So I went on the Guadalupe Island 5 day trip back in November 2008, 11-1 thru 11-5. All started well, with everyone very excited about the next 5 days. Once under way, I got my first taste of how things were going to go. The tour leader, "Josh" started out telling us some general info, then introduced us to another tour leader, Jillian, who he was obviously jealous of, by mentioning that if we had any questions about the sharks on the island, to ask her, because she had a marine biology degree. Odd, but we all blew it off. He held true to his claim though, and didn't offer a single bit of education about any of the sharks, or the island. I asked him about the mexican regulations on chumming, as they had recently changed, or so I thought. He told me that it was OK, and totally legal. The next day we were at the island, and the cages were being deployed. There were a few people who weren't certified divers, and who were visibly struggling, and having trouble donning their suits. The crew who watched literally stood and did nothing, including Josh. I helped her get the suit on. My buddy rented a video camera from them for $100.00 and told them he had never used one. They said no prob, that they would give him a good intro, and show him how to operate it. The first day, he sat frustrated in the galley, trying to put it together alone, as the sulking leader did nothing to help him. Half the customers on board were Josh's tattoo artist friends, and he catered to them well, but really dropped the ball for the rest of us. The only compliment I can pay was for the chef, man that guy could cook. Other than the sharks, which were plentiful, thank God, he was the only highlight. These guys taunt that they have the best customer service in the business and focus on everyone! Not even close. The crew who were baiting the lines and throwing them were helpful about 1/4 of the time. When the action slowed, and we were in the cages, they must have fallen asleep, because the bait literally drifted into the cage, and just sat there. They are supposed to pull it in and throw it back out. These guys were definitely part of the fishing boat that we were on's crew(The Searcher). Not into service for the customer at all. For $3000.00, and all the claims about customer service, I'd say you could could go elsewhere and do better. As for the "legal chumming" old Josh assured us all of, we got a surprise visit from some Mexican official types, and the "legal chum" buckets were promptly hidden below deck in the engine room???? Wow is all I have to say. The last day we were there, the guy running the show was at the back of the boat, standing around, then vanished to the front of the boat. There were still people in cages, with sharks swimming around, mind you! I go up there to see what's up, with my video camera rolling, and there's old Josh, fishing, and lands a pretty sizable tuna. As I'm taping the whole thing, the crew who gaffed the fish tells me that it's illegal to fish while there are divers in the water, and to not show anyone the footage!!! Boy was the tour leader proud of his catch, so much so, he blew off the rest of the divers in the water, and on deck in the back of the boat. The icing on the cake is that they include tipping etiquette in the info packet, and suggest 10% of the trip cost, which would be around $280.00at that time. I thought it was maybe me, or my own perception, and expectations getting the best of me, but as we were making our way back into San Diego, I asked several of the paying customers what they thought, and they were equally unimpressed. One gent tipped only $40.00!! He had the dough, but wasn't about to do so, based on his own experience. The final insult was as we were pulling in, the crew asked us to bring our bags up to the top deck, so they could "help" us with them when we pulled in. I was like, wow, finally someone is gonna get off their A#@ and do something!! Nope. They all stood around once the boat was tied off, and watched all the paying customers lug their own stuff back to shore. I'm not to good to carry my own stuff, or incapable of giving someone the benefit of the doubt, but it started 10 minutes off the dock, and stopped when we all humped our stuff back onto it. I work very hard for my money, and felt pretty fortunate to be going on such an expensive amazing trip. I tip over the standard amount just about everywhere I go to eat, and on trips, when I feel they deserve it. Not a chance. I wanted to give what money I did tip directly to the chef, and maybe 3 others, but it all goes into an envelope left in your cabin. The sharks are going to be there, it's a given at Guadalupe Island, so if you have the option, pick another company, and save a few bucks. Oh, and half the crew all got free tattoos from the other artists on the boat. Good for them..........at least they got some extra attention while on the trip. You may have seen footage of a shark breaking through a cage at Guadalupe, with 2 divers in it. That was them!! On the Searcher, exactly one year earlier, almost to the day. I called before booking the trip, and asked about the safety of the cages. They assured me that they were busy re-designing a safer cage, to rest assured all was well. On the 2nd day of the trip, while in the cage, with sharks swimming around, I looked down, and the bars on the cage I was in had paint on them, and fresh looking weld sites, on the top as well. Some new design, a weld of the exact same cage that had the front ripped off by a juvenile male white shark, hehe. In the owner of the companies defense, I liked him, and he always treated me with respect, and was very courteous on the phone. I'm sure if he would have been on board for the trip, it would have possibly gone better. He cancelled at he last minute with some health issues.
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