Up until now, Guadalupe Island has been mostly known for its congregation of great white sharks during the fall and winter months. Recently the island gained notoriety when a viral YouTube video showed a great white breaking through a dive cage after pursuing bait put out by a tour operator. Miraculously, the cage diver inside was unharmed.
This incident occurred in the same bay as the 29 Cuvier’s beaked whale sightings.
Guadalupe Island is an amazing place to study Cuvier’s beaked whales. The deep waters around the island, which are due to a narrow continental shelf, mean we can sight these whales frequently and close to land.
Possible reasons for the abundance of Cuvier’s in Guadalupe include the island’s far proximity from the mainland, which reduces maritime activity disruption; the possible richness of prey resources for the beaked whales; and the refuge from their killer whale predators. Additionally, despite sharing waters with great whites, there are no recorded reports of great white shark attacks on these cetaceans.
Potential Whale Breeding Ground
Sightings of mother and calf pairs also show scientists that Guadalupe could be a breeding ground for these whales. The discovery of such large numbers of Cuvier’s beaked whales around the island at different times of the year suggests to scientists that this could be a resident population, an idea that is supported by several matches in the photo identification catalogue during different expeditions.