Broadnose Sevengill Shark (Notorynchus cepedianus) – La Jolla Cove, California
This is another San Diego celebrity. The prehistoric and completely awesome Sevengill Shark! They are named for their seven gill slits, (most sharks have 5) and are the only common, coastal member of the cowshark family (Hexanchidae family). Most other members prefer deeper waters. The average male sevengill is about 5 feet at maturity but females can get up to 10 feet!! The cow sharks have been dwelling the ancient seas since about 150 million years ago. The archeologists have found some fossil remains of such shark in the deposits of Jurassic age.
This is actually the first large shark I ever saw as a diver. And I didn’t even know it was a sevengill till later. I was diving off Wind & Sea back in 2011 with a buddy. I was taking a moment to just revel in the beauty of our kelp forest, and this dude, swims right by me.
If you could jump underwater, that’s what I would have done. But I’m clearly a “proof first, think later” type of person, and at the very least got that hazy shot off my little digital canon powershot point and shoot camera. I mean I had to get a photo, right? Or no one would believe me! 😀 I swim over to my buddy and punch him the arm and show him the camera screen. He looked at me, asked if I was ok and went on with the dive. Ok, he didn’t panic, so I guess I have nothing to worry about. Lets finish the dive. 😀 That is how my love affair with sharks began.
That first encounter was the last I’d see of the sevengills for the next two years. This particular shark had me feeling like I was shark repellent for a long time. Report after report kept coming in about other divers having these amazing sevengill encounters. Now that I was actually looking for them, I was skunked. Every. Time. Then this wonderful day happened and the shark gods decided if it rains, it should pour and I had the most epic sevengill experience in my 7 years of diving. I went with Rod of Scuba San Diego in the spring of 2013. It started off with 2 sharks that swam by. Then another and another, and another!! Now I’m sure some of these were the same sharks swimming back around, but we had at least 30 separate encounters on ONE dive!! And they were NOT shy at all. Just curious, not aggressive. It was incredible!!