The PJ Tatler

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Internet: 22 Foot Great White Shark High Fives a Diver

If you’re planning on visiting Guadeloupe Island for some sun and fun, here’s a sage bit of advice.

Don’t go into the water.

If you do, you may run into Deep Blue — the name given to a gargantuan 22 foot Great White Shark that is one of the largest Great Whites ever seen.

The mechanical sharks built for the film Jaws were 25 feet long (great backstory to the fake sharks here) but don’t look half as scary as Deep Blue. This is one tough shark, apparently having been in some scuffles with other sharks or maybe a Killer Whale. There are several scars and even an open wound on the underside of Deep Blue, but she apparently doesn’t mind it much.

Live Science gives details on the unusual “high five” the shark gave to a diver:

“The dive master was pushing the shark away — it has a big laceration on the right side,” said shark researcher Mauricio Hoyos Padilla, director of Pelagios-Kakunjá A.C., a nonprofit organization that focuses on sharks and other open-water species. “It was really close to the cage, and they have pointy ends. It is so big it couldn’t turn properly. So he was trying to push her away, because he didn’t want her to get hurt,” Hoyos Padilla told Live Science. [See Stunning Images of Great White Sharks]

How did Hoyos Padilla come upon the giant shark? He has been studying sharks off Guadalupe Island, off the coast of Mexico, for about 13 years. The island is known as a great white shark breeding ground in the Pacific Ocean. Hoyos Padilla had a new hypothesis that the pregnant females would wait for elephant seals to arrive in the waters there in November and December, so the sharks could ambush the seals for sustenance. He found the female sharks could ambush the seals at a depth of 330 feet (100 meters). For his study he needed to observe pregnant female sharks, so he asked operators of ecotourism boats in the area to keep an eye out and contact him if they spotted one. Sure enough, a friend and dive master contacted him with Deep Blue’s whereabouts.

During the outing, Hoyos Padilla and his team, including scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, garnered amazing footage of Deep Blue for one of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” shows last year. Once they encountered Deep Blue, the scientists tagged her with a transponder that emitted acoustic signals. An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with several cameras picked up those signals and followed the shark to record her movements and other data. That day, the AUV followed Deep Blue for more than 3 hours, Hoyos Padilla said.

On the next page are two videos. The first is the “high five” video. The second is from the Discovery Channel show and gives you an up close and personal view of Deep Blue.

In that first video, seeing that anti-shark cage brought to mind the conversation between Quint and Hooper about shark cages:

Quint: [seeing Hooper’s equipment] What are you? Some kind of half-assed astronaut?
[examining the shark cage]
Quint: Jesus H Christ, when I was a boy, every little squirt wanted to be a harpooner or a sword fisherman. What d’ya have there – a portable shower or a monkey cage?
Hooper: Anti-Shark cage.
Quint: Anti-shark cage. You go inside the cage?
[Hooper nods]
Quint: Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark’s in the water. Our shark.
[sings]
Quint: Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain. For we’ve received orders for to sail back to Boston. And so nevermore shall we see you again.

An amazing animal, to be sure.