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About Us

The Cal Dive Difference

Our goal is to make every aspect of booking a California dive or snorkel trip on the Spectre as easy as possible. The team at FareHarbor has made online booking a breeze but for those who prefer the human touch, Captain Ted and his wife Shannon are still there to pick-up the phone and help make your dive experience the best it can be. Call 866-CALDIVE.

Captains Ted and Nathan Cumming are co-owners of the Spectre. Ted began running the boat in 1986 and along with his crew has made it one of the most popular and best run dive operations in California. They offer both scuba diving and snorkeling at Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. 

A few years later he created Cal Boat Diving, the booking and gear rental division for the Spectre. Cal Boat Diving is the only company that makes it possible to book everything needed by phone or online. The rental gear is delivered to the boat and all meals, soft drinks and snacks are included. Reserve from anywhere in the world then show up and go diving.

Captain Ted is a Ventura County native. He grew up roaming the docks in Port Hueneme landing his first job on a sport fishing boat at age 14. He was a licensed captain by 21 and recently renewed his license for the eleventh time for a total of 50 years as a captain. His son Nathan grew up on the Spectre. He was swimming in the Spectre hot tub before he was 5 and became a certified diver at age 11.

Not to be outdone by his dad, Nathan received his 100-ton captain’s license at age 20. He worked alongside Ted on weekends and summers becoming skilled in every aspect of the operation. Once licensed, he worked as second captain and ran the Spectre when Ted took time off.

In 2015, Ted and Shannon moved with their 3 Australian shepherds to the northeast side of Mount Shasta where they have a ranch in the Shasta Valley. Their Aussies were joined by even more dogs including a Great Pyrenes, an Anatolian guardian dog and a rat terrier named Dexter. Horses, miniature donkeys, goats, chickens and ducks were added. And there were always cats. When Ted and Shannon aren’t talking to divers on the phone or answering emails their time is spent feeding and caring for animals.

In 2022 Nathan became a partner and co-owner of the Spectre as the family business continues to grow. Together he and his dad keep the Spectre on the cutting edge of California diving always finding ways to improve both the boat and the experience of the guest who come aboard.

While Ted was running landing craft in 1970 in the Mekong Delta, the Spectre, then the John Brown, was being built in Louisiana to service offshore oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico. All aluminum and measuring 85 feet, the Spectre is one of the largest and fastest dive boats in operation. She was converted to a dive boat in 1985, a year before Ted came on as captain.

Prior to that, the boat worked oil platforms offshore in Louisiana before its purchase in 1980 by an oil boat company in California. The new owners navigated the John Brown across the Gulf, through the Panama Canal, and along the Pacific Coast to Channel Islands Harbor.

The oil industry was flat and they couldn’t find work for their new boat. They once again went to sea taking the long coastal journey to Alaska. With no better luck the John Brown returned to California and eventually was sold at auction.

A dive boat captain fond of James Bond movies leased the boat from the new owner in 1985 then renamed her Spectre after the villainous Bond organization. Compressors were installed, dive stations built, the galley and bunks were modified, and a swim step appeared on the stern.

The Spectre moved into a slip in Channel Islands harbor and began operating trips for Southern California dive shops to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. The first year was tough and the captain who started it left the operation. That’s when the owner contacted Ted and he agreed to take over.

A year later the Spectre moved a few miles up the coast to Ventura Harbor where she has operated ever since. During the past 35 years, every aspect of the boat was remodeled, upgraded, or changed into what divers enjoy today. A hot tub and an on-deck shower room were added. New engines, generators, and compressors were installed. A sun deck was created above the cabin and bunks were upgraded.

Every inch of the Spectre was designed and built for divers. And the crew continues to innovate and make improvements. It is our hope that the next generation of divers will enjoy what Ted and his family have built as much as the last generation.

With an experienced captain and crew to greet them, customers who have been on the Spectre for many years share the deck with divers discovering the Spectre for the first time. It is our hope that you too will enjoy the incredible wonders beneath the waters of the Channel Islands from a boat built just for you. The Spectre transports you in comfort to amazing dive sites. The friendly staff at Cal Boat Diving have all the answers to any Spectre dive trip question. The trips fill quickly! Book online now to guarantee your spot!