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Great White Wilderness Diving


Great White Sharks are the apex predators of the sea. Enjoy them up close and personal on the Solmar V's luxury cruises to Guadalupe. Photo © Bonnie Pelnar

The Solmar V, newly refurbished after our 2007 "Boatyard" session, sets sail this week to another wilderness destination that is one of the most unique and unusual diving islands in the world: the twin volcanic island known as Isla Guadalupe.

Located about 160 miles off the coast of western Mexico, Guadalupe has become the Great White Shark diving center of the entire planet! Roughly 21 miles long and about 6 miles wide, the island is uninhabited except for a tiny seasonal fishing community and a Mexican weather station.

"Uninhabited" refers to humans, not pinnipeds! The rocky shores of Guadalupe play host to thousands of California Sea Lions, Guadalupe Fur Seals, and Northern Elephant seals. For a Great White Shark, this is restaurant row, particularly in summer and fall. The Solmar V carries several large shark cages that allow us to safely interact with nature's quintessential predators, and capture video and still photos of these magnificent big animals.

Our partners in this venture are the most seasoned shark handlers in the diving world, Great White Adventures. For these trips, the Solmar V carries shark cages and "hookah" gear, and while you'll see all of our familiar crew onboard, there's always a professional shark handler (or two) from GWA to run the cage dives.

Here's how it works... You fly into San Diego, and depart by coach to Ensenada, Mexico, where you board the Solmar V. After about an 18 hour crossing, you'll be "on station" in Guadalupe, with both of the 4 person cages in the water (plus a third submersible cage), and the shark handlers will start chumming to attract the Great Whites.

Diving is done in one-hour shifts in the cages, 8 divers at a time, with people rotating in and out of the 2 large cages, so there are plenty of opportunities for exciting encounters for all passengers. The "hookah" systems (surface supplied air) are easy to use and you don't have to worry about Scuba tanks banging around while you're in the cages.

Plus there's a third submersible cage, a smaller cage that holds only two people (and one of them is always a guide or shark handler), but is set a little deeper in the water so you can get some different photo angles for Great White shots. FYI, Makos and other varieties of sharks also show up. The Solmar V is one of the only boats to offer this different, and wildly exciting, "submersible cage" dive.

The Solmar V usually carries 22 passengers in our 11 cabins... For shark trips, we limit the number of divers to 16 in order to maximize the amount of cage time you'll get. But please do expect every bit of the luxury style and service that is the signature of all of our cruises.

This article is from the Solmar V eNEWS Article Archive


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