Award of Excellence – Caged with Great White Sharks (USA)

Title: Caged with Great White Sharks
Runtime: 8 min
Country: USA
Director: Blane Henderson
Placement: Award of Excellence
Competition: March, 2022

Synopsis: Isla Guadalupe, a volcanic rock rising from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, is located about 250 miles southwest of Ensenada, Mexico and only accessible via a live-aboard boat. Great White Sharks migrate to and congregate there every year to feed on the large population of fat rich fur and elephant seals that live permanently along the shoreline, and to reproduce in the relatively warmer waters. It’s protected from fishing and is a good place to observe this powerful and misunderstood animal in relative safety ‘cage diving’. Although this is not the distorted and vicious killer of Hollywood, a cage is still very necessary because of the common use of fish heads and fish juice to chum and bait the waters to lure and attract the sharks to into viewing range. While I have misgivings about this practice (chumming) and the unnatural behavior that it possibly causes, I still feel that its a powerful experience that may be more beneficial to the sharks due to a better understanding and awareness of these amazing creatures. Its a question best left up to the biologists and scientists, but I do know this is a powerful experience!