Senior Editor

The Inertia

A few years ago, I went to the Farallons to see if I could look at a great white shark. It was a strange trip, paid for by Toyota and having to do with facing fears. I didn’t see any sharks, so it was a hard sell. About thirty miles off the coast of San Francisco, the Farallons are a ragged, desolate chain of islands. Here’s what I wrote about them:

“It is one of the most poignantly beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The islands jut out of the ocean, battered by open ocean swells, stark against the horizon. At the top of the highest peak sits a lighthouse, while beneath sit two twin Victorian houses, mirror images of each other, oddly contrasting with the barren landscape and serving as shelter for the six people who stay on the island, counting birds, sea life, and diving deep into solitude. There’s something about a place where nature’s beauty can be unobstructed by our destructive hand, and I find it incredibly sad that it needs to be as small and remote as the Farallons are to escape it.”

After eight hours in and out of a cage in one of the sharkiest areas on earth, no one saw a shark. Not one. The skipper of the vessel told us that if we really wanted to see sharks, we should go to Guadalupe, which is where the divers in the video above are. Since I didn’t even see any sharks on my trip, the footage of these people not only seeing one but getting enveloped in a huge cloud of shark shit makes me so, so jealous.


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