Island Charters was neither my first, nor second, choice to go on a return white shark diving in Guadalupe, but they had an last minute opening. The other operators did not. Now I have a idea why.
Though we saw some sharks, this mainly occurred during a few minutes during each of the 3-4 daily 60 minute dives when all we saw was...nothing. This was frustrating because the sharks were clearly around and immediately rose to the cages when fresh baits, especially tuna oil and blood, were released into the water. Unfortunately, the crew was mostly unprepared to do this and unless they hand lined a tuna as they did on several occasions, we wasted our time in the cages. On other Guadalupe trips the sharks stayed in close and nosed the cages continuously. That’s what everyone wanted! Never happened with Island Charters.
Another thing: the cages were all placed at the surface so the sharks had to come all the way up to be seen. Though they had a submersible on this trip, divers were lucky to get one, 20 minute immersion at 20 feet. This is the depth where we should have spent our time in properly baited cages. Very disappointing.
Lastly the guy who gave divers the regulator before entering the cage, “Doc”, was very preoccupied with maintaining a strict schedule and clueless about customer service. On one unproductive hour long dive, the sharks only appeared as I was leaving the cage and had already handed him the reg. He wouldn’t give it back to me because “time was up”. The ownership of this company needs a better suited person to interact with its clients.
On the positive, the crew was friendly and the food excellent. The lady who ran the kitchen by herself did an unbelievable job of cooking for 15 people and everything was delicious. Also when we needed earplugs to drown out the growling engine next to our room, they quickly responded. Excellent guys, all of them.
I can’t recommend a trip with Island Charters. Despite the excellent food and nice crew, they couldn’t deliver the sharks. Guadalupe Island is the best place in the world to see these magnificent animals and my previous two trips were great! Live and learn.