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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)/Revillagigedo/Socorro

April, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Phil Tobin, Oregon, United States (2 reports)
Report Number 4726
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Florida,Bahamas,Belize,Caymans,Dom Rep.,Roatan,Saba,BVI,Indonesia,
PNG,Borneo,Red Sea,Thailand, and Mexico
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, choppy, surge  
Water Temp
72   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
one hour dives, follow your own profile  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
operation was outstanding about getting your photo gear in and out of the
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
1 stars   
5 stars    
Revillagigedo Islands on the Nautilus Explorer

   The adventure started out in Portland Oregon with a morning flight down
to Los Cabos at the tip of Baja California. Cabo is a Americanized Mexican
tourist town, with beautiful blue skies and soft sandy beaches on one side
and Red Lobster, Sams Club, Costco and Planet Hollywood on the other.
   We spent the night right in town at the El Tesoro Hotel, so our
embarkation would be painless.  The Nautilus Explorer is moored right in
the middle of the Los Cabos harbor about as convenient as it can get. We
boarded at 9:00am and our luggage was waiting for us in our designated
room. Patricia had most of our gear unpacked and stowed within 15 minutes
and all of our dive gear was taken out to the dive deck one flight up.  The
staterooms are small but adequate with toilet and sink in one area and
shower separate.  We had one single bed and one double.    The towels were
fresh if you asked for them and our room was made up and turned down each
day and night, with a chocolate on each pillow. 

 We were introduced to the staff up in the lounge and given a boat and
safety briefing along with a mock fire drill life vests and all.  Sten, the
main man and Sylvia the diva of the dinning room were obviously in charge. 
Sten a Swedish born country boy was as visually impressive with his strong
accent, long flowing sun bleached blond hair and tattoos, and Sylvia with
her strong Mexican pronunciation commanded attention.  We ate our first of
4 meals a day as the ship motored out of the harbor heading south.  

Getting into and out of your dive gear was a not the easiest.  There are no
benches to sit on and all your gear is stored in a trough that runs down
the middle of the dive deck.  If you are short or tall it becomes a problem
slipping into your BCD and getting your fins on without help, especially if
the boat is rocking. Most but not all of the diving was done out of
zodiacs, with no ladder to get back on.  You remove your BCD and the staff
pulls it up for you, and then you kick real hard and they pull you up over
the zodiacs sides.  I will say that the crew was more than helpful if you
needed assistance. The tanks are filled as they sit in the trough so you
never take you BCD off the tank the entire week. 

Knowing that the ship spent half its life in the Alaskan north, it was not
so unusual that I saw snow in the distance covering the rocks of Roca
Partida at first sight.  As we approached it dawned on me that it was 86
degrees outside and that the snow was in reality bird poop from the massive
amounts of Boobies and Frigates that made their nest on this impressive
rock sticking out of the middle of nowhere.  
We did four dives, two days in a row at Roca Partida. This is where we had
our first encounter with the mantas, hammerheads, dolphins, and even a
whale shark (that I missed) and that was all on the first dive. On the rock
itself, we saw mammoth moray eels some 8 feet long, a variety of fish along
with many octopuses.  The abundance of big stuff is unbelievable. We would
hear and see humpback and their calves 24/7, some coming within swimming
distance to our boat.  There was something very electrifying about lying in
bed at night and hearing the whales singing in the distance.

    Next stop was St. Bernedicto, a very strange looking island like the
top of a muffin sitting out of the sea.  The rock was formed after the
volcano pushed its lava up, leaving what looked like grooves, made from a
garden rake, down its sides.  Beneath the surface the water was as
tumultuous and active as any we have been in.  The currents were moving in
all directions at the same time.   Another 8 dives over two days gave
everyone a chance to spend time with all the pelagic.  

   Next was Socorro, an island that is often named for the entire trip. It
is as poignant as the other islands.  Covered with birds and sticking out
of the ocean like a huge ice cream sundae. The diving was similar to the
other spots, with some currents and with chances to engage with huge
schools of jacks, tunas and sharks.  Sometimes Pedro, another outstanding
dive master, would take his group out into the blue away from the rocks and
sure enough there would be as many as 200 sharks just cruising the ocean.
Over the six days of diving we did such sights as Cabo Pierce, Punta Tosca,
The Boiler, and The Canyon.

  As with all sightings, an element of luck plays into the equation. We
missed the whale shark and most of the manta encounters.  We were either
already out of the water or at the wrong spot at the wrong time.  We felt
slightly cheated, but we must say it was not for the lack of the crew
trying to accommodate us.   Both Sten and Pedro were the best two dive
masters we have ever had both in and out of the water.  The food was
borderline outstanding, nutritious as well as plentiful. The kitchen staff
answered to our every need. 

 It is my opinion that this is not a dive trip for the inexperienced diver.
 One must be both physically and mentally able to deal with strong currents
and choppy seas. 


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All Mexico (Western) Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Mexico (Western)
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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