WHATS IT LIKE TO BE IN THE WATER with them Its a very common question when people ask me about Guadalupe, Baja Mexicos great white shark mecca.
I try my best to answer, to explain what the experience is like, saying exciting, otherworldly, cool. Lame words that dont cut it.
Its difficult to process the whole thing, to make sense of it. I still find it hard to believe that here you are, surrounded by up to a half dozen carcharodons, mans rawest, most primal monster. And that you volunteered for this.
An hour later, you fully expect to exit the cage with all important pieces attached and lounge about in the galley, recounting the ordeal with friends while enjoying a taco. Weird.
Its 3pm on 2 November. Lowered into the cage, I congratulate myself on having recently learned to ignore my inner voice, prone to screaming Insanity! at random times like this.
Dividing my attention between my cameras settings and the two sharks 6m away, I muse that cage-diving with sharks can be mellow. Its not always non-stop teeth and adrenalin overload.
Beautiful in their movements, confident in their mastery of this realm, these white sharks might patrol at a distance for hours before moving close.
So I watch, admiring. And I wait, hoping caution will give way to boldness.
Breathing calmly through my hookah reg as the sharks lazily swim back and forth, I find myself lost in reverie.
I am at peace. Until someone or something, somewhere, flips a switch.
Tracking the sharks left, I dont see the newcomer entering stage right. It streaks through the blindness of my peripheral vision. When my sixth sense finally kicks in, I awkwardly whirl round, banging my head on the cage window.
My heart is already racing as I confront the ambusher. How is something so big so sneaky Intent on a tuna sandwich, the 4m shark charges the hang bait, too fast for the wranglers topside to react.
The beasts maw gapes wide, and the bait disappears. Chomping, swallowing, it doesnt think to check its momentum and so bumps into the cage, knocking us off-balance. I bang my head.
Chaos reigns for a few sweet seconds as the shark shakes and thrashes, straining against imaginary bonds.
The water boils with foam and froth. Were rocked back and forth once again as the white turns about, brushing a down-turned pectoral fin against the bars. I push the camera out the window and hammer the trigger.
Gnashing, furious, glorious, the shark submarines downward into shadow.
My watery world electrified, I pray for its return.