Spencer has been around the sea all his life. He passed PADI certification at 12 and has been diving ever since. After graduating from National University’s commercial diving program, Spencer began as crew. Through hard work and dedication, he worked his way up the ladder where you will now find him the owner and First Captain aboard MV Horizon. Since joining Horizon in 2003, he has traveled all of the Channel Islands and into Baja California. Recently he lead MV Horizon into the Sea of Cortez during our two-week expedition to support the BBC. His straightforward style and quick sense of humor keep the atmosphere aboard MV Horizon as light as you would expect for a vacation atmosphere. Couple this with his dedication to conservation and Captain Spencer will Immerse You in Nature bringing the environment front and center into your dive and eco adventure! More about the Captain here.
Captain Cary started his career in diving in 1980 after finishing his open water training here in San Diego. He spent five years as a dive-guide in the U.S. Virgin islands for several dive operations, later becoming a scientific diver for NOAA. In 1985, he returned to San Diego and worked as a commercial diver and scuba repair technician until taking the helm of local dive charter boats. We hired him in 1994 where his knowledge of scuba diving and spearfishing helped make us one of the best charter operations in Southern California. In 1996, he took a position as scientific diver and dive master at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography but continued assisting as relief Captain on long range trips to Baja California. He returned full-time in 2009 where his knowledge of marine life and diving speaks for itself. Captain Cary also enjoys underwater photography and education.
Growing up sailing, fishing, swimming and wakeboarding on the lakes of Michigan, Ryan has always loved spending time on the water. After being introduced to scuba by his uncle in 2002, he was hooked on the sport instantly and soon filled his spare time working at a local dive shop earning certifications and experience. After a few years of diving the local lakes, under the ice, and various wrecks in the Great Lakes he decided to pack up and move to the warm Caribbean waters of the Florida Keys in 2006. Here he first found work as a Divemaster and bartender in Key Largo, and then as a historical shipwreck salvage diver for the famed Mel Fishers’ Treasures company in Key West. Upon completing his 100t Master Captain license Ryan continued working with Mel Fishers’ as well as freelancing as a Captain/Dm for several companies including scuba, spearfishing, and sailing charters up and down the reefs of the Keys. In January of 2013 he once again packed up and headed out on a quest for new adventure, this time to the Pacific coast of San Diego and shortly after started working for Horizon Charters… Aside from scuba, freediving, spearfishing and sailing, Ryan also enjoys skydiving, snowboarding, off-roading, hiking, backpacking and writing music.
Lalo Saidy is an Underwater Cameraman/photographer, White Shark Guide and Dive Instructor. Although I am not a marine biologist, I have spent the past 14 years working with, filming and taking photos of white sharks and dealing with shark conservation issues . For 11 of those years, I was based in Gansbaai, South Africa and for the past 3 years, working with white sharks between South Africa and Guadalupe Island. As a kid growing up, I couldn’t wait for Shark Week and one of the best parts of the job for me has been being able to be a part of shark week shoots filming for Animal Planet, Discovery and Nat Geo.
Sharks are my passion and have been for years. My favorite part of what I do is getting to work in eco tourism and getting to teach people about great whites and change people’s perceptions about one of the most feared animals on the planet. Unfortunately Jaws had such a negative effect in regards to white sharks they were almost hunted to extinction. And the media today continues to portray them as these mindless killing machines. So it is nice to be able to show people these magnificent creatures and hopefully change their perceptions for the positive in regards to helping protect a vulnerable species.
We offer an opportunity for people to view and appreciate these magnificent animals and hopefully change their perception of one of the most feared and hated animals found in our oceans due to negative media hype and public perception. It is a small step in a larger conservation battle. All we can hope for is that this issue is or becomes of some importance to the local community as well as the worldwide one. If one lets people know that there are issues that need to be discussed, you will always find someone willing to help a cause. Change is slow but all you need is to change one mind at a time.
“Humans are destroying the ocean, and I have the opportunity to show and explain to people from all around the world why we need to protect what is in front of us before it is too late. Great White sharks truly are one of the ocean’s finest predators. The Apex predator that cannot be caged. Where one has to enter their territory to come face to face with probably one of the most feared and misunderstood creatures on earth. I am committed to continuing to change people’s perceptions about the Great White and learning about their behavior patterns as well as their importance in the balance of the oceans ecology. I am here to experience, admire and protect Nature’s finest example of perfection before human nature eradicates the complex balance that occurs beneath the surface of the water.
Awareness leads to understanding and education . We will always fear what we do not understand. Understanding leads to conservation. The conservation objective is to change negative views and attitudes towards sharks. Conservation leads to protection. Protection of our seas and ocean environment needs to happen now before it is too late.”
Shea Larson is a native San Diegan who is a graduate of Hilltop High School in Chula Vista. He enjoys snorkeling, fishing and traveling the high seas. He also enjoys playing baseball and is a “die-hard” Padres fan. He can found in the galley when he is not out on deck with his fishing pole. He enjoys eating good food which he claims makes this “the perfect job”!
Russ Buckingham is an avid diver of 9 years; you will frequently find him in the water. Outside of diving Russ enjoys numerous activities: camping, baseball, and hiking are just a few to be mentioned. Aboard the Horizon, you will find him working the deck completing numerous duties to ensure customers have a safe enjoyable stay. He often makes suggestion on where to dive and is enthused to assist individuals with the numerous questions which arrive over the course of a trip. We are Pleased to have him as part of our crew on the Horizon.
Will is our lead divemaster started his career in diving back in 2007. While serving multiple tours overseas as a Marine he received his Divemaster and EFR Instructor certifications as well as obtaining numerous diving specialties.
His first diving experience was at the Great Barrier Reef and from then on he knew he would want to lead divers on amazing underwater encounters as well.
Training divers and giving tours of the Ryukyu Islands and tropical Hawaii were some of his most enjoyable diving highlights of being a PADI Professional overseas.
After his Marine Corps tour was over his diving scene would change just a bit. Once he moved to San Diego a new opportunity for diving presented itself. He joined the Horizon team in 2015 as one of the Divemasters leading divers to the giant kelp forests and curious sea lions of the Southern Channel Islands as well as showing divers the Great Whites of Isla Guadalupe. He has always had a love for sharks and is now able to help support the cause for shark awareness.
In 2017 Will became Lead Divemaster for Horizon’s diving excursions and enjoys showing divers what makes California diving great.
When he’s not leading divers, he enjoys his time off with drone and underwater photography, staying fit whether on or off the boat and enjoying the San Diego beach lifestyle.
Mark was born and raised a short distance from the ocean in San Diego, his early captivation with the sea started with childhood boating activities. These boating activities inevitably expanded into: surfing, skin diving, and scuba. In addition to participating in the sport marks also worked in the industry including, San Diego Divers Supply and Universal Marine a premiere underwater inspection company. At age 12, Mark’s interest in cooking started with monthly porterhouse BBQs financed by his paper route money. This quickly grew to huge cioppinos’ brimming with seafood harvested at local dive spots; they were served at several San Diego divers parties. When asked for any comments, Mark added,”I will be celebrating my 22nd year aboard MV Horizon in 2015. Being able to experience the allure of the ocean and at the same time creating meals that keep our guest smiling and asking for recipes keeps me coming back year after year. I hope to see you aboard and look forward to sharing good food and the MV Horizon adventure you”.