Voyage to the White Shark Café

A multidisciplinary mission to understand why white sharks regularly congregate in a seemingly inhospitable part of the ocean.



operation area

Pacific Ocean

deployment location

Saildrone HQ


Satellites have revealed that white sharks tagged in the coastal waters of California migrate annually to a region called the White Shark Café, a virtually unknown area situated in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). In 2018, two saildrones tracked tagged white sharks to the region with the goal of shedding some light on a long-standing question around their migratory habits. The mission was conducted in partnership with Dr. Barbara Block of Stanford University and the Schmidt Ocean Institute and involved a multidisciplinary team of oceanographers, engineers, marine ecologists, and molecular biologists from four institutions.


For the first time, physical and chemical oceanography data collected by saildrone was combined with biological and behavioral data to help scientists to understand the role the White Shark Café plays in this species' lifecycle.

"We now have a gold mine of data. We have doubled the current 20-year data set on white shark diving behaviors and environmental preferences in just three weeks, we have used shipboard tools that provided a rapid census of the predators and prey of a remote ocean region. This helps to establish a baseline of observations that will help us better understand the persistence of this unique environment and why it attracts such large predators."

Barbara Block, Stanford University Marine Biologist


About 25 miles off the coast of California, SD 1001 took an incredible "saildrone selfie" with a whale circling the vehicle's keel.