We began the 2012 shark cage diving season on June 23rd, running 35 miles out to sea. The first of 4 blue sharks arrived after 3 hrs. of chumming. We encountered the first mako of the season on June 26th,which was estimated to be approximately 200 lbs. During our opening week we also observed an ocean sunfish weighing close to 200 lbs. and many pods of white-sided dolphin migrating through the area. Because of the large number of dolphins that migrated through our waters in the month of June, I would say that 50% of our groups observed pods of dolphin that numbered as many as 25 to 50 in size.
Between August and mid- September we experienced some of our best exotic sightings. We observed 15 makos with most weighing 75 to 125 lbs. Some of our groups were lucky enough to see two on the same trip. During this period we also saw 3 sea turtles, a few ocean sunfish, schools of mahi mahi, 1 basking shark, and 1 hammerhead shark. The hammerhead made our day because it was the only shark we observed that day, and it stayed with us for 4 hours, which was very unusual. The size was between 6 and 7 ft which kept the attention of our divers.
Over all, I would say we had a very good shark diving season. I’m excited to say that once again, we were 100% successful in producing sharks for all of our dive groups. This is now the second year in a row that we have been 100% successful finding sharks. Since 1976, I have not experienced such outstanding numbers.
We tagged a total of 48 sharks for research this past season. Two to three times as many sharks were observed, but as you know, I generally don’t tag the sharks until all divers have had the opportunity to photograph the sharks in a natural state without a tag trailing out of their back. Tagging usually begins during the last hour of the day. As always, I try to include all diver names and addresses on the tag cards to inform them of the location of any recaptured tagged sharks. A total of 12 of our tagged sharks were recaptured during 2012. Seven of those were at liberty for a year or more with 6 of the sharks recaptured between 800 and 1400 miles east of Rhode Island. All divers whose names were put on the tag cards will be informed of the specifics when the 2013 mailing list is sent. To date we have a total of 2301 sharks that have been tagged for research with 236 already recaptured. Visit our web site for more information on tagging.
For anyone looking to come along with us as an observer or diver on a shark cage diving adventure, I would highly recommend choosing the month of June. With consistency over the years, June is the most productive month for seeing sharks as well as migrating white sided dolphin. If adverse weather occurs, we will have time and space to move you later in the summer. If you wait until August or September to schedule your dive and we have to cancel due to weather, there is a chance that all of our trips will be filled with no openings for you.
SPECIAL NOTE: We were quite successful this past summer attracting mako sharks. I believe this was a direct result of free diving without the use of tanks. To encourage more divers to free dive, I am offering a $10 discount to all snorkel divers that don’t bring any tanks aboard the boat.