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“Not a good choice if you want to actually see sharks”

Great White Adventures
Ranked #29 of 34 things to do in Alameda
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Attraction details
Owner description: Shark-diving experiences off the coasts of northern California and Mexico.
Reviewed October 8, 2007

I recently took a trip to the Farallons with Great White Adventures on Monday Oct 1, 2007. I as well as all the other members of the group were disappointed for the fact that we saw minimal/no shark activity (10 minutes after an attack with blood on surface). The website is misleading regarding the methods used to entice sharks to come in close or become visible. There was no mention regarding the new rules surrounding what techniques are permitted in the sanctuary. When they express "decoys" on your website they are always being towed behind the boat as seen in your video. Unfortunately they did not tow the decoy or chum the water. It floated like a piece of cardboard. We sat in a cage in water with 5 feet visibility and saw absolutely nothing!. After speaking with the divemaster, he expressed to us that towing the decoys worked "too" well and that they cannot do anything to entice them to bring them closer. Too Well? That is what we are there to see!
It is unfortunate that they do not have any policy in place to get individuals out onto the boat for another opportunity or offer any kind of discount. Flying from Boston I am already $1300 and 4 days invested in a trip that I would not recommend to any of my adventure friends. In fact I have gone out of my way to deter some friends looking to do the same.
I think that 3 years ago before the rules of engagement changed i.e. chumming or baiting/trolling with decoys, it would have been a great opportunity to see sharks. They need to change their 80% hit rate to the 30% that our captain expressed as "realistic" and post a new video that was shot after 2004. If doing anything to provoke shark attacks because of changing their eating habits is being prevented by researchers on the island, I certainly would't be a currier for their mail as they waited for them to exchange letters to be brought back to the mainland. VERY DISSAPOINTING. Additionally they lost my paperwork I mailed to them and did not acommodate my friend with his food alergy. (dairy).
I wrote them when I returned and they made no effort to write back and so I am on a mission to warn others before they decide to make a poor decision to spend any money with them.
I attached a photo for reference. That Jellyfish was 3 feet away and not very visible. They day was clear and calm so I cannot imagine the vis gets any better.

7  Thank BostonDiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 28, 2006

Just returned from a day out at the Farallon Islands with Great White Adventures. My group did not see any Great Whites however we did see lots of wildlife as expected. I went into the trip with extremely low expectations after I had completed my own research. The pictures on the company's web site would lead one to believe that fish is dangled from above the water etc. to lure in the shark however this is not allowed due to the area being a natural preserve - which is a good thing. If only the dive master and staff would have stated truths from the beginning of the trip I would not have a bitter taste in my mouth. For example, the dive master told the group the day before Great White Sharks were plentiful and went on to describe the sizes of sharks that were seen from the surface as well as the shark cage. Then the captain told us the day before was horrible weather and no sharks were spotted. I was insulted and disgusted by the lying from the tour company as the conflicting stories went on. People on the tour were laughing at the staff and whispering that they should get their stories straight with each other as they look foolish. As well the companies DVD was shown at the end of the day. The DVD showed trolling and fish baiting from the Farallon Islands, when I asked why they would have that misrepresentation on a DVD (as stated previously they are not allowed to use those tactics) the dive master looked annoyed and didn't answer my question.

The deck hand gave a brief speech at the start of the trip...I think something about safety but we couldn't hear her. She had zero personality and no knowledge of the area we were going to. She asked the dive master why she couldn't dangle fish to get the sharks to come up.

In summation the issues that I encountered were not the lack of Great Whites...as one cannot blame mother nature. It was the lying from the tour staff (dive master specifically). And the miss-representation from the website.

I don't think I could recommend this tour company in good faith. Save your money and go to South Africa!!! However if this is your only choice go in with extremely low expectations and you'll be satisfied!!!

8  Thank Alberta123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2006

We anticipated this trip for a year and were severely disappointed. The crew came to work in clothes they appeared to have slept in.They were dirty and unkept. The deck hands jeans were so rotten they were being held together with duct tape. The food appeared to have been left over from the previous trip. In fact at the end of the day we watched as they put left over hot chocolate back in the ice chest. There was fruit on a table when we arrived in the morning but the grapes were moldy. The fruit was kept on an unsanitary table top where everyone sat and left there personal items it was not cooled in any manner to assure freshnes. Two of the crew members went to sleep right after we left in the morning ,sleeping in two of the booths for the passengers, forcing four paying passengers to ride outside in the wind.. While the passenger were given dried up croissants with a slice of dry cheese and meat all left out for several hours the crew ate bagels and cream cheese with smoked salmon. Lunch was terrible, just left on a table again and not edible. By the middle of the trip their were flies everywhere, on the food, in your mouth and eyes. This says a lot for a ship traveling at 15 to 20 knots. The crew members said nothing to the top side observers all day and any facts they related to the divers was taken straight from shark week on the discovery channel. As far as the sharks went there were only two seen by two divers, the ship never got close enough to the island to see anything, this despite the fact the islands were crawling with seals and sea lions. The one time a dorsel fin was spotted two crew members rushed to the back of the boat blocking the view of any paying passengers. The crew advised early there was refresments on board including beer. They did not provide an opener until on the way back when passengers were discovered opening the non twist off caps on the side of the ship. My wife and I had nothing to eat or drink the entire 12 hours we were on the boat. I would strongly advise any one not to waste their time or money on this company if you are expecting anything more than a 12 hour boat ride. The web site is great but they do not deliver on any thing promised.

10  Thank daale/deb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2006

I went out for two seperate days on this trip - the staff was very nice but the first day we saw one shark for approximately 10 seconds on the surface and the second day we saw no sharks - the water was extremely cold with terrible visiblity and the food was not good, either - in fact, my dietary restrictions, which were noted on my registration form, were not honored on either trip . . .
No chumming or dragging lures allowed at location - total waste of money - if you want to see great whites don't waste your money on this trip - go to Isla De Guadalupe . . .

10  Thank raffin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Medford Or.
Reviewed March 3, 2005

My husband and I have been to the Farallons with Great White Adventurtes twice now! We saw sharks both times and we really enjoyed the experience. It is an exciting day out on the water with a great crew and fun people. The food was fine and we all had a great day with Jim and Mike.
They know their stuff and I personally learned a great deal from them about sharks and the wildlife out at the Farallon islands.
The company does not garauntee sharks and they are very up front about not promising wild animals to cooperate on que. I guess we were lucky to see what we saw. We saw two sharks the second trip in 2004 and we saw an awsome feeding event in 2003. We got to see a shark actually eat an elephant seal!! It was worth every penny and we are going to Guadalupe with them next year.

7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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