Isla Guadalupe White Shark Cage Diving
This is a video that was filmed on our vessel “Horizon” last November.
To join us for our 2015 or 2016 season, call 619.987.4275 or 855.987.4275, [email protected]
White shark cage diving. When you think of ultimate white shark encounters Mexico’s Isla Guadalupe has established itself as the worlds top white shark cage diving destination. Ten years ago this pristine white shark site was relatively unknown, today white shark fans from around the planet come to meet the shark conservation and media stars of this newly minted Bio-Sphere Reserve. From the 15′ Shredder with his unique dorsal fin and well known cage diver curiosity, to the 16′ Bruce and a host of other tagged animals what we have learned about white sharks with the tireless efforts of CICIMAR at Isla Guadalupe has re-written the book on these amazing animals.
This is what it’s like to dive with Great White Sharks.
Guadalupe white sharks have been featured on television shows like Shark Week and more recently National Geographics Great Migrations. Of course long before they were white shark media stars we knew them simply as, “the locals”. Shark Diver has also been researching the history of this unique site over the past three years, uncovering rare title and ownership documents going back to 1845. This island has quite a history.
Our 2015 pricing includes brand new cages with plenty of room for 5 divers each, U.S. shark and vessel crews, all shark diving permits, unlimited beer and wine, soft drinks, wet suits, weight systems, on board accommodations, meals, snacks, transfers from San Diego airport. Shark Diver offers expedition forward pricing so you do not get hit with surprises down the line. Solo shark divers are encouraged and never hit with a single supplement fee. Ever.
Shark Diving with the Original Guadalupe Crew
When it comes to west coast shark diving knowing what to look for in a vessel and shark crew makes all the difference. After 14 years of hands on shark diving operations at Mexico’s Isla Guadalupe, Shark Diver has enjoyed a lasting partnership with the premier and original white shark vessel, the M/V Horizon. Best of all you do not need to be dive certified to cage dive at this location.
Passenger Safety in Mexico
Passenger safety concerns with Mexico’s unfortunate ongoing drug war are valid and we have gone to extraordinary lengths to address transportation issues into Mexico. Road travel within Mexico is becoming increasingly dangerous. Shark Diver ensures your exposure to Mexico’s drug zone is limited by not taking divers on buses into Mexico and back. It means we take fewer shark divers per trip, but safety is our top priority both on land and at sea. Our shark divers board in San Diego and return to San Diego on our vessel the M/V Horizon. Shark Diver is the only commercial shark diving company that has always offered direct U.S. departures to Isla Guadalupe at sea and not overland.
Shark Diving Vessel Details
The vessels in the Shark Diver fleet feature a range of accommodations from private air conditioned staterooms, to every other diving amenity you and or your groups will need. All vessels have dedicated air system for shark cage operations, service the largest shark cages available and have full time experienced great white crews. These guys know sharks. Our vessels are excellent long range dive platforms for those seeking laid back comfort and style while diving with Great Whites in Mexico and Tigers in the Bahamas.Vessels are primarily designed to cater to adventure seeking individual divers, selected dive groups worldwide and professional filmmakers.
We know you have a choice when deciding to experience white sharks at Isla Guadalupe. Your vacation time is important to us. If there is anything we can do to make your experience with us better – from a birthday celebration on board to a wedding proposal at sea, let us know and, we’ll make it happen for you!
Meals aboard Shark Diver vessels are key to any successful dive expedition. Individual divers and group leaders will be happy to note that we take great pride in taking care of all your divers food needs. The galleys on board are fully equipped for any style of cooking providing divers with a wide range of cuisine. Chef Mark on the M/V Horizon can prepare anything from traditional meals to the freshest fish in the world, or meals that cater to religious observance. Our crews cut no corners in efforts to present a truly memorable dining experience. Dietary restrictions are not a problem and our on board chefs look forward to accommodating your needs. Galley/salon areas are spacious with ample room for 16 passengers at one seating. Complete with TV and VCR/DVD, and email access, the salons are an excellent place to wind down after a day of incredible shark diving or while en route to Isla Guadalupe. All beverages including beer and wine are available at no extra cost.
Cage Diving Design
Shark Diver has reviewed all our vessels shark cage designs and built the brand new Guadalupe Mark VI cages for 2015 in house. They feature unique flotation pods designed for ocean use, that we have adapted for cage diving. This system allows for more space and comfort inside the cages and is in use by most operators at Guadalupe. We also feature two unique external observation hatches for divers and film crews who are looking for another angle to film great white sharks. In short, one of Shark Divers most important considerations is cage design, and safety. We have ensured you’ll have the best cages available to dive with; after all it’s where you will be spending most of your time with us.
The cage diving at Guadalupe is bar none the greatest on the planet, with up to 100 feet + of visibility. The water temperature ranges from 67 to 76 degrees making this the ultimate white shark destination for everyone. Especially for the discriminating underwater photographer, or the novice.
You will enjoy hours of cage time utilizing our state of the art cages. The two 4-5 diver cages are built to maximize your safety and comfort. At 50 square feet each they are the largest shark cages you will find on the planet. Our cages feature excellent viewing and photography characteristics, providing you with total freedom of movement and 360 degree panoramic visibility.
You will appreciate the use of dedicated surface supplied air, allowing you to be comfortable and secure during your dives. All our air systems are internal and we never use off the shelf air compressors. Our professional and courteous crew will make sure your adventure is a safe and rewarding experience.
Our shark diving crews looking forward to assisting you, the professional or semi-professional, with all your underwater photographic needs. As a prime example of stunning underwater shark shots taken from Isla Guadalupe please spend some time with renowned underwater photographer Phil Colla located at www.oceanlight.com.
Conservation Shark Diving
CSD is an acknowledgment of shark diving operators who give significantly back the resources they work with. Initiatives that help conserve local and regional shark populations, like the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative or local and regional funds that directly support area research teams such as the Isla Guadalupe Conservation Fund are just two examples of this commitment.
Conservation Shark Diving is a way of directly impacting the animals we work with in a positive manner exhibiting site stewardship and conservation industry leadership. Our clients are, after all, the sharks.
Shark Diver is proud to support Conservation Shark Diving. Your decision to book with Shark Diver allows us to continue to manage and direct conservation efforts that have a direct and lasting impact on sharks all over the world. We are proud to have developed the concept behind the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative which has already garnered support from PADI, The Humane Society, the island nation of Fiji and even Slash from Guns n’ Roses. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Stewart Gow and Mike Neumann 80% of Fiji’s marinas are now Shark Free, a stunning achievement.
Help support sharks by supporting commercial shark diving operations who are making a real difference.
Group Sales and Military Discounts
Our vessel accommodates groups of 16 divers, all group leaders automatically come for free and active military enjoy our special military rate.Over the years we have hosted some of America’s best and bravest and will continue to do what we can for our troops who have given us, here at home, everything. This image is from Habbiniyah Iraq and Diane’s Marines who we met in 2008. They are wearing the Shark Diver crew gear we sent them as a prelude to cage diving with us that fall.We are looking forward to providing you and your groups with the vacation of a lifetime, tell our experienced shark dive crews what your needs are and Shark Diver will make it happen for you. Semper Fi.
Shark Diving Itinerary
Welcome to Shark Diver. Your dive expedition to the Pacific’s most pristine and robust white shark dive site leaves from San Diego’s famous H&M’s Landing, 10 minutes from San Diego’s airport and home to California’s long range fishing fleets. Shark Divers vessel the MV Horizon boards divers from California to Isla Guadalupe. We are on site usually 20 hours later and beginning your first exciting white shark cage dives after a hearty breakfast. We take a maximum of 16 divers per trip – perfect for dive clubs, corporate groups, film crews, and photographers.
Boarding begins at 9:00pm -11.00pm on the evening of your expedition date. Prior to boarding most of our divers have booked with the Holiday Inn Bayside under our special Shark Diver Rate, we are happy to be working again this year with the Bayside, our 8th season with them. Divers generally come in a day early and take advantage of the Bayside’s free airport shuttle service and 7 minute location from the international airport. Our divers also like discover San Diego’s Gas Lamp District, home to some of California’s top restaurants and entertainment venues located minutes from the hotel. If you’re coming to San Diego early plan on visiting the town. We generally depart from the docks at 11:00-12.00pm. Travel time to Guadalupe is approximately 28 hours. Once you arrive to the vessel you’ll be greeted by Martin Graf, your dive operations manager. Martin holds the enviable distinction of spending the most time at Isla Guadalupe aside from the shark researchers at CICIMAR. His wealth of shark knowledge and dive operations prowess makes Martin our top choice again this year to run the white shark program on the M/V Horizon. He also speaks German and Swiss fluently and works in tandem with the entire vessel crew who you’ll soon get acquainted with. For now it’s time to get settled and into bed, try and get some sleep because in a few hours from now the next time you set your head on your pillow just know there will probably be two or three white sharks swimming underneath it!
We clear Mexican Customs early in the morning and then head out towards Isla Guadalupe. Look out for Dolphins, Whales and Sea Lions and enjoy your day at Sea.
We will arrive at Guadalupe sometimes after midnight. Upon arrival, we anchor, deploy our huge shark cages and begin operations. Breakfast is served in the galley, and Martin will be doing an in depth dive safety review prior to your cage time. Cage diving rotations are usually one hour at a time and the vessel is divided into four crews of four with eight divers in the water at any given time. Your first cage dive is usually preceded by someone yelling “White Shaaaark!”. A few years ago we had a young deck hand “Mikey from Main” who’s tell tale white shark yell is a tradition we carry on to this day. Welcome to cage diving, keep your eyes open as you walk down a short ladder into the industries largest shark cages, chances are in a few minutes you’ll be face to face with the Great White shark. Lunch is served around noon and for most divers this is a welcome break from the morning and getting used to the world of cage diving. We pick up the afternoons cage diving rotations after lunch or power through depending on the shark action this day. Dinner is served approximately 6:00pm. After a hot shower and a change into your post shark encounter clothes, it’s time for a sunset beer, or three on the bow with the other newly minted shark divers. Congratulations, it took you a long time to get here, but you did it, and now you’re ready for the next two days of white sharks, and more. You are an official Shark Diver.
If we decide to try a different site, we move early and begin operations at sunrise. Cage diving continues throughout the day and rotation times will be increased. Usually we stay in place as our crews and vessel captain know where to place the vessel and where the sharks are. Chances are you’ll see another long range boat in the bay, but the sharks will transit from boat to boat, and with the density of animals on site everyone gets into sharks. We may get boarded by the MX Navy while were on site. They will board each vessel at least three or four time during the season. They are looking for valid commercial shark diving permits, passenger manifests, and some water or a soda. These young marines work very hard with little pay, so we always offer them lunch and water. Do not be surprised to see guns, this is a a typical Mexican boarding procedure and they have been doing this since 2008. The good news is their presence deters unlawful sport fishing boats who, in 2007, hooked a white shark right in front of us. Fortunately we sent a small boat over to them to film what they were doing and they soon cut the line and ran away. Having the MX Navy on site is a good thing. Day four ends as day three did, by now you have moved over to the expert class of Shark Diver and you know what the color of a white sharks eye really is. Only a real shark diver knows this so consider yourself one of the fortunate few. Like we said before, tonight when you go to sleep just know that a few feet below you lurk some of the white sharks you have come to know over the past few days. Shredder with his unique dorsal fin, Fat Tony, Mau, or even Bruce. They’ll be here when you wake up.
By now, everyone will be old pros and enjoy the relaxed feel of things. Your shark cage team will be some of your best friends even after this latest adventure with Shark Diver. Cage teams typically assign names for themselves, “The Wild Ones”, “Team Dark Tide” when it’s time to go cage diving your team is ready and able, knowing where all the gear is located and how to suit up. Our photographers will be focused on getting the “best of the trip” shot and shark fans will now be able to accurately measure, sex, and identify each new shark. Shark Diver has a share and share alike policy towards shark images. Basically if you happen to nail the best trip shot, share it. Each night we provide memory sticks so divers can offload images and share them with each other. That way every divers goes home with the absolute best images they can, a group effort. The last cage rotation is always bitter sweet, time to say goodbye to animals that have captured our imaginations since, for many, childhood. It’s amazing but sometimes if you really connect with an animal, there’s a moment where the two of you just click. Shredder has been clicking with divers since our first season, and we hope you get to meet him this year, as he has proven to be quite a unique and wonderful animal.We depart after lunch and head for home, make sure you take some last minute snap shots of Shark Fin Rock on the way out, usually the light is just right and it’s a great way to say good by.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even the most hard core shark fans have a few questions and our team have collected the most frequently asked from our divers. If your question about your next shark diving adventure isn’t answered below, don’t hesitate to call us at 619.887.4275 or toll free 855.987.4275 or email us, informed shark divers are better shark divers.
Is shark diving safe?
To date we have enjoyed a 100% operational record at every shark site we operate in.Shark Diver remains committed to Safe and Sane Shark Diving TM, it’s a way of doing shark dive operations right, the first time, every time. No shark system is 100%, so let’s talk shark safety.
Over the past decade Shark Diver has steadfastly stuck to a few core operations principals that are at the heart of Safe and Sane Shark Diving.
1. Respect the sharks. Shark Diver sees sharks for what they are, predators, first and foremost. We respect that fact. No one, no matter how seasoned or professional should lose sight that sharks have the potential to be dangerous if they are not treated with a healthy dose of operational respect.
2. Sharks are not “playthings”. Along with respect comes the understanding that stunt work with sharks with regular divers ultimately leads to disaster. We conduct the same dive and baiting protocol with sharks each and every time.Operations that conduct stunt work with sharks while commercial divers are in the water have little respect for the animals and the resource. We are here to observe these magnificent animals, not use them for personal gain, either with stunt based images or video or by calling stunt work “conservation.”
3. Baiting and sites. Shark Diver only operates at sites with seasoned animals. We do not change baiting practices in the middle of a dive, and we do not confuse the animals. When you change what you do with sharks in a baited situation you often have confused sharks, which leads to situations that are not good for your divers or for the sharks. Sharks do not want to attack humans as a general rule, but they have 300 million years of predatory evolution behind them, so do the same thing with sharks each time, every time. Our crews work with the animals and let their behaviour be our guide – not the other way around.
These are a few of the simple yet successful principals we have developed and stick with year in and year out. Like we said no system is 100% safe, but a decade later we have shown that respect, protocols, and understanding the animals you are fortunate enough to work with can allow for safe shark interactions – and we hope you agree.
Do I need qualifications to dive?
Other than being reasonably physically fit, you don’t have to be an expert diver to cage dive with us at our Isla Guadalupe white shark dive site. Divers joining us in the Bahamas do need to be certified divers. For non divers joining us this season at Guadalupe, you will be required to attend a one-hour onboard cage diving presentation. Comfort in the water is a must. We strongly suggest that non divers take an “intro to diving” class at your local dive shop prior to joining us at our white shark dive site.
Do you have Bio-Sphere permits?
Shark Diver operates under Mexican operations permits issued to the MV Horizon by CONANP and other agencies. We have done so since the permit system was introduced to Isla Guadalupe in 2008. There are no such things as “exclusive permits” at Isla Guadalupe. The Mexican white shark permit system is fair and even, each vessel, each operator, has to operate within the established park guidelines. If you become aware of any operator who makes claims to “exclusive permits” be wary of that claim as they are false, and the operator is hiding something from the divers.
Do the sharks ever attack the cage?
As a general rule no, they do not. We do not entice sharks into cages nor do we seek hard shark interactions. As some operations have unfortunately discovered sharks can be unforgiving if you do not adhere to strict shark diving protocols. We do, and it’s our foremost consideration when you dive with us. Expect very close passes within 12 inches at times. We run a cage free operation in the Bahamas but do have film and television cage systems for rent if needed.
How big are the white sharks and tigers?
Isla Guadalupe Great Whites are primarily transitional sub adults, 12 – 16 feet in length are are sleek, fast, and beautiful. We also encounter makos on very rare and very special occasions. Later in the season we encounter much larger sharks upwards to 18 feet. We call this “The Time of the Titans.” Late season sharks also come with a better chance of poor weather on site so you need to take that into consideration when making your shark diving choice with us. In 2015 our primary focus will be on peak season dates from August-November, to maximize your chances of quality interactions with these animals.
Tigers in the Bahamas run from 10-15 feet in length and are primarily female. They can be shy at times but we work with them over a period of days at Tiger Beach until they, and our divers, reach a good comfort level.
Is cage diving always possible?
At Tiger Beach Bahamas we run a cage free operation for our divers. At Isla Guadalupe on occasion adverse weather may prevent safe cage diving operations. Our experienced dive operations managers will make the decision when he or she feels that your dive safety may be at risk. We may move to a better location or even cancel the weeks trip and reschedule another trip as soon as the weather improves. Safety is always our first priority. We will never “push the envelope” at any shark site when it comes to your safety or your loved ones safety. In the many years we have been at Isla Guadalupe we have canceled only one expedition due to late season storms and all our divers got a return trip.
How far in advance do I have to book?
We suggest that you book your expedition with us as soon as possible to guarantee yourself a spot on any of our fleet boats for limited expeditions to our incredible and pristine shark diving sites. Worldwide attention has grown for Isla Guadalupe and Tiger Beach over the past decade, and we are experiencing record interest again this year!
Sharkdiver.com Shark Guarantee?
Yes. After almost a decade of shark diving operations we offer the industries only shark diving guarantee. Shark Diver only runs shark operations during peak seasons, we know when and at what times the sharks are on site and have the benefit of the world’s most productive and pristine shark sites to operate in. We guarantee that you will see great white sharks. Should you not see any great white sharks, SD will take you back for free, (airfare, hotel etc. not included). This is your vacation, and your money, we’re in the business of delivering sharks. Join us!