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Shark-dive operator brings libel suits against clients

Great white shark at Guadalupe (Sharkcrew)
Great white shark at Guadalupe (Sharkcrew)

A well-known diving liveaboard operator has taken the unusual step of bringing legal action against a number of its clients and others, on grounds of defamation.  

Nautilus Liveaboards and its CEO Mike Lever have already served, or are in the process of serving, legal papers to more than 20 named people, including former and potential guests, shark-diving industry figures and others, who are alleged to have posted libellous comments on social media about their operations in Mexico. 

The action reflects a falling-out that has occurred following the permanent closure of Mexico’s Guadalupe Island biosphere reserve to great white shark cage-diving, along with recreational fishing and private boat operators, as reported on Divernet in January.

Nautilus Liveaboards, the name under which Icarus Aviation of Vancouver in Canada carries out its business, was for many years the biggest of these operators, running its own boats in Guadalupe. The legal action is being taken in Canada, where it is a criminal offence for one person to make defamatory public remarks about another.

The lawsuits detail specific comments made on social media that are considered to have defamed Lever and his company. These complaints fall broadly into two categories: claims for refunds on unfulfilled bookings and accusations of responsibility for the marine-park closure.

In a number of the cited posts, the writers claim to be entitled to refunds on bookings for cage-diving trips that could not be honoured because of Guadalupe’s closure by the Mexican government. They say that they have been refused cash refunds, and that credits offered for alternative trips in lieu of cash are unacceptable.

Guadalupe cage-diving was a “single-species” experience, and a number of white shark enthusiasts who booked for surface cage-diving from liveaboards were not scuba divers. Some argue that alternative holidays to other destinations such as Socorro, to interact with other species, cannot be regarded as of equivalent value to them.

Other comments refer to incidents involving Nautilus cage-dives in the past seven years that the posters suggest clinched the case for Guadalupe being closed to tourists – a charge that the operator denies.

The background

Nautilus began its operations in 1992 in British Columbia and expanded in the early 2000s to take on a range of diving ventures in Mexican waters. It claims that it has “managed over 650,000 successful diving experiences, and has provided approximately 43,000 divers and non-divers with the experience of getting in the water with wildlife, including great white sharks”. The company, which describes itself as “highly successful“, says that it currently runs 27 operational charter boats.

Guadalupe, which lies 160 miles off the Pacific coast, has been a marine park since 2005. Cage-diving would take place between July and November, when the great white sharks aggregate there to feed on pinnipeds, with Nautilus and other operators switching to Mexico’s other celebrated remote diving location the Revillagigedo Islands, which includes Socorro, at other times of year. 

Operators of the liveaboards that visited Guadalupe have argued that the park’s closure, far from protecting its sharks, will leave the area vulnerable to illegal fishing operations that had previously been deterred by their presence. Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), which is responsible for protecting the reserve, is widely considered to be under-resourced. 

Mike Lever (Juan Camilo)
Mike Lever (Juan Camilo)

Mike Lever had been quoted on Divernet in January following the park closure, insisting that the government’s move was illegal and would be reversed. 

Now he says that his decision to take legal action against his detractors has come about following “some very nasty and malicious postings they each made about myself and our company on social media. I believe that when people cross a certain line on social media, they need to be held accountable.” 

That line, he says, was crossed when the criticism began to affect his and his company’s reputation and ability to sell their services. 

Most, though not all, of the criticisms have been expressed on the public Facebook page of the Guadalupe Island Shark Group, members of which are now understood to have retained a law firm in Canada to represent them.

No posts have been made since mid-May but the page had been active for some years, including both positive and negative comments about cage-diving operations. Posts had become more vociferous following the park closure, and were sometimes expressed in intemperate language. 

There are understood to be just over 600 members of the group, although only a fraction of that number are believed to be active posters. Other comments are said to have been posted on review sites such as Tripadvisor and Google, where consumer scores can affect the standing of a business.

Clash of views

One of those now being sued is Patric Douglas, who describes himself as a 35-year tourism veteran and a pioneer of Guadalupe shark-diving – he and other divers having arrived there from the US West Coast in the early 2000s. He says that while they had immediately recognised the island as a special place, it was difficult to reach and had been a hard sell at first.

“I aways felt it was the one place on the planet where we could show that sustainability could work,” he told Divernet. “After 20 years it’s such a shabby end, and it might change a lot about the way things are done in the shark industry.”

Guadalupe (DOHypno / Pixabay)
Guadalupe (DOHypno / Pixabay)

He admits that incidents had occurred at Guadalupe in the first few years, such as overbaiting and sharks breaching cages, but says that this had resulted in a rapid learning curve. He claims to have fought for the inclusion of shark researchers on trips, and says that this move helped to ensure that subsequent activities were well-controlled. “After that there was no excuse – if there was a cage breach it was on you – everybody knew.” 

Until 2013 Douglas ran the trip-booking agency Shark Divers, described as one of the largest commercial shark-diving businesses in the USA, and he says he created the first US and Mexican co-operative white shark tagging programmes at Guadalupe, as well as the Guadalupe Conservation Fund. 

His media marketing company the Heli Agency, based in Bend, Oregon, later worked for Guadalupe operator Horizon Charters, which had been early on the scene and had been chartered by Shark Divers. It was one of the four companies still working there in recent years, all of which Douglas says would have been taking future bookings but, because of the marine-park closures that began with the Covid pandemic in 2020, would have been sitting on “a mountain of diver money”.

According to Douglas, when the permanent park closure was announced and it became clear that they would be unable to fulfil bookings, Horizon and two of the other operators – Islander Charters and Pacific Fleet – had decided to refund their clients in full.

Horizon alone had stated that it had been holding US $500,000 in booking money, as previously reported on Divernet, and said it had already committed another $100,000 on legal challenges to the closure. This, says Douglas, had effectively put the operator out of business.

Nautilus Liveaboards had declared that because of the force majeure clause in its contracts with guests, which included “governmental orders” among factors listed as being “beyond reasonable control”, it was obliged neither to refund deposits nor to provide credits – though it was willing to do the latter.

Nautilus insists that it could not have anticipated the new Guadalupe five-year management plan excluding liveaboards, although Douglas disagrees, maintaining that all professionals operating in the marine park had been aware of the risk that the temporary closure could be made permanent. 

Asked what he had thought on hearing that the other three Guadalupe operators were issuing refunds to disappointed guests, Lever told Divernet: “I was upset at the false information being put out there – none of the operators gave refunds.”

Sustained campaign

The lawsuit against Douglas, which is separate from the others, alleges a “sustained, deliberate and malicious campaign to damage the plaintiff’s reputation as an ethical eco-tourism business that cares deeply about, and is prepared to contribute to and fight for, conservation efforts and marine wildlife, including great white sharks”. 

Defamatory attacks it says had been “disseminated widely, causing unwarranted adverse publicity for the plaintiffs that has significantly disrupted and damaged Nautilus’s business and Mr Lever’s reputation as a businessman”.

Lever says that Shark Divers and Nautilus had been direct business competitors in Guadalupe from the start and that Douglas had later “repeatedly” used the Facebook group page, which he had originally used for marketing Horizon Charters, to publish content that was “offensive and defamatory towards the plaintiffs”. 

Douglas denies having co-ordinated an online campaign against Lever. He told Divernet: “I think he believes that I have massively co-ordinated all of this out of some vengeance towards him but I have better things to do with my life.”

He also claims that on behalf of the Facebook group he had offered to take down the entire page in the face of the legal action, but that the suggestion had been refused. 

“We are asking simply that those people who wrote highly defamatory statements about our company and myself apologise and remove their postings,” says Lever. “That’s it – with the exception of Douglas.”

The government’s case

Cage-diving operations in Guadalupe had not been without their problems in recent years. As part of a comprehensive statement explaining the decision to close the marine park permanently in January, Mexico’s Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources stated that white shark observation tourist activity using cages had been carried out from 2001 to 2021, thanks to the sheltered nature of the area, its 30-40m underwater visibility and the “site fidelity“ of the sharks.

However, it also stated that during the past decade its white shark conservation action programme had uncovered bad practices observable during tourist activity.

These practices, which were not attributed to any particular operations, were said to have included improper use of tenders; tourists and guides leaving cages or hanging limbs out of them; mishandling and manipulation of shark attractants; commercial filming outside cages without protective equipment, including freediving; use of sonar; use of drones over pinniped colonies; unauthorised cage designs; and dumping of pollutants. 

“These activities have put white sharks at risk, as well as the human integrity of tourists and visitors,” stated the ministry, giving as examples two incidents that had occurred on cage-dives. 

“In 2016 a specimen entered one of the cages; when it came out it was noticed to have serious injuries. A similar event occurred in 2019, in which a white shark specimen was recorded with serious injuries to the gills and it sank inertly without signs of life.” 

The 2019 incident had occurred on a Nautilus liveaboard, although the company maintains that the ultimate death of the shark was unproven. It says it had immediately notified the authorities, fully co-operated with the regulatory investigation and been absolved of any responsibility for the incident by the Mexican government.

However, two instances of great whites breaching cages had occurred within about a month of each other in 2016, one on submerged cage on a Nautilus vessel and the other on a surface cage operated by Pacific Fleet.

The extent of injuries and ultimate fate of the sharks in those cases had been unclear because both had eventually swum away, and the two incidents had been conflated in some media reports. All three cage-breaches were recorded on video that remains online.

The ministry went on to state: “In order to conserve and preserve the species in question, it is necessary to prohibit the tourist-recreational activity of observing white sharks, to carry out scientific studies focused on the protection and conservation of the species and to understand its behaviour, minimising any other human interaction.” 

Lever disputes that the highlighting of the 2016 and 2019 incidents in the report means that it was these that cemented the park closure, as alleged by online critics. “That information is not true,” he says, arguing that the published reasons for the earlier closures of the marine park in 2020 (when Covid began) and 2022 (for official research purposes) “had nothing to do with Nautilus. Someone is putting out some very untruthful stuff about what is happening there.”

Future of white shark diving

There are now few places in the world where white shark cage-diving is carried out – the other locations are in the cooler southern waters of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, with operations also due to begin in Nova Scotia, Canada this summer.

Patric Douglas told Divernet that during 2022, with a view to possible park closure, he had put $15,000 of his own money towards setting up the Guadalupe Island Skywatch programme, using military-spec satellite tracking of vessels entering the area to help guard against illegal shark-fishing.

“These animals have given the world so much in terms of shark research, education and understanding,” he says. “We owe them our time and diligence – it is the least we can do.” 

Patric Douglas
Patric Douglas

The litigation had now forced this initiative to cease operations, says Douglas, with funding diverted towards fighting the lawsuits. “This is not the outcome we wanted,” he says. “The sharks at Guadalupe need our help and, without us watching, they are vulnerable.”

“I don’t know very much about Guadalupe Island Skywatch but I am certainly supportive of any great white shark conservation efforts,” Lever told Divernet. “I wish them the best of luck and hope they achieve some success. We continue to raise money for the Guadalupe Conservation Fund and support scientific endeavours and study of the white sharks.”

Divernet asked Lever whether he felt that taking legal action against clients could represent a watershed moment for the diving industry. “No,” he said. “I believe that nobody – whether or not they are a customer – should be able to maliciously defame someone else on the Internet. Don’t write on the Internet what you wouldn’t say in person.

“Some people seem to think that they can sit at their computer online and spew out really nasty stuff, lie and hurt other people with falsehoods. Someone who does that should be accountable.” 

Also on Divernet: How cage-diving can be positive for sharks, My great white adventureGreat white shark captivates freediversWhen hunter becomes prey, In-depth study reveals surprising depths of shark dives

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Carolyn
Carolyn
8 months ago

I am one of the divers who is being sued by Mike Lever and Nautilus. I was shocked when I was served with a defamation lawsuit over a few Facebook comments I made (after all, there are entire pages and groups dedicated to product and service complaints on Facebook).

To be clear, I never booked a trip with Nautilus and I am not seeking a refund from them. I have traveled to Guadalupe 3 times previously with another operator, Islander Charters. I think I can speak for most of us when I say we are very devastated about the closure of the Guadalupe Biosphere to shark tourism. I was really looking forward to returning this year and many more years in the future.

There was a lot of discussion going on about the closure, and when divers started sharing their experiences with Nautilus and their frustration over the refund policy, I shared my opinion, just as I would have during an in-person conversation about the issue. I felt very bad for these divers and understood their frustration. I sympathized with them. It’s devastating enough to have a trip you were dreaming about (and saving up for) for years canceled – but then to not be refunded? I have met people from all walks of life on my Guadalupe trips – waiters, hairdressers, nurses, contractors – people save up for years for these trips and cannot afford to lose thousands of dollars.

I cannot wrap my brain around a company that feels entitled to keep money paid towards trips they can no longer provide. The experience of diving with great white sharks at Guadalupe cannot be replicated anywhere else (to my knowledge). I do not understand the justification in keeping customer’s money.

Mr. Lever is quoted in this article as stating: “We are asking simply that those people who wrote highly defamatory statements about our company and myself apologise and remove their postings”…Prior to retaining an attorney, I reached out personally to Mr. Lever’s attorney offering to do just that. My offer was not accepted. I have the emails. With my initial offer to settle this not accepted, I’ve had to retain an attorney to defend myself.

Mr. Lever is quoted in this article as stating: “I was upset at the false information being put out there – none of the operators gave refunds.” I received a prompt refund check from Islander Charters for my canceled trip this year, along with a nice personal note from the owner, and I have the receipts. It’s also not the first time I’ve had a trip canceled and I received refunds from the Islander for past cancellations as well. I cannot speak for the other operators, but I’m sure it could be easily proven whether they provided refunds to their divers or not.

I still cannot believe this is happening to me over some Facebook comments. I am a normal person with a normal job just trying to get through life. I believe in freedom of speech and feel that the legal system is being weaponized against me as punishment for saying something that someone didn’t like. My personal belief is that if a business is concerned about negative reviews and negative press, they should focus on revising their business practices to take better care of their customers.

Craig
Craig
Reply to  Carolyn
8 months ago

It’s not only the clients that are treated poorly by what’s his face.. Staff have been is treated as well. Working for free and not receiving gratuities owed to them.

Tina
Tina
Reply to  Craig
8 months ago

Sorry to hear that! That is unacceptable!

Carolyn
Carolyn
Reply to  Craig
8 months ago

I am very sorry to hear that!

Patric Douglas
Patric Douglas
Reply to  Craig
8 months ago

Please email me with details about that if you are able – this is not the first time we have heard this from ex staff thank you

Darren
Darren
Reply to  Patric Douglas
8 months ago

Mike was the absolute worst person I have ever worked for. The way he treated me (I won’t speak for the others) was unacceptable. He deserves every bad thing that comes his way. Karma’s a bitch Mike.

Patric Douglas
Patric Douglas
8 months ago

I am a little surprised that Mr Lever has chosen to misrepresent obvious facts in this ongoing legal case. What he has now said in the public domain is demonstrably false.

Dive operators gave back Guadalupe Island refunds to their divers at great cost to their operations and bottom line. They did this because it was the right thing to do, going above and beyond and ensuring their fiduciary responsibility to their clients.

A fiduciary role means that you are legally obligated to act in the best interests of your customers. In tour and travel law this role goes well beyond best interests.

Mr Lever chose to stand behind his Terms and Conditions and not refund his divers.

Suing his own divers for essentially complaining about this policy is a watershed moment in the dive industry. To my knowledge this is the first time a dive operation has chosen this route.

Mexico did point the finger at his operations for both the 2016 cage breach (documented) and 2019 alleged death of a protected great white shark (documented).

Here is the closure notice link (under Rada Norte sub section) and the translated section of the closure notice.

https://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5676590&fecha=09%2F01%2F2023#gsc.tab=0

Due to the oceanographic characteristics of this subzone, protection from wind and waves, visibility in the water between 30 to 40 meters away and the high fidelity to the site, the white shark ( Carcharodon carcharias ) observation tourist activity was carried out from the 2001 to 2021, using cages. At the same time, during the last decade, through the Action Program for the Conservation of the White Shark Species, bad practices have been observed during tourist activity, such as: mishandling of the attractant, improper use of secondary and/or motorized vehicles or self-propelled, tourists out of cage, tourists manipulating attractants, commercial filming outside of cages and without protective equipment, commercial filming with apnea, use of equipment using sonars, use of drones over pinniped colonies, use of unauthorized cages, limbs of tourists out of cages, guides and tourists out of cages, dumping of pollutants, among others. These activities have put white sharks at risk, as well as the human integrity of tourists and visitors.

“As examples of this, in 2016 a specimen entered one of the cages, when it came out it was noticed with serious injuries; A similar event occurred in 2019, in which a white shark specimen was recorded with serious injuries to the gills and it sank inertly without signs of life. In order to conserve and preserve the species in question, it is necessary to prohibit the tourist-recreational activity of observing white sharks, for the protection and conservation of the species and its habitat.”

2019 Nautilus Cage Breach
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?ref=external&v=735755513581884

Mr Lever chose to sue myself and others for discussing these facts online.

He is demanding divers silence and accountability for their comments online surrounding refunds, other dive boats offering refunds, and the two cages breaches. In most cases he is demanding:

  1. Personal apologies to himself from the divers
  2. No refunds
  3. A promise not to sue
  4. Divers pay their own legal costs

I did not seek this lawsuit and have multiple emails and phone logs to Mr Lever directly seeking to mitigate this from becoming a public facing discussion. He has chosen this route.

To be clear I do not seek to ruin Mr Levers company as he is alleging. But now he has decided to sue myself and my business I will defend these with the material facts.

Jessica Baugh
Jessica Baugh
8 months ago

As a nautilus customer who booked specifically for a great white adventure, it’s disappointing to hear that other operators have issued refunds and this company has not. I appreciate the credit option however cannot agree more with the statement that Guadalupe cage-diving was a “single-species” experience, and a number of white shark enthusiasts who booked for surface cage-diving from liveaboards were not scuba divers (our party inclided). Some argue that alternative holidays to other destinations such as Socorro, to interact with other species, cannot be regarded as of equivalent value to them and we are not scuba divers so another scuba diving experience is not realistic or desirable for us.

Mark Worley
Mark Worley
8 months ago

I was scheduled to go this past fall on Aggressor. When the closure was announced, I was contacted by them and given a full refund for the trip. To say no other dive operators issued refunds is not accurate.

Anthony
Anthony
8 months ago

Nautilus liveaboards has advertised and offered cage diving trips with Great White Sharks. They were unabale to deliver those trips and kept my money. The credit for other trips does come close to deliver the experience with Great White Sharks they promised. Avoid at all costs.

Dr Rock
Dr Rock
Reply to  Anthony
8 months ago

Its difficult to get a refund from just about any dive operator.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dr Rock
Ashley Cecil
Ashley Cecil
8 months ago

I paid just under $10,000 for my husband and I to go on the great white cage diving excision in July of 2022 for my 40th birthday. A trip of a lifetime, a bucket list, a dream of mine. Unfortunately, this trip was canceled by Nautilus and they REFUSED to refund me. How is it ok to KEEP MONEY, A LOT of money and not provide a service. Then sue us???? Absolutely insane. This is such a NIGHTMARE.

James Woodhead
James Woodhead
8 months ago

I was originally due to go to Guadalupe with Shark Diver in 2021. Due to travel restrictions in the pandemic I had to delay my trip to August 2022. Unfortunately Shark Diver went out of business before the trip, and my booking was transferred to Nautilus. I had absolutely no choice but to continue with them or lose my deposit. I paid in full for the trip in April 2022, around $3500, which included money gifted to me by my family for my 50th birthday. In July 2022 we were informed of the temporary closure of the island until 2023. In January of 2023 we heard from many sources that the island had been closed indefinitely. Nautilus continued to send emails stating that they were ready to sail but couldn’t, and no refunds would be issued. How can you be ‘ready’ for an August sailing you know that you don’t have to make ? I was offered a credit, but of the other trips available, they are either not suitable for someone without a scuba qualification, are extremely difficult to get to from the UK logistically, or just not of interest to me. After initial email correspondance offering these alternative trips, as soon as I said I was unable to use the credit for those reasons they just stopped communicating. My ‘50th birthday present’ was supposed to be a memory of a lifetime, but it’s now just sitting in a Nautilus bank account somewhere.

Last edited 8 months ago by James Woodhead
Lindsey Glock
Lindsey Glock
Reply to  James Woodhead
8 months ago

I originally booked with Shark Diver and I bet if you would have actually accepted the full credit for another trip, they would have immediately rescinded their credit offer like they did to me. Our money is sitting in their bank account together 🥺

Tom
Tom
8 months ago

The whole situation is sad. From the closure of the island which leaves the sharks at risk. The crushed dreams of people who have saved their money for the opportunity to see these beautiful sharks up close. As well as the non-issue of refunds to divers for cancelled trips which they had no control over. For Mr. Lever to say that “none of the operators gave refunds” is blatantly false. I was booked with Islander Charters and after the island was closed I promptly received a refund for all monies paid. He is suing others for deformatory comments yet he is making false statements about other operators who have refunded their divers.

Melanie
Melanie
8 months ago

I went on a Nautalis, Guadalupe Great White trip in 2021. 3nd trip after they reopened after COVID. It was a great trip and I booked the next trip right after for the next year 2022. After some unfortunate circumstances happened I had to cancel the trip Jan 2022 (their policy stated, at that time, I needed a full year time to cancel for a refund) I reached out to Nautalis and they were really understanding and said they’d give me a full refund if the sailing was fully booked. I was grateful. I kept an eye on the website and in June 2022 the sailing was completely booked and I reached out again for my refund since my spot was obviously booked by another. They then stated that I could not get a refund at all but I could use the money towards another trip!! I continued to contact them stating I had a written statement from their representative ensuring I’d get a refund, etc….they have not reached back out to me and any since communication with them has been ignored. They’ve got $4k of my money just sitting there!! Now Guadalupe is closed and I’m not remotely interested in going anywhere with their company again!! With what’s going on w/all the other customer’s refunds etc….sounds like this is a deep seeded ethical concern for them, in my humble opinion!

Doug Vanderby
Doug Vanderby
8 months ago

This lawsuit is know as a SLAPP Lawsuit. Basically Mr. Lever is trying to intimidate everyone for speaking factual statements. The fact that it has originated from BC, Canada makes things interesting for the legal system there (as well as the rest of Canada), does not look favourably at SLAPP lawsuits. This is free speech and discussion.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation

Tina Angeles
Tina Angeles
8 months ago

I am a customer of Nautilus Liveaboards and not only was I NOT refunded the company threatened me with a defamation letter for another individuals post. Not even my own words. Then Mr. Lever wants me to apologize!?! I think it should be the other way around! This has affected me deeply not just the money part of it but also physically and mentally. The audacity to threaten a customer that is not a rich person and lost $10,000 to Nautilus for REFUSING refunds. Nautilus’ policy when I first booked said you can get a refund within 12 months of booking, that did not happen and was never offered to me! Apparently, Nautilus deems it is okay to change the rules when it benefits them without proper notification to the customer! Credit trips are all they offer. And if you don’t accept a credit trip for something you did not want to do or are not experienced enough to do then this is the response from Nautilus:

Dear Tina
“Duly noted. We will make a note that you do not wish to accept the credit offer.”
The problem I have with this, is they have been cited as part of the permanent closure. I believe this makes them responsible to their customers. After being sick to my stomach over this, I was going to use the credit and honor my Veteran neighbors with a trip, but then I received my defamation threat from Mr. Lever. I no longer felt safe going on a Nautilus boat after that.

The company can bully the customer, but we are not allowed to post a negative review for services not rendered to warn others before they too lose thousands of dollars?! That does not seem fair does it? I have read over and over about Nautilus customers that have suffered significant loss to this company. That is what reviews are for! That is called “Freedom of Speech” in the United States of America!

The posts in the group mentioned in the article discusses incidents that had already been posted and shared thousands of times. The discussions made were already public knowledge and all over the internet. Why should I apologize for another person’s post? Even after notifying them of this, they never said anything to me! I am the customer! You do not treat your customers with such disrespect. I have never been so disrespected by a company in my entire life. Do you think I like spending every day so disappointed and unable to focus at times because of this? I have cried multiple times about this situation and the loss I have suffered and for the sharks. This has affected me in every aspect! Now I do not have the funds to shark dive and I must start all over! Does that seem fair? I used my inheritance from my mother to pay for my trip. This was my dream! I have wanted to do this since I was a little girl! I was going to dive with Andy Casagrande on his ABC4 Explore expedition! Who would not want to do that? Even he tried to help his customers but was unsuccessful. I have disease in my spine and one day I will not be able to do this. I don’t know how long I have so this is not funny to me at all!! My dream trip has turned in to a nightmare! I am still sickened every day with this situation! I have physically felt ill.

Lindsey Glock
Lindsey Glock
8 months ago

I was vehemently denied a refund and well as any type of service by Nautilus when everything was finished. I was also denied a trip cancellation letter three times by Nautilus so that I could get back the money on my own through trip insurance. Nautilus initially offered to fully transfer my $3200 credit for over a year and only retracted their offer when I chose a trip to Socorro in February. They have stated that they did not get the money I paid to the company Shark Diver that they acquired in 2022. I will include a picture of that email and I have posted other pictures on google reviews. I did not receive a refund, services, or a trip cancellation letter. I did receive an email from their lawyer threatening to sue me after I gave directions of how to leave a trip advisor review on Facebook. I think about this experience every day of my life but I don’t cry anymore. I’m just so glad it’s public.

8F5C1C55-3B32-4C6A-961A-063A9B431236.jpeg
Lindsey Glock
Lindsey Glock
8 months ago

I was refused a refund as well as a full credit for the money I paid to Shark Diver. Although Nautilus Liveaboards acquired Shark Diver, they claimed that they did not receive the money I paid. After also refusing to provide me a letter of cancellation three times so that I could contact my insurance , they threaten to sue me too. I lost $3200.

Jacob Weber
Jacob Weber
8 months ago

I was mislead by Nautilusliveaboards as well. All I wanted was my deposit back but was lied to about the park being open then also they changed thier policies after the fact as well as kept pressing me to take a different trip instead that had nothing to do with sharks. Waited half my life to be able to go do this it was the most disappointing experience I’ve had with any kind of vacation.

Tina Angeles
Tina Angeles
Reply to  Jacob Weber
8 months ago

Same here.

Tina Angeles
Tina Angeles
8 months ago

The company also took payments from me during 2022 knowing it was closed and misled me to believe it would open!

Scotti McFarland
Scotti McFarland
8 months ago

I also am out $5400. The wife and I went with Andy Casagrande in 2021 with another charter. And had such a great time we booked with him again for 2022, this time with the Nautilus. Which got canceled in July of ’22. At which time we were offered a refund, or switch to another charter of his for Oct 2023, which we decided to do. Then come Jan, the announcement was made of permanent closure. Since then, they have ignored my calls, and emails, other than 1, where they offered me another trip. I emailed back that I didn’t want another trip, since the point of going was to go with Andy, it was a specialty trip. Not just to see the Great whites, but because of this Man and his reputation, and knowledge and expertise, that was our entire point of booking and didn’t want what else they had to offer. And they still, have ignored my emails and phone calls until about 4 weeks ago. I got through to Mr. Levers wife, the accountant. She said to contact our trip insurance. Well, they don’t cover 3rd party cancelations, which they consider “governments” a 3rd party. And once again, no reply to my emails, no returned phone calls.

I’m curious, if anyone knows anyone or how to find an attorney who could represent us all as a collective, instead of us having to hire our own attorney and go after them as individuals. If so, any of you are free to email me. We can’t just let them walk away with our hard earned money.

Tina Angeles
Tina Angeles
Reply to  Scotti McFarland
7 months ago

Did anyone email you? I don’t see your email.

Tina Angeles
Tina Angeles
Reply to  Tina Angeles
7 months ago

Can you reach out to me on fb or via email?

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