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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)/Guadalupe

September, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, US
Top Contributor   (39 reports, with 5 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5727
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Caribbean, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Bikini, Galapagos,
Cocos, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
66   to 66    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Lots of space for cameras. Separate charging station.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
Great white sharks have really big teeth, as evidenced by my husbands 
picture of Grace, a 20-footer, pressing her nose against his fish-eye lens
The Ramada Inn near the San Diego airport was the official beginning of our
5 nights, 3 days of diving trip, where the Nautilus Explorer had a suite
reserved for luggage. We walked around for a couple hours, had an early
dinner and then waited around the Ramada for the bus that was bringing the
previous weeks guests back and would take us to Ensenada, Mexico to board
the boat. The bus and divemaster Jessie arrived around 6:30, and by 7:30pm
our international group from the US, Canada, France, Holland, Spain, and
Mexico was on its way to the Mexican border; once through immigration and
customs it took about two hours to arrive at the dock. We boarded the boat,
had a short briefing, a snack, and we hit the sack as the boat departed for
Guadalupe, about 20 hours away. The seas werent that rough, but due to the
direction we were traveling there was a side to side motion that made many
people queasy or sick. We spent the night and most of the next day
traveling, arriving at Guadalupe around 7pm. 
Guadalupe is a big mountain in the middle of nowhere. As the weather comes
through, the mountain splits the clouds. We could often see clouds rolling
over the mountains edges at either end, but where the boat sat on the lee
side it was calm and sunny.  The Nautilus Explorer parked not too far off
shore and stayed there the entire three days, where we could hear sea lions
barking on the shore.
Early the first morning of diving, a pre-breakfast was offered around 7am
while the crew started putting the 4 cages in the water.  Cold cereal,
juice, hot oatmeal, toast, muffins, and fruit were all on a large buffet
area. We had our major dive briefing and then the fun began. The Nautilus
has a surface cage, a cage accessible from the surface that goes down to 15
feet, and two cages that are lowered to 40 via winches. These cages were
lowered and raised about every 30 minutes; any longer would have been too
cold. Since there were 25 of us on board, certified divers were scheduled
for 3 rotations in the 40 cages a day; any open spots were available to
anyone ready to jump in the cage at the last minute. These cages were
active from 8am to 5pm and the other two cages were available from 6:30am
to 6pm. The divemasters plus some of the other crewmembers put in long
days, as someone was always down with each 40cage. Non-certified divers
were welcome to use the surface and 15 cages. I managed to do 5 rotations
on days 2 and 3. The water was 66 degrees, so it got nippy after a while,
especially if no sharks appeared, which luckily didnt happen often.
The sharks were wonderful! The first day we had 12 different sharks at
various times; I could see 5 different ones at the same time. They ranged
from 15 to at least 20 and when the 20 footers appear, the energy in the
water changes. They circled and circled us and it never got boring. We only
had a few rotations where no sharks showed; we were told that on some trips
they saw sharks on only two rotations. There were also 5 shark breaches the
first day, which   I missed, but I did see one of them from under water.
Standing on the top of the cage was allowed when deemed safe, but I never
did, as most of the action was level with, or a little below, the cages.
Around 9am the made-to-order hot breakfast was served, lunch was at  1:00,
and supper at 7pm. The food was very good to excellent.  If our rotation
was during a meal, it would be put aside for us. Scrumptious snacks were
always available. There was no problem accommodating my tree nut allergy. 
Each evening there was a short presentation. At the end of the trip,
pictures that the guests were willing to share were put on CDs for everyone
to take home. 
Normally when a boat advertises a hot tub, I dont bother with it, but the
Nautilus hot tub was 102 degrees and after spending an hour in cold water,
it was the most popular place on the boat! Hostesses Silvia and Ashley were
frequently checking with the hot tub people to see if they needed anything,
and one of them was always waiting with hot drinks and snacks when each
rotation surfaced. In fact, the entire crew was top-notchone of the best
Ive ever experienced.
The Nautilus is a roomy boat. It has a large dining room and a separate
salon. There are 4 upscale cabins on the hot tub deck, and the rest are
down below. Most of the cabins have side by side beds with plenty of
storage beneath them, and the showers are separate from the commodes. The
sundeck is one level up from the hot tub deck. The dive deck is spacious
and has a very hot shower. Packing for this trip was easy, since we didnt
need BCs, regulators, fins, or lights. Air is surface supplied, weights are
on a suspenders-type  arrangement, and no fins are necessary in a cage. 
At 5pm on the third day, all cages were pulled and we headed back to
Ensenada, arriving the next morning. A bus was promptly waiting to take us
to the border. We had to drag all our luggage through customs, then
re-board the bus on the U.S. side. The bus stopped at the airport for those
catching red-eye flights home, then at the Ramada Inn.
Would I do it again? Oh yeah.
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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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