Horizon Charters History – 1979 to Present
Founded in 1971 by the husband and wife team of Lou and Sandy Grivetto, the Horizon Charters of today only slightly resembles the original version.
1971 – 1979
Our company’s humble beginning started in 1971 with the 46′ fishing vessel named ‘Alicia’. Working together onboard the boat, Lou at the helm and Sandy serving up fine food to hungry fisherman, ‘Alicia’ was primarily utilized for overnight sportfishing excursions to the fish rich grounds off of the coast of Southern California and Northern Baja, Mexico.
Amazingly enough, ‘Alicia’ is still in service for a different sportfishing company in San Diego, located on the same pier that we tie up our vessels.
1981 – 1989
The winds of change were in the air and opportunity was calling. We purchased the 65′ fishing vessel ‘Horizon’, and Horizon Charters started to take shape. Scuba diving was added to our repertoire in 1982 with 3-tank and overnight trips to the local Coronado Islands, Point Loma Kelp Beds and San Clemente Island.
In 1980, a two day weekend trip was a long live aboard affair. We were still in the era of the horse collar buoyancy compensator. Dive computers were in the near future with the ‘Orca’ and ‘Edge’ making their way onto the boat early in the decade.
Our first long live aboard dive adventure into Baja came in 1985. We ventured south to Isla San Martin and visited the offshore pinnacle of Ben’s Rock. We were exploring territory that had rarely been dived which set the stage for future ventures into Baja’s waters.
Lou and Sandy continued to take fisherman to the offshore grounds as well. ‘Horizon’ afforded more comfort and range than ‘Alicia’, therefore business improved as our seasonal venture moved more year-round.
In 1987 Greg, Lou and Sandy’s son, earned his captains license and joined his dad at the helm.
1989 – 1995
In 1989, after 10 successful years onboard the 65-foot ‘Horizon’, it was time to expand. A beautiful 80-foot vessel had recently joined the San Diego fishing fleet and was up for sale. With the new larger, more comfortable ‘Horizon’, our future was clearer than ever!
That same year we made our first exploratory excursion to Islas San Benito to investigate possible future dive destinations. What we found on that trip was a pristine marine environment that was so diverse that we made the decision on the spot to start offering live aboard adventures to this destination. Few divers had ever been to the Baja coast and offshore islands. We wanted to show the world what we’d found and within two years were offering trips to Isla San Benito, Isla Guadalupe and other points south.
Greg took over the helm of Horizon in 1991 and slowly started the transformation of ‘Horizon’ to a full time live aboard dive vessel. In Greg’s first year as captain he navigated ‘Horizon’ the full length of the Baja peninsula with 24 eco adventurers for a 12-day expedition to witness a solar eclipse at Isla Cerralvo in the Sea of Cortes. This adventure was very pivotal in forming many of the philosophies that we, to this day, adhere to.
In 1995, we brought a second vessel into our fleet, the 85 foot ‘Ocean Odyssey’. Her primary function was to take sportsfisherman to the fantastic southern California tuna fishing, with a smattering of scuba trips to round out the itinerary.
1996 – 1999
The second half of the 90’s were hopping! Horizon was removed from fishing service and converted to a full time live aboard dive vessel. ‘Ocean Odyssey’ continued as our fishing platform and scuba vessel. This arrangement worked well within our system and kept Horizon Charters diversified.
Research took precedence in 1998 as ‘Horizon’, in cooperation with the University of California Santa Barbara and Dr. Milton Love, spent 17 days onboard during the early fall to tackle a number of projects along the coast of northern Baja. The 24 researchers onboard gathered vital information concerning:
- Deep water rockfish stocks
- California Sheephead fishery
- Kelp bass and spotted bay bass stocks
- El Nino and its effects upon a temperate environment
Due to that years El Nino event, Numerous tropical species were witnessed out of range and one very rare rockfish was captured. One of only two to have been captured up to that point. The information gathered on
this venture was also shared with the Mexican fisheries department as Mexico had two representatives from its Fish and Game department onboard.
As the new millennium approached, we found that large animals were roaming the waters at a place that we had been exploring for 6 years. These animals were historically at this place, yet the numbers that were being reported were out of the ordinary.
The new millennium would once again bring the face of change to Horizon Charters.
1999 – 2005
Late summer of 2001 brought many changes to the way we all looked at life. On that fateful September day not only was all of America glued to the events taking place in New York City, but we were glued to the events that were taking place in front of our own bubbly eyes at Guadalupe Island. Great white sharks, in great numbers had moved in, and we were at the forefront of exploration. The era of great white shark cage diving had arrived. Not one to tout our accomplishments, we laid low and enjoyed the beauty of these amazing animals. We visited Guadalupe Island three times that fall in search of the mighty great white and were amazed to find these animals willing to allow us to witness their beauty on every occasion. Something unheard of in other parts of the world.
To briefly stand proud, Horizon Charters was the first commercial live aboard company to introduce eco-tour live-aboard shark diving to Isla Guadalupe. We feel lucky to have been there first and will always savor that moment when the first shark arrived to our amazement.
During the summer of 2000 and the spring of 2001, ‘Horizon’ and ‘Ocean Odyssey’ were re-powered with more environmentally friendly engines. We decreased our fuel consumption by 15% while our emissions were reduced by over 60%. Modern technology, an amazing thing!
Welcome to the future of live aboard diving! Nitrox was added to ‘Horizon’ in the spring of 2003. Our membrane system was and is still on the cutting edge of Nitrox safety. No blending here, we pull the nitrogen out of the air to give you up to a 36% oxygen mix.
During that same year, ‘Ocean Odyssey’ joined ‘Horizon’ at Guadalupe Island for the great white shark dive season.
The second half of the millenniums first decade looks to be as exciting as the first. Horizon Charters commitment to safety, service and the environment is unwavering. For 2008 we will be growing our quiver of
itineraries to include the untouched Alijos Rocks, The southern Channel Islands, which is quite often called California’s Galapagos, and Baja are prime for exploration and we will be taking you there for many years to come.
What of the future? The environments outlook is bright, and we will continue to do our part to educate all of our guests of the responsibility that we must shoulder.
Do we have anything new to offer in the upcoming years? The answer is “Yes.” It will be soon revealed and it IS exciting!
Stay tuned, we look forward to seeing you on board!