By Pat Ford

I’ve had some great shark diving trips with Eli Martinez and Shark Diver Magazine – Tiger Beach, hammerheads in Bimini and now Great Whites off the Island of Guadeloupe.  If you like to scuba dive, you should really consider signing up for one of Eli’s trips.

Our latest adventure took me to San Diego where I met Eli and the rest of our group.  My diving buddy and fellow photographer, Co. Hunter Ledbetter, USMC-Retired chose this trip because the water is clear (probably averaging 50’ visibility) and relatively warm (73-74) for white shark habitat.

We took a Van down to Ensenada, Mx. where we boarded the Sea Escape and took off for Guadeloupe about 190 miles away.  With a cruising speed of 9kns, we were anchored and launching cages the next morning.  The plan was to put 4 people in a cage at a time using Hooka rigs for air.  I had a 5 mm wetsuit and a hood and was glad it wasn’t any lighter – Seventy three degrees is cold by Miami standards and we weren’t swimming around, so an hour in the cage was just fine.

The crew used two halves of pretty rotten tuna as bait and added some liquid chum to the mix, most of which drifted right over us.  The sharks would appear out of the mist so we were constantly turning around, looking in all directions,  but some of them still snuck up on us.  The sharks were huge but came in very slowly and were not very aggressive on the baits.  Most just swam in, looked at all of us and then left.  A few actually ate the bait and put on a brief show before swimming off into the abyss.  The most exciting shark was the first that came in.  She charged the bait right up to the cage and actually bit the airline in half before she was thru.  Unfortunately for us, all the rest of the sharks were a lot calmer.

Photography was a lot harder than I’d expected.  The water looked clear but there was a lot of scatter from the chumming scraps and bubbles created by the cages slapping on the surface.  At times the crew dropped one of the cages down 30’ which attracted a few more sharks and gave us a different perspective.

We spent a total of 4 days in the water and probably say a dozen different sharks.  There were a few slow periods when our only visitors were yellowfin tuna and pacific yellowtail, but the were critters we don’t see in Florida so they were pretty exciting too.

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