Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles The Great White Shark—one of the most feared predators in the seas. This is one of the most dangerous sharks in the world, considered by many to be a man-eater. But just how aggressive are these sharks? Join me on a mission to investigate great white sharks. Hi, I'm Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! Great white sharks are not easy to find. There are only a handful of places in the world where divers can see them in the wild. So I've come here, to San Diego California, to get on a boat and make a 200 miles crossing to an inland in Mexico called Guadalupe where we hope to find Great White Sharks. My home for the expedition is a converted fishing boat. I'll be spending the week with several other divers and a few shark researchers. Our journey will take us across 200 miles of open Pacific Ocean, from San Diego, to Guadalupe Island in Mexico, off the Baja peninsula. We depart from the dock and start our journey with high expectations. Our first stop, however, is at the bait shop, where we pick up baitfish to use for catching tuna. Then the tuna will be used as bait for the Sharks. While I often swim with sharks in open water, unprotected by a cage, White Sharks are a little too big for that. The crew insists that we use cages for safety. After 2 hours, we pass the Coronado Islands in Mexican waters. This is the last land I'll see until we reach Guadalupe...another 20 hours from now Along the way we stop to do some fishing. I'm generally not much of a fisherman. After all, I would rather swim with the fish than catch them, but in this case we need some bait to attract the sharks, so everyone has to do their part. Oh Strong. HELLO. Aw another on it the food chain. Whoa! Strong! HELLO. Aww another one in the food chain! We then continue our journey to Guadalupe Island. We encounter rough seas, but finally, the next morning we arrive at Guadalupe. This desolate island is an extinct volcano that pokes out of the Pacific. Almost nothing can survive on this rock outcropping. Our first task upon arrival is to get the chum in the water. The crew use fish meal and water to create a fishy soup in a trash can. Then, a pump squirts it overboard. This creates a scent trail in the water to draw the sharks to the boat. Once the chum has been started, we turn our attention to getting the cages in the water. These large cages can hold up to five people each, and they have large holes for cameras. Hopefully I'll be able to get some great shots of the sharks. Once the cages are in the water, we tie some tuna on a rope and throw it into the water with a float to keep it near the surface. Members of the crew also take turns whacking the water with a pole, which is said to attract sharks. The water slapping and the chum soup helps get the sharks to the boat, but only something more substantial like tuna chunks will convince them to stick around and approach the cages. Now we wait. It can take hours or even days to get sharks. Then without warning, a shark comes up and checks out one of the tuna baits. Today we're lucky because it only took a couple of hours. Now the fun part. I suit up into my gear for my dive with a White Shark! The water is about 70 degrees, so I need a wetsuit to stay warm. Next I step down onto the swim platform where the crew outfits me with a really heavy weight harness. A normal weight belt for diving with this much of a wetsuit is about 10 pounds, but I am wearing a 40-pound weight harness so I'll be able to stand firmly on the bottom of the cage without floating up and hitting my head on the top of the cage! I don't need a bulky scuba tank because we are using surface-supplied air on a long hose. Diving with Surface-Supplied Air is a very different kind of diving than what I'm used to, but it works well for this kind of underwater experience....as long as the shark can't get to the hose! They hand me my camera and I drop below the waves to wait for a shark. You would think it would be easy to see the sharks once I hit the water, but it's more complicated than that. The sharks like to stay down in deep water, watching the surface from below. White Sharks get the advantage over their prey by surprising them. We have to hope that the shark wants to grab this bait and come close to the cage. While I wait for a shark to go for the tuna bait, I can't do anything but wait. And wait. And wait. Shark diving can actually be pretty boring sometimes. Since the sharks are taking so long, the crew has put out another kind of lure...a 5 gallon plastic bucket filled with frozen fish. Yummy! At last I see something coming, but it doesn't look like a shark. It's a sea lion coming in to check out the tuna. It turns out the sea lion is only mildly interested in the dead fish. Sea lions prefer to catch live fish. Yet this curious animal doesn't seem too concerned that a White Shark is lurking somewhere below. Or maybe it doesn't know. Suddenly, the Sea lion vanishes and a shark appears. It seems to be aware of us, but it's definitely more interested in the bait. It makes a couple of close passes to examine the bait. Then it makes its move, going directly for the tuna. It grabs it, bites easily through the rope, and takes off with a tasty mouthful. After that, the shark heads back down below us, out of sight. What's going on? Why is the shark not attacking the cage and trying to eat us? As I watch the White Shark behavior over a couple of days, I can see a pattern. It likes nice chunks of bait to eat, and it has no interest in the cages or the people in them. WOW! What an incredible animal. Well, it just goes to show you the sharks are really interested in the bait. They really haven't got a lot of interest in me. They know exactly what they want and they go straight for it. And the cage is really to make me feel better. Occasionally the shark comes up and bites the bucket full of frozen chum, just to see if there is anything tasty in there. When it figures out that the chum is chopped up too finely to eat, it goes back to the bottom. The White Sharks only come up for food. They can tell the difference between nice juicy piece of fish, and a bucket. And they show no interest in chasing the sea lions around the boat either. These sharks are obviously a lot smarter than they appear. Some of the shark research being done around Guadalupe Island includes identifying individuals to see if they return year after year. Several have been named including Scarboard, a large female who has a scar on her right, which is her starboard, side. Other identifying features researchers look for include the coloration in the area around the gills, and also the color pattern by the tail. No two sharks are exactly alike. Any distinguishing marks like this white streak on the nose help researchers identify individual sharks. Time flies when you're having fun. All too soon, our time with the sharks comes to an end and we have to turn for home. I look forward to returning the island of Guadalupe and visiting the sharks again soon. It may be rather desolate above the water, but is rich with incredible animals living within its blue underwater world!