Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Divers on the Infidel Wreck Off Catalina Island Encounter 16 Foot Great White Shark

Great white at Infidel wreck off Catalina Island, California.
For the last two years, a volunteer group (LAUE: Los Angeles Underwater Explorer) has been working to remove a massive net from the Infidel wreck off Catalina Island in California.

The sunken trawler lies approximately 150 feet below the surface. A massive net which entangles the wreck has become a death trap for seals, sea lions and even birds.

To date, the crew has made great progress and the wreck is beginning to look much better.  As they continue to remove more and more of the net, the net-free parts of the wreck are becoming home to things such as lobsters, crabs, fish and even a wolf eel.

Divers encounter great white at Infidel wreck off Catalina Island, California.
As noted in the video description on Vimeo, during the group's last dive in late August 2014, they had a large visitor join them at the site, a 16+ foot pregnant female great white shark:
"On Aug 23rd, 2014, new missions were set to both continue removing the nets (and a lot was removed again), but also document the new life. Unfortunately, the visibility wasn't very good for still pictures, even video.
But on the way back, we had a chance to have the company of a Great White Shark, probably 16 to 20ft long. She checked us out very closely and tagged along for 4 minutes. We had few minutes of excitement, and of course a bit of chill, knowing that we had a long time to get to the surface."
It is clear from reading about the encounter, all the divers felt privileged to have such an encounter. And although the shark was intimidating, from all accounts it does not appear that any of the divers felt threatened by the shark.

On a scubaboard thread discussing the encounter, member fnfalman posted his thoughts on the diver's experience, "No chumming, no fancy arrangements. Just a casual encounter in the most natural way. What can be better?"  Well said fnfalman!

You can view more videos of the wreck cleanup on Youtube and on Vimeo.
Photos are video screenshots.