Memories of a blue shark sighting

Blue shark smiling

Today is the last day of Shark Week and the perfect time to share my favorite shark story.

So here goes: I was a guest on Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (CMA)’s Catalina Above and Below trip four years ago. After spending the morning looking at animals brought up in traps from the ocean floor and having lunch and hiking on Catalina, we headed back out to sea looking for sharks.

While we were off having fun on Catalina Island, CMA staff had been busy chumming for sharks, plying a section of ocean with bloody fish parts to attract these amazing creatures. We met them where they had been chumming and CMA staff on our boat started throwing more bait in the water in the hopes that the sharks would show up very soon.

An hour and 15 minutes later, we were all debating if it was time to throw in the towel and head back to Los Angeles, it was getting late. At the same time, everyone really wanted to see a shark, so we decided to give it another 15 minutes. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the water was electric royal blue, a blue so bright and mesmerizing that I spent the idle waiting time taking pictures of the water trying to capture it.

Then right as we were all about to throw in the towel, the shark arrived. It surfaced from the deep to investigate the bait and then disappeared again. Then it came back and we all got a closer look, it was a beautiful blue shark, close to 10 feet long. It twisted and turned, swimming back and forth, looking for the best angle to attack the bait. Then it vanished again.

The blue shark blended in perfectly with the water, keeping an element of suspense to every sighting. Then suddenly it swam straight up and smiled at me (see above photo). Okay, to be fair the shark probably wasn’t smiling, but showing off its pearly whites in an open-mouthed bait approach. Either way, it was so cool! It was the best shark sighting anyone could have asked for. After spending 30 glorious minutes with the blue shark, it was time to head home.

Sometimes I wonder…where is that blue shark now?
Did it swim into a net and end up dying as bycatch?
Did it cross paths with fishermen cashing in on shark fin soup insanity?
Is it still alive and enjoying life in the deep blue sea?

I hope the answer is yes to the last question.

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