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

March, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne Downey, PA, US
Top Contributor   (39 reports, with 5 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6482
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Caribbean, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua, Palau,
Micronesia, Bikini, Galapagos, Cocos, Philippines, etc.

Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
10   to 73    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No decompression diving. Max time one hour.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
Large Fish
4 stars  
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  
One large trash bin for rinsing, but plenty of protected space for cameras.
Separate area for charging.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
2 stars   
5 stars    
Our latest trip to Islas Revillagigedo, also known as Socorro Island was
fabulous, with a couple of disappointments.
We spent two nights at the marina-side Wyndham in Cabo San Lucas. Our room
had been recently refurbished and we had a pretty good view of the town,
not just the parking lot. And this time, all of Bills scuba and camera
gear made it, not like last year when his bag ended up in Costa Rica.

Getting on the Nautilus Explorer was a little bit of a homecoming, with
Captain Al and Karl from our Nautilus Swell trip in British Columbia last
October, and hostess Sylvia, Chef Enrique, and divemaster Juan still on the
boat since last year. One of the guests was also a repeat, who we met last
year. Besides our group of six, there was a group from California and a few
other individuals; everyone meshed great, which is always a bonus.

We left the dock about 10:00am and the crossing out to San Benedicto took
about 24 hours. A few people were seasick and a lot of us wore patches, but
the seas werent too bad. As we approached the island we were greeted by
dolphins on our bow and a breaching whale. Our first dive at the Canyon
produced two big green moray eels, a huge lobster, and some gigantic
scorpionfish. The visibility was murky and the water was 73 degrees. We
could hear whales underwater.

The actual island of Socorro was closed again this year, due to Navy
drills, so we spent a lot of time at the Boiler, another site at San
Benedicto, and Roca Partida, pretty much a big rock sticking out of the
water in the middle of nowhere. At the Boiler we saw a pod of dolphins for
a couple minutes and had multiple encounters with up to five giant manta
rays. They come to this site to be cleaned by Clarion angelfish; as the
manta ray approaches the underwater rocks, the angelfish race out to peck
debri and bacteria from the mantas skin. Weve never seen such large
numbers of cleaners before; I tried acting like a manta ray, and several
came over and pecked at me! Its absolutely magical watching and the mantas
will come right up and stare you in the eyes, and its crazy when youre
watching all this plus hearing fairly close humpback whales singing!

It was a bit lumpy at Roca Partida and theres no lee side to hide from the
waves, but the diving was worth it. We saw hammerhead sharks, Galapagos
sharks, and silky sharks swimming around. Theres usually pretty good
current, so during the day the three foot lobsters, five foot green moray
eels, and dozens of resting white tip sharks all huddle together in the
same nooks and crannies, sometimes using each other as pillows. It would be
interesting to see how all that peaceful interaction changes at night when
all those animals start feeding, but it would be a bit dicey trying a night
dive there. One especially memorable dive at Roca Partida we saw bubbles
coming up from the deep which turned into a pod of dolphin that played with
us for several minutes, and then we saw a couple of silvertip sharks.

After spending two days at Roca Partida, it was back to calmer water at the
Canyon where we saw several octopus, very large scorpionfish, more green
morays, hammerheads, and a distant manta. Our last dives were at the
Boiler; we had a great dive with four or five different mantas, mating
octopus and a six foot dusky shark below us.
The Nautilus Explorer was as comfortable as ever, with nice sized cabins
and plenty of storage. Theres seating in the separate dining and sitting
areas for everyone and Chef Enrique is still cranking out plenty of good
food to keep hungry divers going.

So what were the disappointments? Not being able to dive at Socorro and not
snorkeling with the whales, which seemed to be late this year; we saw
several on the surface, but they werent interested in letting us get close
with the skiffs and we didnt see any babies, although I think I heard a
couple underwater. But the manta action was fantastic and we saw lots of
sharks, eels, and octopus. Well definitely be going back.
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