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Dive Review of Don Jose (Baja Expeditions) in
Mexico (Western)/Sea of Cortez

Don Jose (Baja Expeditions), Jun, 2005,

by Noel Hall, KY, USA . Report 1747.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 65 to 73 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 25 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles None Whales >2
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Rating would be driven by subject available, such as whale sharks, sea lions, etc. If you are able to interact with them, of course photography is fantastic. If they don't show-up, well....things could get a little slow.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I don't feel very long winded tonight, so I will make it short and sweet. My friend defined the trip as the "poor man's Galapagos", and I would agree this might be a fair evaluation. The "Don Jose" live-aboard is booked through Baja Expeditions(www.bajaex.com). This particular trip was promoted as a "Whale Shark Expedition", in which a search plane would assist locating whale sharks, and in other periods we would be diving sites along side the east coast of Baja, near La Paz, in the Sea of Cortez. Overall the trip was within the scope of their advertising, and no one spoke of being disappointed. We did have good luck, and were able to swim with a whale shark on two different days, for extended periods of time. We also had great dives interacting with young sea lions, which are a lot of fun. We saw plenty of fish life and everything looked healthy. We ran into the largest school of dolphins anyone had ever seen, perhaps greater than 500. We did not stop to attempt to swim with them. We also saw several large whales, but were unable to approach them. We all agreed this was an excellent trip. It was clear in the beginning that there was no guarantee we would see whale sharks, or anything else. Also the weather might not be co-operative, but it was on our trip. I will say that the captain, crew and dive master made every attempt to make the trip enjoyable. The dive master, Josie, a Canadian who spoke four languages, was very professional and qualified. She was also in charge of being sure everyone's needs were looked after, and to be sure everyone was having fun. Divers need to be prepared for changing conditions, and we found water temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees, therefore 5-7mm protection is often necessary. Visability can also change quickly, from 20/25 feet to 60/70 feet. We were told the visability is much greater during the summer. Of course poor visability is due to plankton in the water....which brings in the large pelagics. There can also be currents and up-welling, therefore this might not be the best environment for beginning divers. The boat is in the marina at La Paz, a city with their own airport, or it is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the airport at San Jose del Cabo (Cabo San Lucas). Cabo has more flights, and the roundtrip shuttle is about $80. The drive is easy and scenic. The Don Jose (boat) has been around for about 30 years, but is solid and confortable. The accommodations are certainly not plush, but we found them adequate, clean and functionable. The toilets flushed and nothing smelled bad, but the cabins and other areas are "basic". The meals are very adequate, not fancy, but well prepared and filling. In summary this is one of those trips that require a good attitude and flexibility, and allow the crew to make it worth your time. Oh, and you can save some money, and just might......get lucky and have a lifetime experience, as we did !! Consider flying into Cabo and adding a couple of days to the end of your trip. We stayed at the Finisterra Hotel, a sister property to the Los Arcos Hotel in La Paz. Opt for the "Palapa Club" rooms for just a few extra dollars, and enjoy. Oh my gosh...to be young again !!







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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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