October 29, 2021, at 5 pm I called my wife and told her that outside of getting married to her and my children, this has been one of the best moments of my life. This was truly a trip of a lifetime. I have always loved great white sharks since I was a kid but never thought I would see them face to face. For my 40th birthday in 2019, my wife was going to plan a trip to Farallon Islands for me to dive with great whites, however, when my friends Doug and Vince found out they stopped her in her tracks and said we are sending him to Guadalupe Island with Nautilus Liveaboards. We had a trip planned for 2020 that was pushed back to 2021 as a result of Covid. Fast forward to Monday, October 25, 2021, it was time for our trip and I could not have been more excited when we receive a phone call that our boat could not leave port due to unforeseen weather conditions aka Cyclone bomb storm lol. Nautilus customer service was incredible and offered to reschedule our trip or we can take the risk and wait for a later departure that might include less dive time but they would schedule an excursion while we are waiting and make it a great time for us. And that is what they did! We wrestled back and forth with our decision to stay or go home and we finally decided to stay and go for it, along with 15 others that soon became friends. We must have said ” we made the right decision” about one hundred times on our trip because it was amazing.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed and greeted by Captain Shep and our two hostesses Iris and Nubia who quickly became family. They had a great dinner, snacks and welcomed us aboard. The crew was so attentive to our every need, safety, and fun. Tuesday morning we were informed that the seas were too rough to travel however Nautilus planned a wine tour in Valle turned out to be a blast. We ate great food, got to know one another, as we all waited in anticipation for the green light to sail. The weather cleared up and we set sail on Wednesday to Guadalupe Island. Our host team was world-class. Their service and attention to detail were very professional yet at the same time very personal. They really cared not just about the task of serving but always checking on us to make sure we were having the best time. By the way, food was FIVE STAR and every meal, snack, and dessert were outstanding no exaggeration.
The time came and day one at the island is where I stared into the eye for the very first time of one of the most beautiful, graceful, and majestic creatures on the planet earth, the great white shark. For two full days, I never left the water. The beauty and power of these sharks were breathtaking and it felt sure real to think that next time I watch shark week and Guadalupe Island is highlighted, I can say I have been there. I know the clarity of the water, the temperature, the smell, and the joy of being up close and personal with great whites sharks. Our dive masters were the best of the best! They were always ready, smiling, and making sure we had the best yet safest experience possible. Not once did I feel nervous or unprepared. One of my divemasters Kay and I shared a common language and quickly became friends. I thought it was only going to be about the sharks, but I found it was about the journey, people, and experience that made diving the best. It was a trip of a lifetime, but it will not be the last time. I can’t wait to bring my wife and kids on a Nautilus adventure, so they too can have the trip of a lifetime.
- Matt Lacey, California onboard the Nautilus Belle Amie