Hammerhead Shark Sightings in San Diego

On August 18th we welcomed two amazing underwater photographers, Andrew Sallmon & Allison Sallmon with the hopes of sharking out very very far into the Pacific. When the ocean threw some solid swell at us, we decided it was best to re-think our plan and stay a more standard distance offshore – and what an amazing decision that was.

Between two sets of Mola-molas under patties, chumming up and swimming with a Smooth Hammerhead shark for HOURS (perhaps a San Diego first in recent years?), witnessing a juvenile white shark from the surface (Nick and I got in to no avail), and enjoying over a handful of blue whales on the ride back including a mother and calf, it doesn’t really get more amazing.

The 7-8 foot female hung around for 3 hours alternating between making passes and circling the boat. Everyone in the water was very comfortable with her, and she had such a calm disposition. Their heads are so much larger than I expected!

Three days later, we spotted another hammerhead only 2 miles off shore, and yet another one while chumming for blue and mako sharks later that day.

Ranging from 3-20 feet long, hammerheads are normally seen in warm waters and are one of the few sharks that school during the daytime and become solitary hunters at night. This one that we had the pleasure of getting in the water with was also alone, and several studies have suggested that sightings in Southern California are associated with warm-water events. I guess one of the upsides of this warm water driving away blue and mako sharks is that we get hammerheads!