Guadalupe Trip Report - September 2015 - Bluewater Dive Travel
Guadalupe Trip Report - September 2015

Guadalupe Trip Report - September 2015





BY Katie Yonker

PHOTOS BY Katie Yonker, Domenico Battaglia, and Jeff Reasol

For divers wanting a change of pace from the corals and critters they’re accustomed to, nothing beats the heart-pounding adrenaline rush of coming face-to-face with a great white shark. Located approximately 150 miles off Mexico’s Baja peninsula lies Isla Guadalupe, home to one of the most reliable concentrations of great whites on earth. It’s hard to compete with the visibility here, which often exceeds 100 feet. For those on the west coast, a quick flight or drive to San Diego is far more convenient than a flight to South Africa, and Guadalupe shark sightings are much more reliable than in the Farallon Islands. This September, I led a group of shark enthusiasts aboard the Nautilus Explorer for a truly memorable experience.

Guadalupe Island at sunset

Our trip began in San Diego, where we loaded a comfortable transfer bus and headed off to Ensenada. After a 40 minute ride we reached the border for what was an easier than expected crossing. Everyone unloaded their bags, got their passport stamped, hopped back on the bus, and continued on for the approximately 2 hour journey to Ensenada. We arrived at the boat around 10:30 PM and received a warm welcome from the crew. After filling out some forms while enjoying a welcome drink, we were all shown to our cabins and went to bed excited for what was to come.

The ride to Guadalupe takes about 20 hours, so the following day was spent getting to know each other, discussing the dive and safety procedures, unpacking gear (which is wonderfully light considering you don’t need a regulator, BCD, or fins), setting up camera equipment, and enjoying generous and hearty meals. Each guest is allocated their own gear storage space on the rear deck, which also includes a camera table, charging station, and separate rinse tanks for cameras and dive equipment.  

Briefed on safety and ready for sharks!

We arrived to Guadalupe around sunset and watched in amazement as the cages were loaded into the water. 
 Nautilus Explorer is equipped with two 40-foot submersible cages (2 pax and 4 pax), a 20-foot suspended cage (3 pax), and a 5-foot surface cage (3 pax). 
After a delicious dinner and an amusing game of Cards Against Humanity with some crew members, we all retired to bed with eager anticipation. The following day we woke up bright and early for coffee, continental breakfast, and the first scheduled submersible cage dives of the day. The dive schedule consists of three daily 45 minute submersible dives per person, and the time in the surface and suspended cages is virtually unlimited.  

Guests watch as cages are loaded into the water.

Cards Against Humanity is a great way to pass time on the crossing.

All three days of action-packed shark diving did not disappoint! Sightings were consistent all days, and on many dives, multiple sharks were seen. Though each submersible cage enters the water with one burlap bag of frozen fish to draw in sharks with the scent of food, Nautilus Explorer refrains from unrestricted chumming, which encourages unnatural shark behavior and creates the dreaded backscatter that photographers loathe.  Being able to witness these amazing creatures in a fairly natural state affirms how calm and cautious these animals often are – a far cry from the man-eaters portrayed by the likes of Jaws. In true finale style, the last few dives on the third day consisted of several sharks circling within inches of the cages, creating some phenomenal photo ops.

Ready for his close up!

Divers in awe of a 14-foot great white.

The surface cages are great for ambient light shots.

A bag of frozen fish is used to draw in sharks close to the cages for these types of photo ops.

Yellowfin jacks are almost always found circling the cages. 

A curious shark passes by. 


After three thrilling days of shark diving, the cages were brought onboard and we began the trip back to Ensenada. Though we were able to cross off an item from our bucket list, the general consensus was that this is not a one-time trip. No matter how much time you spend in the water with the great whites, you’ll want more.  Thanks again to all our guests and the crew of the Nautilus Explorer for making this one of the most memorable trips of a lifetime!


Interested in diving with great whites? Join our 2016 Guadalupe group trip. To sign up, or for more information on diving in Guadalupe, email



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