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July 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Nautilus Explorer, Socorro Islands, Mexico

big animals, little value

from the July, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

After years of maintaining my bucket list, I finally signed up for a dive trip to the Revillagigedos (Socorro) Islands on the Nautilus Explorer when my dive shop booked an eight-day sojourn there, with six diving days. But as glad as I was to go, I found many problematical aspects about the dive operation and the diving itself.

It's a 220-mile, 24-hour steam from Los Cabos, Baja California, to the first dive. Because it is a rough open journey on the Pacific Ocean, I started my Bonine a couple days before boarding to combat my potential motion sickness (it worked).

Nautilus ExplorerThe Canadian-flagged Nautilus Explorer is 116 feet long and sleeps 25 divers, with doubles and a triple cabin on the lower deck, and larger staterooms on the upper deck. My standard double was perfectly comfortable -- I liked that the toilet/sink cubby was separate from the shower (water was hot and plentiful). The comfortable memory-foam mattress was fine, and though my lower deck cabin was near the anchor and engines room, I did not find the noise a problem (years of marriage have trained me to wear earplugs comfortably, and they're a plus on a liveaboard). Unlike other liveaboards I've dived from, heads and room were cleaned less frequently, generally when the two crew could get to it rather than during the morning dive. The two hostesses sometimes didn't remove garbage from the bathroom daily, though the Nautilus sewage system does allow one to flush biodegradable toilet paper, so the garbage was less nasty than with conventional marine heads.

For the $3,200 I paid, I would expect more staff. The two young divemasters (one age 19) had to manage 25 divers, and they would always surface early to lend a hand on deck. The additional crew included the captain and his mate, a chef, two hostesses, an engineer and a deckhand. The staff was mostly Canadian and American, with Irish chef Jayne in charge of the kitchen. The mate or captain often drove the panga. I dived separately from the group, which I often prefer, but did so in these rugged waters partly because there were so few dive guides....


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