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Honest review of my Great White adventure!

Adventure of a lifetime!!! If you're trying to decide on a company to go with and you use reviews... read more

Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Epic trip of a lifetime

Words cannot describe the experience. This truly was a trip of a lifetime. Everything about the... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
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Reviewed October 16, 2015

I just returned from 5 nights on the boat. The first day/night were travelling to the Guatalupe Island. We anchored a short distance from the island. The entire crew was excellent. The cook for all meals did a very nice job and was a pleasant man. The captain, Jason, was good at keeping us informed. Jimi, from "Shark Dive Xperts" was our dive master and guide. He is a very nice young man with a wealth of experience and knowledge. The rooms/cabins are VERY modest. They were clean but small.....no bathroom, closet, just a sink. There are only bunk beds so if you're thinking about reading in bed, you'll have to pretty much be laying down or you'll hit your head on the bunk above. There's one plug in. Mine was in the ceiling so was a bit of a challenge when wanting to charge something. However, there were several options in the dining room. Now about the shark diving....that's why all of us were there. There are two shark diving cages with up to 4 people in each. The cages stay at the surface of the water but are deep, so you go down several feet. Each diver has its own regulator. The tanks are on the boat, so have up to 4 long "hoses" in the tank. Not a problem. You also have a wetsuit with weights to put on. They help you with all of this. Getting in and out of the cages needs alittle help from the crew but not a problem. I think I was the oldest person in the group (68 years old) and always wanted them to help me. They were always excellent helpers. You went in for about an hour, then out for an hour and back in for an hour....went like this for a few hours. If you didn't want you rotation, you didn't have to. If you wanted to get out of the cage, you could. One time I was cold, so just got out of the cage....to the top and just sat there til time for everyone to get out. Worked out fine. Everyone has cameras....the whole point of the trip. Everyone got great pictures!! We saw about 20 great whites the three days there.....keep in mind you have one day to get there and one day to return to San Diego. If you love wildlife and photography, as I do, then go for it. The trip is a bit spending but was worth every penny!!! I forgot to mention, there are 2 shower/bathrooms on the main deck....only ones.

Date of experience: October 2015
4  Thank maggieminn
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2015

I recently took a three night/two day fishing trip with Islander Charters. My brothers and I were celebrating my fathers 80th birthday. My two brothers and father shared a cabin (there were four bunks in their cabin). I was lucky enough to have a cabin of my own (there were two bunks and a sink in my cabin, which I highly recommend!).

The boat is a working fishing/dive vessel. Don't expect cruise ship amenities and luxury. Be prepared to stow your own gear. If you don't like bunk beds, then this is not your adventure! They have two heads with showers - lots of hot water!

The fishing was remarkable, but what made the experience meaningful was the staff. Captain John, Captain Jason, the deck hands Matt, Andrew, Jarred and Chef Rick really went out of their way to help their customers on the charter.

Matt, Andrew and Jarred are amazing young men who really love their job! They coached anyone who hooked a fish to help you successfully land that fish in the boat. I was impressed with how hard they worked from dawn until well beyond dusk. One of the Captains were ever present. Just a group of super positive guys.

Chef Rick was amazing! And I have to admit to having a bit of a crush on him and his mad skills in a galley kitchen smaller than my kitchen counter at home! We were served three meals a day as well as two snacks. It was gourmet! Food cooked to perfection. WOW!

The weather was epic, awesome sunrises and sunsets. But really, it was the fishing. I would say off the hook, but in this case - it was on the hook! We caught blue and yellow fin tuna. We had the opportunity to see some hammerheads - one even munched a tuna as it was being reeled in.

We had a diverse group of people on our charter. A couple who were in their mid 70's, a group from the same business that were team building, and a father and son who were similar in age group as my brothers and father. A wide range of ages and three women. It was a great experience getting to know everyone on the charter.

I will definitely see Islander Charters again! I would love to go on their cage diving adventure next.

Thanks for an exceptional experience.

Date of experience: August 2015
Thank Robin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2015

I have actually used Island Charters twice, and I plan on going again. Everything about the trip was fantastic, the crew, the sharks, and even the food (which is impressive since I am a vegetarian). I highly recommend using Islander Charters, and I look forward to my next trip with them.
I made a bunch of friends on the trips, and saw some amazing sharks.

Date of experience: October 2014
2  Thank Brian J
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2015 via mobile

I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world, but not a single trip can truly top my excursion to Guadalupe Island on Islander Charters. I went with a friend on this excursion to see the Great White Sharks and to say that it was one of the highlights of my life would be an understatement.

The shark viewing at Guadalupe Island is rather popular, and with a limited number of vessels allowed to visit the island and a seasonality to the viewing, it can be a challenge to make a reservation to go. Make sure you plan ahead so you can get the ideal date that you want. We did a rather extensive amount of research on the different boat operator available and decided that Islander was the choice for us. For us, some of the primary criteria in selecting Islander Charters was the quality of the vessel along with their safety record. We ended up booking our trip about one year in advance.

The trip itself was better than anything that I could have imagined. From the time we booked the trip until we arrived in San Diego communication was great. And once in San Diego and boarding the ship I knew we would be in good hands.

The boat itself was quite nice. Just remember, this is a working vessel, not a cruise ship. If you are expecting luxurious living quarters, an on deck hot tub, or tremendous amounts of personal space you may be disappointed. Keeping all of that in mind, the accommodations are good enough (you are really only in your room for sleeping) and the common areas were more than sufficient.

What the ship may lack in creature comforts is more than made up for by an excellent crew. From the time you board until the time you leave all of your needs are attended to. Service was fantastic and friendly and the food was terrific.

After sailing down to Guadalupe from San Diego (which takes a full day to get to) the action begins almost right away. The crew of the M/V Islander guaranteed us sightings of Great White Sharks and they didn't disappoint. The surface cages were quickly dropped into the water and from that point on a rotation of viewing in the cages began.

There are two surface cages in use on the back of the vessel, each one can hold four people comfortably. Since these cages are at the surface you do not need to be scuba certified to participate. The crew did an excellent job teaching all non-divers on how to use the regulators (I am a certified diver so this didn't apply to me).

Each cage session lasted about 45 minutes and there was plenty of action to be had during that time. Not once did I feel unsafe inside the cage. The cage sessions were all great and it is one of those things that you could never really get bored with as long as there is at least one shark around.

In addition to the surface cage they also have a submersible cage for certified divers. I was fortunate enough to be the first one on our trip to go down in the with our dive master Jimi. Wow! When we went down in the cage (to a depth of about 30 feet) we had three sharks swimming around the cage - it was an exhilarating experience.

On the boat itself the common area is more that sufficient to spend your time when not in the cages. Most people were downloading their pictures onto computers when not in the water.

Food on the boat was also great. Three meals per day along with some snacks. Beer and wine is included in the price (for after the last dive of the day, of course).

All in all, no need detail was overlooked by the crew of the M/V Islander. A truly professional sailing and diving crew. Not only would I recommend that anyone with an interest in sharks go on this adventure with Islander Charters, I would recommend they go more than once. I fully plan on doing this again - I guess you can check an item off of your bucket list more than once!

Date of experience: July 2015
3  Thank ChrisG3152
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2015 via mobile

Top notch food and drink from chef. Great crew, super friendly. If you want to see sharks it is best to go with them. They are the best fishermen in the fleet, and know how to find the big fish.

Date of experience: September 2014
1  Thank mikeybuffalo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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