to Guadalupe Island — an island unlike any in the world, because it’s an island where great whites breed.
“They’re just like any other animal. They’re just trying to survive. They’re not these mindless monsters that are just going to come up to you and grab you, and go around eating everything they see,” said Jimi Partington, dive master for Islander.
“They’re curious animals, yes, but they’re also very cautious at the same time. There’s way more to them than what most people would think.”
Cage diving with great whites is something anyone can do. You don’t need to be a scuba diver to enjoy this A-PEX predator up close.
Partington emphasized that tourism is actually helpful.
“Tourist coming on this trip actually work as guards to the island. It’s a really good collaboration and good story out here. We use all the data that we collect. We give that directly to the scientist. They’re in support of what we do. So yeah the story of eco-tourism out here is a great one.”
The pictures and video taken by tourist are used to help identify the players on the island. The season to see the great whites runs approximately from September to December with a likelihood of seeing more smaller males at the beginning of the season, and larger females later on in the season.