Sharks In Cabo:
Why are there so many sharks in Cabo San Lucas.
by David Valencia
Each year thousands of divers and underwater photographers from all over the world come to experience a variety of incredible shark species. There's a season for everything and there are plenty of opportunities to see sharks that are very rare to see in any other place in the world!
A little known fact is that Cabo San Lucas and its surrounding waters in the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific are shark-filled. Consider the unique geography of it's location situated between the south bound California Countercurrent and the north-bound North Equatorial Current, along with deep water that is very close to shore and you have a prime habitat for marine life and sharks. Warm water meets cooler water at the junction of Cabo San Lucas and creates a nutrient-rich environment. The ample amount of nutrients in the water provides a great environment for plankton which provides food for fish and invertebrates and on up the food chain to sharks.
A variety of pelagic (open ocean) shark species utilize the waters of Cabo San Lucas. As the water temperatures change, so does food availability and so do the shark species. Included here is a shark calendar that shares when each shark species can be found on our Cabo Shark Snorkel. Of course, nature can change and we have been know to have a few surprises out there.
On our shark tours, we encounter Silky Sharks, Mako Sharks, Blue Sharks and Smooth Hammerheads. Each shark species has their season but as you can see from the shark calendar that there is some overlap in seasons and in those times we can find multiple species at one time. Check back to find when is the peak season for each species for Cabo Shark Dive!
5 Photo Tips
For preparing to photograph Pelagic Sharks.
by David Valencia
Guests are always asking for some of the ways that they can take better pictures of sharks. Here are a few suggestions in how preparing ahead of time can make a huge difference
Be familiar with your equipment - This is paramount to taking decent photos or videos. Let's not beat around the bush, our day-to-day lives are busy and we may not always have the motivation or time to check out that new piece of gear or even the new camera before leaving on holiday. With that being said, you have to at least have some familiarity with your gear before you use it to take underwater photos.
Research your subject - We have all seen pictures of sharks. But have you seen pictures of the specific species of sharks you will be interacting with? Looking at the pictures of others (Check out our Instagram) will help you get ideas to start your creative juices. It also helps to have some familiarity with how the shark might be behaving. Will they be up close and personal ? or will they be difficult to get close to? Once checking out images, you will have a better idea of which lens to bring along.
Streamline your equipment - Conditions are not always perfect and a little current can add that extra bit of resistance so you get tired faster. Depending on the light and visibility consider leaving the strobes behind. They can be a bit of a drag (no pun intended).
Fitness - Hopefully you have been able to get in the water regularly, but I know most just don't have access on a regular basis. So make sure you have some sort of fitness be it treadmill, walking, riding a bike, weights- something so when it's time to kick against a current then dive down to get THE shot, you're ready. Plus it's just good to be in good shape!.
Practice - It's true, practice can make perfect ! Use your gear outside the water and at home for photos and/or videos. This will give you a sense of familiarity and comfort once you start to use it for getting the photos you want. Of course if you can use it underwater, even better.
Mobula Ray Aggregation
by David Valencia
Did you know that one of the largest migrations on earth happens every year in the waters surrounding southern Baja every year? The Mobula migration is beautiful and impressive. It's also very unique as divers and photographers can't get this kind of mobula action anywhere else in the world.
WHAT is a mobula? Mobula rays, also known as devil rays because of their cephalic fins, live in warm or temperate waters worldwide. Fortunately for us, Cabo San Lucas is the best place in the world to see mobula munkiana and see massive aggregations of thousands of individuals. There are a variety of species of mobulas in our waters, however, mobula munkiana or munk's pygmy devil ray are the species that create these incredible aggregations. These rays prefer coastal waters and don't move very far offshore. This makes their huge groups even more visible from the beach as they jump like popcorn popping from the water.
WHEN and WHERE can they be seen? Mobulas of various species can be found almost year round in Southern Baja. However, the large aggregations of mobula munkiana are seasonal. The mobula season starts in La Ventana around early April and the aggregations usually move to Cabo San Lucas late May or early June. There are some considerations with water temperature and food availability, which is why their season is not clearly defined but based on water temperatures. Another “late” season occurs in November to December. You can find mobula munkiana late October and November in Bahia Magdalena and they start to move to Cabo San Lucas around early December. This is a rather short season and the rays seem to be migrating through to another location.
WHY do they migrate? The mobulas move into the area for feeding and mating. Their presence usually coincides with our local upwelling where wind displaces the warmer surface water and cooler, more nutrient-rich water comes from the deep to replace it. This also creates more plankton in the water and food for our mobula friends.
Best Time to Dive Cabo Pulmo
by David Valencia
Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park is the crown jewel of Mexico's National Park System. The amount of biodiversity and marine life protected by the park is a point of pride for all the guides, captains, and residents of cabo pulmo.
The small eco-centric town of Cabo Pulmo is a 2 hour drive from Cabo San Lucas. It is an interesting little town that historically was a small fishing village for generations. The daily catches were becoming less and the fish smaller. Fishermen were having to travel further away to catch fish. The townspeople and leaders of the fishing village decided the way forward was to protect their reef. The town with help from La Paz University worked with the government to create a Marine Park. In 1995 Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park became a reality.
Changes didn't happen overnight, but with time the reef improved and marine life biodiversity rebounded. In 2009, after the park had enjoyed 14 years of protection, all groups of fish had returned all the way to to predators like bull sharks. In these 14 years, it was measured that the biomass in Cabo Pulmo had increased by 463%. This is just one measure of success of the park. Now the park provides income to a variety of businesses for the local community: such as restaurants, eco-friendly hotels, dive shops, and more.
If you haven't enjoyed the diving in Cabo Pulmo, then you are missing out! It's dive sites are full of life and they say: you can never have a bad dive in Cabo Pulmo. Diving is available year-round and divers can still see tons of life and great sightings, but there are months where divers will have the best visibility and animal encounters.
We recommend diving July through December. This is the season with the warmest water best visibility. It. also happens to be when there is less wind so diving is more accessible.
What to See in Cabo Pulmo
The reefs in Cabo Pulmo are known for being fish-filled. But there's nothing like the famous huge school of jacks. This aggregation of jacks is just incredible as it morphs into endless shapes and all the size of a department store. This school is not always on a dive site and can be found just over sand.
Bull sharks: There are a few dive sites where bull sharks can be found and it can change throughout the year. However, El Vencedor is usually where they are found. What makes the bull sharks impressive aside from the fact that they are HUGE is that they come so close and all in a natural setting. Remember this is a national park so no attracting of sharks is allowed.
The reef at El Bajo: This idyllic reef is filled with colors, huge schools of groupers, snappers, rays and beautiful coral.There is so much more to see in Cabo Pulmo than this brief article describes. Join Cabo Shark Dive on an adventure on the trail less traveled and see for yourself.
We offer 2 tank dive trips to Cabo Pulmo and include round-trip transportation. It's the best diving in Southern Baja so it's a must for all scuba divers!