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Adventures in Truss
November 10th, 2004
07:29 am
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A 22 hour charter boat ride South of San Diego and 146 miles off the coast of Mexico found me in the shallows of Isle De Guadalupe. The ramshackled huts of less than two dozen fishermen were the only sign of habitation on the otherwise barren shoreline. A thin line of scrawny trees on the highest peak, sucking greedily at the dewy clouds, were stark testament to this mountainous, volcanic, moisture-deprived outpost.

Our business was not on land however, for this was one of only three places in the world where Great White Sharks could be found dependably. The cost for the five day trip wasn't cheap, but rife with potential. A charge filled the air, mixing with the strains of Bob Marley over the (surprisingly good) sound system as we made preparations to anchor 3/4 of a mile offshore. The excitement was palpable. The cage on our aft deck, in contrast, stood stoic and mute, waiting for the chance to play its part. We wasted no time in making that so.

Water transforms even inanimate things. Buoyed by floats and tied to the boat by multiple lines, our metal sanctuary floated and bobbed, barely under the surface in the crystal clear water, joyously clumsy like a Great Dane... as if to say, "Come on! What are you waiting for"? Having done more than a few dives with other species of sharks, I knew though that this was not yet the time to get into the water. I watched as a crewman began the laborious process of ladling chum into the water. Red life-giving fluid poured into the ocean to drift off with the current. Gargantuan tuna heads were tied to lines and left to float not far from the boat.

I headed to the galley for something to eat. Flavia (see preceding post) was there and ready to serve.

...

Jesse (right), the Divemaster, was there as well and wanted to talk about sharks. I must have been in heaven.


Less than two hours later, much to my surprise, there was a sighting. We began to gear up and a few minutes later were in the cages and scanning eagerly around. Although our bodies were only a few feet under the water, we knew we weren't on our home turf anymore. The Landlord had come to say hello. Materializing silently out of nothing she was there. Just like that... and hungry for tuna. She gave the cages not the slightest notice, but instead made a sedate, if focused, approach to the severed head with its blankly staring eyes. 15 feet if an inch, the Landlord was close to chomping down on the tuna, her toothy jaws agape, when the crewmember tending the line (the Wrangler) pulled in toward the cages in an attempt to lure "Senorita Big" closer. It worked. What a magnificent and awe-inspiring sight. I could have touched her. The black, soulless eyes glanced at me for a moment... through me... taking my measure in a mere instant. In the face of such overwhelming size and power how could one feel anything but insignificant and tiny?

Thank goodness for the cage. Wrapped around me with its mothering embrace, it emboldened and reassured me. I leaned a little further out of the enclosure and thrust my underwater housing closer to the Landlord. Almost grazing her as she glided powerfully past, I was thankful for the wide angle lens on my video camera. I needed every bit of it and more. What power and majesty.

----
This then was what the past twenty years of my life underwater had been leading me to. I "got" it. I understood. Hard to explain, but I understood. Only one problem now, today, as I write this... I need more. I need a fix.

Such a powerful habit to have developed after only one outing...

Where's my dealer?

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Forgive the pictures not being tac sharp, but they're screen caps of the video footage, much of which is broadcast quality (which I'm terrifically happy about). Thanks for sharing a bit of my journey!



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From:dantesmuse
Date:November 10th, 2004 06:41 pm (UTC)
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Wow!

Your description of Isle De Guadalupe had me intrigued but I can see the real excitement lies underwater for you. Sounds like an amazing experience and that's great news that you have the high quality video footage you went for as well as the experience of getting so close to a Great White.

Do you ever worry a shark may turn on your cage? Or is it that risk that makes the experience so alluring?
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 10th, 2004 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Yes, the underwater environment was the draw. We didn't even set foot on the island as it then would have involved all sorts of customs and permission issues. Mostly volcanic peaks and slopes at any rate.

No, I was never worried at any time, but highly adrenalized nonetheless.

Out of the hundreds of species of sharks there are really only four or five of which that are truly man-attackers. The Great White is one of these, but even they tend to be not very interested. Not enough fatty meat on most of us to be enticing doncha know. Elephant Seals and tuna provide much more of what they need. Most cases of human attack are the result of mistaken identity (either a silhouetted surfer/swimmer at the surface or poor visibility in the water).

Too, the violent footage you see on TV involving sharks and cages is the result of much baiting and provocation. And I do mean much.

The real story is very different.

Thanks for the reply, Charlotte. Good to see you!
(Deleted comment)
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 11th, 2004 03:41 am (UTC)
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Florida Manatees in Febuary!
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 11th, 2004 02:51 pm (UTC)
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Seriously!

Pictures you shall get!
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From:whymzycal
Date:November 11th, 2004 01:42 am (UTC)
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That.is.AWESOME! EEEEEE!

I'm with Jenni, and I can't wait to see video.

EEEEEEEE!!!
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 11th, 2004 02:50 pm (UTC)
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Your squeeling is infections. Makes me almost wanna S...

Nah, I just can't, but feel free to continue! LOL!
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From:bks1720
Date:November 11th, 2004 01:50 pm (UTC)
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((Truss)) How amazing! The pics are incredible, but I must say your writing style has me "hooked." Please tell me you're going to submit an account of your adventure to some publication. I had tingles ala Papa Hemmingway while reading your tale.

Make sure you let me know the details of your Florida trip. I'll be in my new digs in Tampa by then and would love to see you.
Beth/seansbeanie
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 11th, 2004 02:48 pm (UTC)
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Beth,

I would LOVE to see you in Tampa! That, of course, is where I'll be coming. I have freinds there (besides you!) and Crystal River/Homasa (where the manatees are) isn't far.

A meetup with you would be an unlooked-for bonus.
(Deleted comment)
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 11th, 2004 02:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Good on ya mate

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Thanks, Cadsy!
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From:sultryelf
Date:November 11th, 2004 03:57 pm (UTC)
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WOW Bill. I'm speechless (and that doesn't happen very often)!

It really looks fucking BIG. (I'm talking about the shark, of course. Snort)

I'm askeered.
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 11th, 2004 04:12 pm (UTC)
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Your speechlessness leaves me speechless... and how often does that happen?!?

If you call 15+ feet and thick as a redwood tree trunk big, then yes that beauty was BIG!
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From:rebekah8
Date:November 12th, 2004 12:40 am (UTC)

grr.

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i need to see the footage.... please.
\
wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 12th, 2004 12:44 am (UTC)

Re: grr.

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*Puts pacifier in her mouth*
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From:rebekah8
Date:November 12th, 2004 12:46 am (UTC)

Re: grr.

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wahhhh.....:(


im on my way over....
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From:saurons_truss
Date:November 15th, 2004 09:38 pm (UTC)

Re: Girls and Directions

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"im on my way over.... "

Get lost?

:-)
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