Nautilus Explorer Guadalupe
Guadalupe Island is the world’s top destination for Great White Shark encounters. This small volcanic island is located in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 150 miles off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and about 250 miles southwest of Ensenada. It outperforms both South Africa and Australia with in frequency and quality of sightings: only Guadalupe Island can boast of shark viewing in beautiful blue water with 125 –150 foot visibility.
The climate of Guadalupe Island tends to be warm and dry, with the majority of precipitation falling during the winter months. In summer, its waters typically boast exceptional visibility. Guadalupe is bathed by oceanic currents, giving rise to diverse marine life. Pelagic animals abound, such as pilot whales, Cuvier's beaked whales, oceanic whitetip sharks, and bluefin and yellowfin tuna. In addition, the island's extensive coastline supports many coastal species, including garibaldi, parrotfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish, lobster, various invertebrate reef creatures, and of course, white sharks. Indeed, due to it’s position between temperate and subtropical ecozones, Guadalupe is home to over 150 native species and at least 30 endemic species.
A recent count in the bay adjacent to Guadalupe (where our expedition is staged) has revealed at least 108 resident white sharks. Unforgettable encounters are guaranteed!
The best way to observe white sharks is to descend into their world and interact with them in a natural way and on their own terms. We use comfortable double decker cages to safely view the sharks. For the more adventurous, there is also the opportunity (conditions permitting) to get out from behind the bars on the upper deck, leaving only a single handrail between you and these incredible apex predators! Highly experienced divemasters in the submersible cages are always there to both “critter point” and ensure your safety. You will have 4 cages at varying depths to choose from, ensuring the opportunity to see lots of “whiteys” up close and very personal.
Recently constructed, the 116' Nautilus Explorer was custom designed with divers in mind. With a layout that utilizes every square foot of available space and extensive soundproofing, the Explorer provides the highest possible level of comfort. Additionally, the crew takes exceptional pride in keeping the boat spotlessly clean and running smoothly. The Nautilus Explorer is certified to the same exacting international SOLAS and ISM standards as the largest cruise ship, with the intimacy of a smaller vessel.
The Nautilus Explorer is also designed to be very safe with heavy, strong steel construction. The vessel's hullform, passive stability system and bulbous bow provides for a remarkably easy ride while heavy-duty commercial grade systems ensure a smooth-running voyage. A water level platform aft of the dive deck provides easy entry into dive skiffs, kayaks and a Laser sailboat.
Imaginative and fresh cuisine is one of the cornerstones of the Nautilus experience. Soups are homemade; bread, pastries and deserts are baked onboard; there is always a choice of entrees and plenty of snacks. Both buffet and table service are offered with a menu that combines North American and European trends, with a touch of Mexico flavor. Service is exceptional, with a chef and 2 hostesses to take care of your needs. Most special dietary requests can be cheerfully accommodated with advance notice.
For a small ship, the Nautilus feels "plenty big". There is ample room to find a quiet place to read, chat, fill out your divelog or journal, or work on editing the images you shot that day - whether in the separate dining room, main salon or on one of the upper sundecks. The main salon also serves as the ship's entertainment centre with comfy couches, a great library, a well stocked bar, and select evening videos, presentations and slide shows. Finally, there is nothing like a soothing soak under the stars in the (fresh water) hot tub after a day of diving or exploration.
Enjoy the upper sun deck with plenty of room to relax, view the scenery, read a book or chat with new friends.
The premium suite is located just behind the wheelhouse and is twice the size of the other suites. It features separate bedroom and lounge areas, each with large flat screen TV and DVD player. Includes air conditioning and private facilities with full-size bathtub and shower. Large windows provide lots of light and suberb ocean views.
The three superior suites on the hot-tub deck measure 145 sq. ft each and have large exterior windows. Superior suites (except the Dofleini) have convertible quasi-kings or double beds (Dofleini is a queen size suite and cannot be converted). They each have a private washroom with shower, a desk and either bureau or wardrobe. Two of these suites have doors that open directly outside. The third suite boasts a large flat screen TV and DVD player.
Hot Tub Deck
Located above the main dive deck, the hot tub on this deck invites a relaxing afternoon or evening soak.
Fresh and imaginative cuisine is served upon beautifully crafted cherrywood tables. Large picture windows surround the dining room making the scenery an integral part of your dining experience.
Located immediately forward of the dive deck, the main salon is the social centre of the ship and is fitted with comfortable couches surrounded by large picture windows. This is the perfect place to relax, browse through the library, or download digital images (on our dedicated PC and Mac computers) and view them on the 42" plasma TV. Enjoy an evening slideshow or sample one of the 30 plus microbrew beers, extensive variety of wines, or selection of single malts.
The back of the Nautilus is the "business end" of the vessel. The dive deck can be configured to carry our 38' skiff on a stern ramp during northern operations or it can be fitted with diver stationsto accommodate 24 guests on warm water trips. A 5 ton hydraulic crane, water level platform and reinforced steel deck also allow for the staging of white shark cage diving, and provide support for film and scientific crews.
All nine lower deck staterooms have private heads with separate shower stalls, central air conditioning. Each measures 90 square feet. Six of the staterooms have side by side beds, and two of the staterooms have large double beds and additional storage area. The triple occupancy suite has a double bed and 2 single bunks.
The first morning upon arrival, each diver will have a warm-up dive to get acquainted with the equipment. After that, you are welcome to get wet at any time! Diving is done via surface-supplied “hookah” with backup dive gear in each cage. Submersible cages make ½ hour dives and run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. every day. If you are a certificated diver, you will have the opportunity to make up to 3 dives per day. The 2 surface cages are open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Dive Days 1 & 2, and from 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Dive Day 3. The first morning of every trip tends to be busy, with guests enthusiastic to spend as much time as possible in the water. After the initial rush, diving tends to be fairly unlimited, and everyone will get ample time in the cages.
For the adventurous, there is also the option to observe sharks from the open upper deck of the submersible cages. Common sense dictates here, and you will be accompanied by a divemaster. Absolutely nothing beats the feeling of standing unrestricted in clear blue water while a 16 foot shark comes over to check you out!
Contrary to popular perception, we do not use heavy slicks of blood, oil and chum on the surface. Despite being unpleasant, it is also unnecessary as sharks are more interesting when demonstrating natural behavior. Without chum around they are more relaxed, exhibit MUCH more curiosity, and come in MUCH closer to the cages. And there is no shortage of closeup activity either: as many as 6 sharks at once can be seen circling the cages!
At anchoragethe sea is generally calm, with 25 - 40 meter visibility and water temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius. At least a 5 - 7 mm full wetsuit is recommended for all seasons. See below for more information on gear and gear rental.
No special dive experience is required for the surface cages. Divers in deep submersible cages must be certified, and are escorted by a divemaster.
The Nautilus Explorer is a heavy 325-ton stable oceanic vessel, and provides for a comfortable ride. On the crossing the seas are usually 1.5 - 2 meters although they can also be flat calm or occasionally (maybe once per season) up to 3 meters. Guests who are prone to seasickness may want to consider a scopolamine patch or alternative remedy. The anchorage at Guadalupe is sheltered and calm.
Fly-in gateways are San Diego and Los Angeles, California and Tijuana, Mexico (connecting via Mexico City). Complete round-trip transfers are offered from a hospitality suite at the Ramada Hotel in San Diego (guests should be ready for departure by 7:30 p.m). The Nautilus Explorer departs in the evening for a 20-hour voyage to Isla Guadalupe, generally arriving the next day at dinner time. This allows for a full night’s sleep before the action begins the next morning. The ship generally arrives back in port at 2 p.m. on the last day of the trip, with included transfers back to San Diego later that afternoon.
Meeting in San Diego?
Please ensure that you are at the meeting place (below) no later than 7:00 p.m. on the day of departure. We also recommend this property for pre- and post- trip hotel stays. Make sure you ask for the Nautilus Explorer rate. If you are staying overnight, the hotel offers an airport shuttle service on days checking in and checking out from the hotel and a continental breakfast. Please call the hotel upon your arrival to request a pickup. If you are not staying at this hotel, you can take a taxi or request a pickup by the Ramada shuttle. The Ramada charge will be USD$10 per trip. Parking is normally $7 per day but no charge for duration of stay. Please ensure you register your car at the front desk or it may get towed.
Ramada Inn San Diego Airport
Owner/Managers Bob and Jyoti Bhakta
1403 Rosecrans St.
San Diego, CA 92106
Please ask the front desk for the Nautilus Explorer meeting room, in which you can drop your luggage and use the facilities (if required). An early dinner is recommended from one of the many excellent restaurants on the waterfront immediately across from the hotel. The chartered highway coach should arrive at the hotel no later than 6 p.m., with a divemaster onboard to assist you. Luggage will be loaded at 7:30 pm, with departure shortly thereafter for the approximate 2 hour transfer to port in Ensenada, Mexico. Margaritas will be waiting for everyone upon arrival at the ship with departure later in the evening. Cruise time to Guadalupe is approximately 22 hours.
Are you flying into Tijuana International Airport?
The express bus directly from the airport to Ensenada is recommended. Once you have collected all your luggage, go outside arrivals and look for the red express bus to Ensenada. This bus runs approximately every hour and travel time is 1 hour 20 minutes. The Corona Hotel is recommended in Ensenada and is located at the top of the dock where the Nautilus Explorer is berthed.
Meeting in Ensenada?
Boarding will be available from 9:30pm – 10:00pm.
Drysuit or wetsuit (5-7mm minimum), mask, booties, optional gloves and hood. Guests should expect water temps in the high 60's or low 70's (20-22 degrees C). Please contact us if you have questions on gear.
Any gear rental requests should be made directly to the Nautilus Explorer office (firstname.lastname@example.org), with your name, trip date, height, weight, chest, waist, inseam and shoe size. To be safe, please contact Nautilus Explorer directly for rentals rather than making your request online through their website.
Surface weather around Isla Guadalupe is generally mild and summer clothing such as shorts, t-shirts and sandals will be fine for most of your trip. A sweater and a windbreaker and/or rain jacket "just in case" is recommended.
You should also bring personal toiletries, your camera gear, lots of memory sticks and a good book. Don’t worry about bringing alcohol, as the bar is well stocked (over 50 vintages on the wine list, 40 different microbrews, 11 single malts and more).
The ship will berth in Ensenada, Mexico at approximately 1:30 p.m. on the last day of your trip. You will then be transferred by coach back to either Lindbergh Field (the airport) or the Ramada Hotel in San Diego. Plan on an approximately 6:00 p.m. arrival.
When going through the U.S. border – please be advised that U.S. Homeland Security requires all travelers on the highway coach to disembark the coach. All bags (carry on and luggage) must be walked through customs and immigration for clearance. The distance is a few hundred feet and there will be wheelbarrows and a crewmember on the coach to assist you. If you require further assistance, baggage handlers are generally available for hire at the border.
Guadalupe Island has two major climate zones: a very arid, semi-hot climate between 0 and 800 meters elevation, with mean annual temperature between 18-22°C, and a very arid, temperate climate above 800 meters elevation with temperatures over 22°C in the hottest month of the year.
Most precipitation occurs during the winter months, with strong influence of northwestern winds and cyclones.
Crew gratuities will be at the discretion of each guest and are not included. We prefer that guests reward the crew based on their performance. It is customary to tip 15-20%. Gratuities form a substantial part of the crew's income and are divided amongst all crew members.
Guadalupe voyages are typically 5 nights/6 days. We are also pleased to offer 10- and 15- night Guadalupe combo-trips. A 10-night trip combines diving with the great white sharks at Guadalupe Island with scuba diving in the giant kelp forests of the San Benito and California Channel Islands, as well as other remote islands on the Pacific side of Baja California. A 15-night expedition in November combines Guadalupe and San Benito Islands with the famous giant mantas and dolphins of Socorro Island.
DEPARTURE FROM ENSENADA, MEXICO
Guests will gather in Ensenada, Mexico to board the Nautilus Explorer between 9:30pm and 10:00pm. The ship will depart later that evening for a 20-hour voyage to Guadalupe Island, generally arriving the following evening.
ARRIVAL AT GUADALUPE ISLAND
Arrival at Guadalupe Island just before dinner, allowing for a restful night’s sleep before the action begins the next morning.
Day 1 ~ Great White Shark Diving
Surface cages are open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. ~ Submersible cages make ½ hour dives and remain open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Day 2 ~ Great White Shark Diving
Surface cages are open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. ~ Submersible cages make ½ hour dives and remain open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Day 3 ~ Great White Shark Diving
Surface cages are open from 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. ~ Submersible cages make ½ hour dives and run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Evening departure for Ensenada, Mexico.
ARRIVAL TO ENSENADA, MEXICO
Arrival time back to Ensenada, Mexico is approximately 1:30 p.m. on the last day of the trip. You will then be transferred by coach back to either Lindbergh Field (the airport) or the Ramada Hotel in San Diego arriving by approximately 6:00 p.m.
6 Day Cruise ~ Guadalupe Island Great White Sharks
Triple Stateroom: $2,695 ~ Double Staterooms: $2,995 ~ Single Staterooms: $3,743.75 ~ Superior Suites: $3,495 ~ Premium Suite: $4,095
10 Day Cruise ~ Guadalupe Island Great White Sharks
Triple Stateroom: $3,745 ~ Double Staterooms: $4,245 ~ Single Staterooms: $5,306.25 ~ Superior Suites: $4,645 ~ Premium Suite: $5,695
11 Day Cruise ~ Guadalupe Island combo San Benitos
Triple Stateroom: $3,995 ~ Double Staterooms: $4,495 ~ Single Staterooms: $5,618.75 ~ Superior Suites: $4,895 ~ Premium Suite: $5,795
All meals & non-alcoholic beverages onboard the Nautilus Explorer. If you are staying overnight, the Ramada Hotel in San Diego offers an airport shuttle service on days checking in and checking out from the hotel and a continental breakfast, transfer by coach back to either Lindbergh Field (the airport) or the Ramada Hotel in San Diego on the last day.
Trip interruption or cancellation insurance, international airfare, excess baggage fees, gift shop purchases, alcoholic beverages, port fee (USD $65 payable in cash onboard please) and crew gratuities.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000.00 per person for the Nautilus Explorer Great White Shark Adventure is due within 7 days of your reservation, final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. All payments are non-refundable, but transferable.
We recommend the purchase of cancellation insurance policy in case of unexpected changes in your plans. Accident, medical, and baggage insurance are also recommended. Ask your travel or insurance agent to help you with these details.
You will be required to complete and sign a “Waiver Of Claims, Express Assumption Of Risk, Release Of Liability, And Indemnity Agreement” form at the time of your initial reservation confirmation.