Islander’s shark cage dives are all-inclusive. That means gourmet meals, snacks, all beverages (including beer and wine when done diving for the day), air-conditioned stateroom accommodations, Guadalupe Island biosphere permits, Mexican tourist visas, customs fees, taxes (no additional taxes or port fees are charged), masks, wetsuits, regulators, weight system and a very experienced, friendly and helpful crew, are all included in the trip price. Plus we’ve got a hot tub on the back deck! Great for warming up, socializing, and topside viewing of the sharks.
We have a 100% success record and a 100% safety record diving with Great White Sharks. As an American family owned and flagged vessel, we are inspected annually by the U.S. Coast Guard for the best in safety. All our employees participate in the USCG’s drug testing program, another top safety point. Additionally Islander Charters is the whole package: we have the most experienced crew (owner John Conniff has been captaining dive trips to Guadalupe longer than anyone on the planet), a world renowned divemaster (shark expert & Shark Week star Jimi Partington), we own and operate our own boat (you’ve seen the ‘Islander’ on Shark Week!), as well as use our own non-collapsible shark cages (custom designed & manufactured by the welder for Scripps Institute for Oceanography). This allows us to guarantee every aspect of your trip. We are hands down the most featured boat for Shark Week specials at Guadalupe Island. See our media page which includes links to various shows, articles and documentaries. There is a reason the experts (researchers, marine biologists and film makers) always come with us. If that isn’t enough, check out our passenger reviews on TripAdvisor.com – we are the best reviewed dive operation at Guadalupe! Islander Trip Advisor Reviews
No dive experience is needed. Our trips are for beginners to seasoned divers. The cages are attached to the rear of the boat and you simply step onto the back step of the boat, step over to the cage top, then climb the ladder down into the cage…the ocean surface is only about 3-4 feet above your head. You wear a wetsuit (includes separate hood, booties & gloves), a weight harness, a mask, and you use a mouthpiece with a regulator to breath (air is supplied from aboard the boat via a hookah hose), but since you have no tanks on your back and are not diving deep, it is easy for beginners. If you have never breathed using a regulator, our dive instructors will patiently work with you and evaluate your comfort level in the water. You can exit the cage anytime you are uncomfortable. There is a Divemaster standing by at all times to monitor the divers and we have a 100% safety record. If you decide the cages are not for you, you can clearly view White Sharks from the boat deck topside (even while sitting in the hot tub) and still have a fabulous trip. Be sure to bring polarized lens sunglasses.
Yes. Despite what you see in sensationalized broadcasting, Great White Sharks are very cautious and graceful animals. Our crew is the most experienced in the business and passenger security is our number one priority. We have a perfect safety record which means no cage breaches, accidents or incidents between divers and Great White Sharks.
Most White Sharks at Guadalupe Island range from 10-16 feet long. Occasionally, we see what’s become known as a ‘mega-shark’. These are extra large, mature females that can be 17 to 20+ feet in length. Often it’s not the length of the animals that awes most first timers, it’s their girth. When you see them up close and personal, they are all big!
Extremely reliable due to the time of year we choose to operate. Although a few sharks begin showing up at Guadalupe in July/August, they are generally the smaller, juvenile males. We prefer to run our passenger trips from September through November when the maximum number of sharks are at the island, including the larger females. Who wants to take a long trip to see only a couple Great Whites or maybe even none?! This means all our trips fall into the ‘best time to go’. We have a 100% success rate, viewing multiple Great White Sharks on every trip we’ve made to Guadalupe Island. Our record is twelve different animals circling the boat at the same time. In fact, we guarantee White Sharks or your next trip is free.
On the 5-day trip, we are anchored at the island for three days of diving. Our cages hold 8 divers comfortably. This means half the divers are in the water on each cage rotation. You spend one hour in/one hour out of the cages throughout the daylight hours. This allow for about 10-12+ hours of cage time per diver for the whole trip. Occasionally, someone will skip their turn in the cage, which gives some of the more gung-ho divers extra rotations. There is also excellent topside viewing of the sharks when you’re not in the cage. Polarized sunglasses are very helpful to cut down the sun’s glare, allowing you to see them clearly in Guadalupe’s incredible blue water.
Unbelievably clear! Unlike shark diving in San Francisco or South Africa’s murky water, Guadalupe Island boasts visibility of over 80 feet. The clear water is one of the main reasons Guadalupe Island has become the world’s premier White Shark diving location. It is a beautiful sapphire blue and absolutely stunning. Since Guadalupe Island is a protected biosphere, we are one of only a handful of operators allowed to take tourists diving there. You are seeing great white sharks in a pristine environment. In order to keep it that way, biodegradable/reef safe sunscreen is the only type allowed.
The water temperature at Guadalupe Island ranges from 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. We suggest diving with 5mm – 7mm wetsuit with a hood. The water is comfortable but since you are primarily stationary in the cage (not swimming) and taking multiple dives each day, it feels colder than you think. Our advice for staying warm is to not get cold in the first place. Our seven person hot tub on the back deck gets you warmed up quick while still allowing topside viewing of the sharks! Wetsuits provided by Islander Charters are 7mm. Gear also includes booties, hood, gloves, mask, weight harness, and breathing apparatus – all included in your trip price.
Guadalupe Island is remote and travel there and back is two days of the trip. We depart San Diego at night, check in at Ensenada in the morning, then arrive at Guadalupe by sunrise the next day. It is a long journey but well worth it! Although the sharks are the focus of the trip, you will often see a variety of other sea life while en route and at the island. Whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions and an assortment of sea birds are very common.
Islander offers single or double occupancy rooms. Like most dive liveaboards, our sleeping quarters are stateroom style with 2-3 berths per room. Each room is air-conditioned with a sink, mirror, 110v outlets and storage for clothing. All doors can be secured from inside. Berths have pillows, full linens including a fitted sheet, top sheet and comforter. With only one or two guests in each, Islander allows for all passengers to have an extra bed in their room for added storage.
You will not go hungry on this dive trip! Hearty gourmet meals are served three times daily. Meals range from California tri-tips to pasta and seafood dishes. Fresh bread is baked and served each night. Additionally, a mid-morning snack and afternoon appetizers are prepared by our chef each day. Fresh fruit and other snacks can be grabbed from the galley anytime. Soft drinks, teas, hot cocoa and coffee are available from the beverage bar around the clock. Beer and wine are included on travel days and once you have finished diving for the day. We are happy to accommodate and special diets or allergy needs. If you have dietary restrictions or a special request, please make a note of it in the area on the questionnaire.
The voyage aboard Islander is a nearly 200 mile open ocean crossing. Although the boat was designed and built specifically for the waters of Baja California, you will feel the motion of the ocean. If you are prone to motion sickness, you will want to take preventative measures. Dramamine, behind- the-ear patch or other over the counter drugs work well for most people if used at least two hours prior to departure. Please note these methods are preventative and will not work once seasick. Islander Charters recommends speaking to your doctor or pharmacist to discuss interactions with any other medication you may be taking. Once anchored at the island, seasickness will subside and you can enjoy your days diving.
Yes, we have a fully stocked DVD library with many informative Great White Shark documentaries and popular movies. In addition, we have a book photo identifying all the sharks seen at Guadalupe by name. There are plenty of games, other books and magazines to read. Many passengers watch for whales, dolphin and other marine life that we commonly encounter in transit to and from Guadalupe Island. On top of that, our expert crew of captains, divemasters and marine biologists educate the guests with information on sharks, the island and personal stories of their experiences. Time flies by quicker than expected as you get to know your boatmates and crew.
It is customary for live-aboard divers to leave a gratuity upon departure for a job well done. 10-20% is average for most trips ($350-$700 per guest).
No, you are definitely off the grid on this trip! The island itself is uninhabited with the exception of a few researchers and Mexican fisherman who live off generators. We have a satellite phone aboard the boat for emergencies and quick calls to check in. The cost for usage is $2 per minute. The captain always has radio communication with our landing in America and the U.S. Coast Guard for emergency service. Once you board the boat, you do not disembark until the trip returns from Guadalupe Island.
Here is a comprehensive list.
Water temperatures at Guadalupe range from 64 to 75 degrees in the fall. If you are bringing your own wetsuit, we recommend 5mm-7mm with hood, booties and gloves. Rental wetsuits are included in the price. They are 7mm one piece suits that zip up the back. Hoods, booties and gloves are also provided but many divers go without these. Weight systems are harness type with up to 40 pounds of weight so divers are negatively buoyant and are able to walk around in the cage as if they are on land. Regulators are standard second stages and air is surface supplied. Islander Charters recommends you bring your own mask to ensure a perfect fit. Although we provide quality masks, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a mask that properly fits your individual face.
Don’t forget this most important item! Capture the sharks and your memories with an underwater camera. There is a large variety on the market today. Many of our passengers bring GoPros for great action shots but Amazon and other outlets sell quality underwater cameras for much less. Most people bring their laptops and flash drive to share photos during the down time. Another diver might get the best shot of you with a Great White and vice versa. Everyone develops a sense of camaraderie as you bond in the galley salon each evening and during travel.
Islander Charters has been delivering world class Great White Shark cage dives since 2004. We offer 5 day all-inclusive trips to Guadalupe Island, Mexico – the mecca for Great White Sharks. We are a family owned American company and every trip departs from/returns to San Diego, California.See the Schedule