Today we’d like to introduce you to Spencer Salmon.
Spencer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We have been a fixture on the San Diego waterfront since 1971. The Horizon Charter operation started with the Grivetto Family back in the early 70’s with a small fishing boat back when bluefin tuna ran out of the harbor at 800lbs. Those days are long gone, but during the ensuing years they embraced eco-tourism, spearfishing charters, whale watching and scuba diving.
The MV Horizon was the first to “discover” Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe in 2001 and we have been known as America’s Shark Boat ever since. We’ll be celebrating our 18th shark season next year taking divers from all over the planet to encounter these amazing animals up close.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The dive charter world is one that is always in flux. Anyone who tells you owning a dive boat is a luxurious occupation has never had a main compressor go down 300 nautical miles down the coast in Mexico with 16 paying divers – lol!
We have the BEST local divers in the world. San Diego and West coast divers are great, they understand the “wildness” of our coast and of the Mexican coast, the incredible bio diversity just under the surface and the challenges, so they roll with it. Our Great White Shark operation is world class, and we’re attracting divers from all over the planet now.
Diving operations are always a challenge, but the real payoff for us are the changes in mindsets. The appreciation for our oceans and the conservation efforts our divers put back into our coasts because they are the ones experiencing nature up close. We’re thrilled to be a part of that.
Please tell us about Horizon Charters – America’s Shark Boat.
As America’s Shark Boat we have a challenge ahead. Most operations will not do sharks, the staffing, the education, and the day to day operations have to be top notch. That’s our niche. Since 2001 we realized that regular diving along the California coast was slowing phasing out. There’s still a robust community but it’s not what it once was.
So we tool a HUGE gamble and built industry trending shark cages, put together the best shark crew on the planet and set forth to create a shark industry where none existed…with 18 foot Great White Sharks by the way!
Along the way we plowed $1000’s into a marine research program with Great Whites with U.C Davis and CONANP, we pioneered safe ways to interact with these amazing animals, and we educated thousands of divers over the years. These animals are not the ferocious man eaters of lore, and Isla Guadalupe is their home. We’re just honored guests.
In terms of pride? I love our boat the MV Horizon. We have spent the past 5 years upgrading her and she’s in perfect shape as a long range all-inclusive dive charter boat. We’re also proud of our partnership with Mexico at Isla Guadalupe, as the original shark boat to this amazing destination we have seen it all, and been there to help when it counted. We’re happy to say the island is a better place for the animals today than it was when we first arrived in 2001!
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Scuba diving when I was ten. Diving has been in my blood since as long I can remember and Southern California memories of kelp beds, abalone, lobsters and the wonders of the sea are my most precious memories.
- 5 day all inclusive white shark cage diving $3100 USD
- Save $400 off any white shark dive charter in 2018
- Address: 2803 Emerson St
San Diego, California
- Website: www.horizoncharters.com
- Phone: (619) 881-7561
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CARY HUMPHRIES, Susan Zappone