The Pacific Self Propelled Ocean Cage - Bluewater Dive Travel
The Pacific Self Propelled Ocean Cage

The Pacific Self Propelled Ocean Cage

A lone rocky outcrop in the Pacific Ocean 150 miles off the west coast of Mexico, the tiny island of Guadalupe has a big reputation for some of the best shark-cage diving in the world. From July to November every year, shark enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies jostle for a place on board one of the few liveaboards equipped to bring divers face-to-face with Guadalupe’s awesome great white sharks. Pacific Fleet, one of Bluewater Dive Travel’s Preferred Partners, has been running cage-diving trips to Guadalupe for many seasons, however, 2018 was a gamechanger for them with the launch of their new luxury liveaboard, Socorro Vortex. As well as surface and mid-water cage facilities, the Vortex was equipped with the world’s only Self Propelled Ocean Cage, or SPOC.

Pelagic SPOC

Photo by Euan Rannachan (@euanart)

Designed and built specifically for Pacific Fleet, SPOC was originally used for scientific research, but with the launch of Socorro Vortex, a commercial license was granted allowing paying customers to experience great whites in an extraordinary new way. SPOC is the shape and size of a small, 2-person submersible (think yellow submarine), but is constructed of metal bars with a hole at the front large enough for a diver to squeeze through. Completely independent of the main ship, it is self-propelled and driven by a pilot who sits at the rear of the cage. The guest has the front seat, and the pair communicate with one and other, and the ship, using full face masks. The key benefit of SPOC is that it can achieve a cruising speed of 5 knots, allowing the diver to travel alongside the sharks, opening up a whole new range of photo and video options.

Pelagic SPOC Pelagic SPOC

Photos by Erick Higuera (L) and Nirupam Nigam (R)

Experiencing great white sharks in the clear waters of Guadalupe is like nothing else. These massive predators arrive by the dozen throughout the summer months to feed on the local sealion populations and to find a mate. While numerous lively young males appear early in the season, the larger males don’t materialize until late September. The last to arrive well into October are the largest females, and this is peak breeding season with some breathtaking interactions.

Pelagic SPOC Pelagic SPOC

Photos by @euanart (L) and Erick Higuera (R)

Both the Vortex and Pacific Fleet’s second liveaboard, Solmar V, are equipped to launch SPOC, however it isn’t used on every trip. Guests keen to experience this new technology are encouraged to book in advance to ensure availability. There is an extra charge, of course, but those who have dived alongside great whites in the SPOC rate it as an experience of a lifetime. If you would like more information on SPOC, Pacific Fleet, or trips to Guadalupe contact the Bluewater Travel Team on +1-310-915-6677 or email us at


Read more about the Pacific Fleet, the Vortex, and the Solmar V.

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