Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Bahamas Shark Sanctuary GOOD NEWS!

Sharks in The Bahamas can breathe more easily after the nation’s government announced today that all commercial shark fishing in the approximately 630,000 square kilometers (243,244 square miles) of the country’s waters is now prohibited.
“2011 is fast becoming the year of the shark,” said Jill Hepp, manager of global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group. “Today’s announcement permanently protects more than 40 shark species in Bahamian waters. We applaud the people and government of The Bahamas for being bold leaders in marine conservation.”

The island nation joins Palau, the Maldives and Honduras in prohibiting the commercial fishing of sharks. Together, this adds up to almost 2.4 million square kilometers (926,645 square miles) of ocean, where these animals can now swim safely. The Bahamian sanctuary was created by adding an amendment to the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act (Chapter 244) to prohibit commercial shark fishing along with the sale, importation and export of shark products.

Sherman's Lagoon, Credit: Jim Toomey“The Bahamas’ prohibition on longline fishing gear 20 years ago protected the marine resources of The Bahamas and ensured that our shark populations would remain healthy,” said Eric Carey, executive director of The Bahamas National Trust (BNT). “But there were no specific laws in The Bahamas for sharks, the crown jewels of ocean health. The new regulations signed this morning by Minister Cartwright, ensure that that sharks can continue to thrive for generations in our waters, one of the world’s best places to see sharks.”

The new sanctuary is the result of a partnership between the Pew Environment Group and BNT, which began just as a major Bahamian seafood company announced its intention to catch sharks and export their fins. Globally, commercial fisheries kill up to 73 million sharks annually (threatening the future existence of many species)—mainly for their fins. The collaboration between the Pew Environment Group and BNT produced popular public service announcements and a supportive petition signed by more than 5,000 Bahamians. Staff also coordinated outreach trips to support shark protections by Pierre-Yves Cousteau (son of Jacques Cousteau), scientist and artist Guy Harvey, and Sherman’s Lagoon cartoonist Jim Toomey.
“We congratulate the Right Honorable Hubert Ingraham, the Bahamian Prime Minister, and Lawrence S. Cartwright, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, for acting to save sharks, the ocean’s apex predator,” said Hepp.


Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 Guadalupe Season Completed Home for CRUSH!

What perfect timing, to return home after a tremendously successful Guadalupe Island white shark season just in time for crush at the Groth Vineyards. It was a very long night that turned into a very beautiful day.
I arrived home to the San Francisco Bay Area at 6 am after a long drive from Ensenada/San Diego.
We had spent the last two days demobilizing the Solmar V and getting her and her crew on their way back home to Cabo. Then getting all of our gear back into storage in San Diego. Loaded up the SPSC in the mobile support trailer and headed north for a 2 week filming expedition at the Farallon Islands.

It was great to be home and specially in time for crush at the Groth Winery!

I had not been home for 4 months and I had really missed everybody. It was great to see my mom and sister Lori and cousins Suzanne and Andrew and of course my son Jake.

Mom, Judy, Suzanne, Lori Groth

Dennis Groth " The Godfather" and Bill Groth

Jake Lori and Bill

Me and son Jake

Crush is a very busy time at the winery and work starts early at 1am to harvest the fruit while it is cool.

This my Shark Fans is the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve starting on its way to become the finest California Cab to found on the market. Groth Cab Reserve is one of the most award winning California wines in history!

It always fun to be drinking nice refreshing Sauvignon Blanc while we watch the crush happening! 

Lori and Suzanne Groth

Just one of the 3 fermentation tank rooms. Groth can produce 600 tons of fruit per crush.

My Boy!

Bro and sister

Me and sister Lori

Nice lunch at Bottega in Napa

Good and Happy times!

It is good to be home but I already miss my sharks.

But I will be at the Farallons starting 10/27 and then back to Guadalupe on November 27th for a 15 day film shoot. So stay tuned!

May the sharks be with you all


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


After 150 trips to Isla Guadalupe over the last eight years, you might think that I might be getting tired of it. Well I am not. Hell NO! Deep down I still love it all and I am still thrilled each and every day that I am out there. I am indeed grateful to be “Living the dream”.

However there have been days when I wondered WTF am I doing this for, and those days are pretty much in the past now. With the Navy issue out of the way for the time being and most probably for good (but you never know when working in Mexico), now there are just little annoyances occasionally but with the 2010 season pretty much in the history books, the little things just don’t seem to matter much anymore. There still is lots of work to be done and battles to be fought, but the tide of the war has definitely turned in our favor and we now have the upper hand on things.  Most people just have no idea what goes on behind the scenes with permit issues and having to deal with inept officials that make ridiculous decisions based on rumors and hear say. It is extremely difficult working in a third world country and the bureaucracy is absolutely stifling at times. People have no idea how many hoops we must jump through to keep this whole thing running or even in existence for that matter.  But we do it and we will keep up the fight and we will never quit.

Having had this amazing opportunity to share these incredible animals with so many people over the years has been very rewarding for me on a personal level.
It still makes my day when I am able to coax a first time diver into the water and watch them blow their first bubbles. That is something that I truly enjoy. Those little things are what makes it all worth it. Seeing the smiles on the faces of divers coming out of the cage after their first encounter with white sharks is still priceless to me.  What is really cool is that on most trips nearly half of our guests are repeat clients, some of which have made the journey with us several times. We have created a unique and special relationship with our guests and we have all become one big extended family. We share a bond that is hard to explain. It is so wonderful to have met so many different people from all walks of life who share a passion and common interest in such a special animal. To many the experience has been life changing and that is what keeps us going.

I truly am honored to have had the opportunity to work with the Solmar V and her awesome crew. It has been such a pleasure and we have all become close like brothers over the years. We are hands down the best White Shark diving operation in the world and I am very proud and confident in making that statement. No one else has the amount of experience as we have or the amount of success that we have had.  We are so successful because we work very well together and we keep an open mind about every aspect of our operation. Every season and every trip we learn something new and we take what we have learned and we make improvements and that keeps our operation fresh and leaves our competition in the dust. We continue to lead the way as we always have with new technology and new techniques and that is what makes us the best white shark diving operation in the world.

Thank you to all of our “Shark Fans”. We are looking forward to the next 150 trips.
Stay tuned for some very exciting news! We will be making an important announcement in the very near future.
Thank you Dean Karr for these recent and most precious images.


Friday, October 8, 2010

8 years and 149 trips to Isla Guadalupe and still 100%

I am approaching another milestone in my career as a shark diving operator. I am departing shortly for my 150th expedition to Isla Guadalupe.  It has been a long and rewarding adventure for me. I have many fine people and friends to thank for supporting me. It is impossible to show the gratitude that I feel towards so many of my friends and family here in this blog but.
One person in particular that I need to thank the most is Kat Fisher.
 Thank you Kat for the many years of support and your patience.

I must thank James Moskito my partner for being the honorable, dependable and trustworthy man that he is.  James you ROCK!

I also wish to thank Art Taylor for the seven wonderful seasons we had on the Searcher and for giving us the opportunity to get Guadalupe on the map as the best white shark diving location on the planet.

I want to thank Jose Luis Sanchez and his lovely wife Leslie and the entire Solmar V organization specially the boat crew for 6 awesome seasons so far and still going strong.

Thank you to all of our "Shark Fans" that keep coming back and also for spreading the good word for sharks and the company.


May the sharks be with you all always.

Yours in sharks,

Here is a kiss from Cal Ripfin   MUAH!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shark Diving International Hosts Mega Yacht APOGEE at Guadalupe

We received a phone call last July from the Captain of a mega yacht that had been hearing cool stories about the white sharks at Guadalupe. He stated that he had asked around for the best operator with the best reputation and everyone he spoke to recommended us as the hands down best operator in North America. Thank you to all of our Shark Fans once again!

So now we are 

Apogee's first-class amenities turn even the most remote destination into a five-star resort. This yacht offers a complete range of watersport activities, including water skiing, fishing, snorkeling, and even scuba diving. Rich mahogany warms the main salon, setting the tone for Apogee's classic elegance. In addition to its sweeping circular staircase, the main foyer includes an elevator that links all five decks. Much larger than ordinary skylounge and completely outfitted in magnificently crafted mahogany, burl mahogany and rosewood the bridge-deck saloon is a leisure destination unto itself. It features a 22-foot-long backlit onyx-topped bar modeled after Monaco's Cafe de Paris and Miami's Delano Hotel, a Wurlitzer jukebox and a spacious adjacent aft terrace complete the package. A crew of 17 awaits - one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios in the industry.

Sat B, Fleet 77, Mini-M, GSM, High speed internet access

Plasma & LCD TV/DVD/VCR throughout yacht, SatT.V., Bose Surround Sound, Wurlitzer Jukebox, Karaoke

Apogee is a beautiful vessel with a great crew who were a pleasure to work with and dive with. It was pretty funny seeing these boys get an opportunity to dive with whitey when the guests were having lunch. 
Thanks for the good times Flash, Chris and Bert! aka "Ray Charles".

We were able to make tis happen on very short  notice which was a feet in itself when permits usually take months to prepare but it all worked out and the guests and crew had the time of their lives and hope to return again someday. Thanks to our own Bobby and Don for helping out.

We are heading out again today with one of our all time favorite Shark Fans DEAN KARR.
So we know it is going to be an awesome trip with some really fun and cool peeps.

May the sharks be with you all!

Yours in sharks,


Saturday, September 18, 2010


The 2010 White Shark Season has been just incredible so far!
We have been out at Guadalupe on the Solmar V for 8 trips this season so far and they just keep getting better. The action has been nonstop and the sharks very cooperative. The Shark Fans have been outstanding and we have been enjoying a stellar season with some fantastic people.

Here is a little note from some of our newest family members.


I just wanted to send an extra "Thank You!" to Lawrence, Kat, the Solmar V crew, James and anyone else who had a part in making our trip to Guadalupe Island from Sept. 6-10 so wonderful.

This trip was so much more than I ever expected!  Lawrence and Kat made sure everything went as planned.  The crew made us feel so at home.  And James made sure we had our dive gear on time from Dive California.

This was a true "once in a lifetime" experience.  I have always had a passion and fascination with sharks, especially white sharks.  So, I was going to be satisfied if we only saw one shark  the entire trip.  Little did I know that we would see multiple sharks all day every day!!  It was absolutely exhilarating!!  

Thank you all again for making this trip (and our anniversary) such a wonderful experience!!!  We are already researching other trips with you all.

Best regards,

Christy and Chris Cole
Birmingham, AL

You are quite welcome you two love birds! :)

With all the sharky action and cool shark fans like these fine folks who could ask for anything more?

The weather has been very cooperative with relatively smooth crossings and sunny days at the island.

The sharks are plentiful and still very hungry. But there is still plenty of shark food at the island, there are hundreds of fur seal pups all around the island and the tuna are thick and seen from the cages nearly everyday. The Elephant seals numbers are increasing steadily as well. YUM!

Photos by Erick Higuera (Somar V )

Thank you! to all of our friends for making this an epic year for us and we look forward to having you back again soon!

I wish I had more time to write but I have to get ready for the next departure in a few hours.

May the sharks be with you all!

Yours in sharks,


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Battle Ground Great White The Combat Has Begun

Every year these incredible animals amaze me with not only their power but their resilience. The combat has begun at Isla Guadalupe. The arrival of another female white shark (possibly a brand new female) seems to have touched off a war between several male sharks at the island. On Monday Jacque a rather large male GWS was fine at 12:30 and he showed back up at the boat at 13:30 with some fresh nasty bite marks on his back.
 Then a few minutes later two other males arrived at the boat with fresh bleeding wounds. Somewhere below a bloody battle had occurred. We have been documenting these wounds on the male white sharks every August and early September for the last several years (photos/video coming soon). Some of these bite marks look to be very severe but the sharks still swim normally and seem to be unaffected by them in fact they seem to be even more energetic and hungry. What is the most amazing thing is that how fast they heal. Most of the bites that we have seen in the past are healed in just a few weeks and some have completely disappeared leaving no scars at all.

The rest of the day was nothing less than EPIC!

The action was intense!

These BAD BOYS were hungry!

We had 2 full body breaches at the bow of the boat where there was NO cameras of course but those who saw them were just blown away and some even got wet :)

Images By Crew Solmar V crew member  Francisco "Poncho" Garciglia

So we are off once again, departing Ensenada for trip #6 in a few hours to return to the combat zone.
This season is going to be one for the record books I am sure. So stay tuned, things are starting to get interesting!

Yours in sharks,


Battle for survival at South East Farallon Island

The Ultimate Shark Dive