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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)

January, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Edith Summey, IL, USA
Report Number 2107
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
naire,Belize,Mexico)Pacific(Socorro,CocosIsland ,Galapagos,Tahiti,Truk
Lagoon,Palau,Yap,Sipadan,Bali,N.Sulawesi,Phuket,Burma,PNG) Australia,
Antartica, Mediterranean (Costa Brava, S. France, Corsica, Sardina, Italy),
Red Sea
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
78   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 0    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Space was OK, but attitude was not helpful in terms of assistance with
camera equipment.  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
1 stars    
DECEMBER 2004 REPORT CONTINUED; Immediately upon return to Cabo San Lucas,
we went to the hospital and met with the chamber doctors and explained what
was happening.  I got the letter releasing me for diving and returned to
the Nautilus Explorer with it for the second trip.  Mike did NOT act very
pleased.  But, fortunately the guys from SDS were quite fair-minded about
the situation and we proceeded with the training.  Things were going
swimmingly with them and we were both getting used to the Evolution when
due to more turbulent sea conditions than was desirable for the training,
we elected to do a few open-circuit dives.  
        But, "Captain Hyde" again emerged to block my diving
announcing that the clearance limited my diving to a 60-foot depth and I
must be accompanied by divemaster.  These limitations were added after our
visit to the hospital without our knowledge as a result of his apparent
objection to the original letter releasing me.  Thus, "Captain
Hyde" had reneged on his word that with the doctors' permission, I
would be able to dive as normal.  We negotiated 3 open-circuit dives for me
during which at last I experienced some exhilarating personal encounters
with the mantas.  But, it should have been like that during both trips on
nearly every dive and without restrictions.  
        The failure to do the dives I had planned meant the loss of
opportunities to take the digital photographs and video I was prepared to
take especially since using the camera equipment during rebreather training
was not possible.  Furthermore, the emotional strain and frustration over
the failure to reach a resolution, the continued irrational state of
affairs, the enormity of the financial loss, and the reversal of Captain
Mike's (AKA Captain Jekyll's) personality to Captain Hyde were
overwhelming.  What should have been multiple peak experiences with the
mantas and more cherished close eye-to-eye moments with hammerheads while
on the rebreather were clouded by tarnished memories of agonizing days
cloistered in the 88-degree heat of the unairconditioned dorm
accommodations unable to dive or do anything but wait in misery.  
         If a diver has any exceptional request or need, don't expect it to
be tolerated or respected by Captain Mike Lever.  He will view it as a
potential liability and disallow diving at the first hint of anything out
of the ordinary.  There were other divers on the first trip who were kept
out of the water because of slight surge due to their "lack of
experience." They were quite unhappy about that especially since one
of their group was an instructor.  One lady was not even allowed to dive
with one of the divemasters who offered to accompany her.  
        Captain Mike was so tense about diving in this new environment with
silky sharks, tiger sharks, Galapagos sharks, hammerheads, and other such
animals that when he went diving he took a long stick.  I was shocked!  I
have been diving with sharks all over the world including Tahiti, Palau,
PNG, Thailand, Australia, Cocos Island, Red Sea, the Caribbean, and North
Carolina.  I have NEVER seen anyone go diving with a shark banger or stick
except in very old videos of Jacques Cousteau.  Captain Mike's dependence
on a stick to go diving with the sharks illustrates just how confident he
felt about diving in the Socorro environment.  
        In another incident, he was unwilling to let his divemasters scout
the site in advance of a dive to check out the current.  Go figure.  I've
never seen that reluctance on any other dive boat.  Even with the
experienced rebreather divers who were used to longer dives, Captain Mike
was frantic when they failed to come back within an hour and was certain
they must be lost at sea.  They were just fine.  This degree of tension set
the stage for the extreme conservatism he was applying to every situation
including his decisions about my diving.  
        Even after the trip, Captain Mike was unwilling to acknowledge my
doctor's documentation certifying my fitness and clarifying all of the
concerns he had raised as being unfounded.  He refused to give me any
adjustment in spite of the fact that I had logged only four dives on the
first Socorro trip.  He did refund my deposits for the three June trips I
had previously booked.  He has not offered an explanation for his decisions
nor has he apologized for his errors of judgment.  Through this treatment
he has in effect evicted me from his dive boat in spite of my 100% safety
record, 10 years experience accruing over 1200 dives, and extensive
        Before this trip, if some one had asked me to name the top five
liveaboards, I would have included the Nautilus Explorer.  In fact, I had
recommended this boat to numerous diver friends.  Now it would be near the
bottom of the list.  Travel on the Nautilus Explorer at the risk of not
diving at all.  Captain Mike welcomes divers aboard by announcing that his
policy is to, "treat divers the way I would like to be treated." 
Would he like being treated the way he treated me?  I don't think so!
        Since January, I have been on five more liveaboard trips and will
continue to dive in a variety of venues.  I don't plan to do any heavy
lifting underwater!  I hope I don't run into any more Captain Hydes. 
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All Mexico (Western) Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Mexico (Western)
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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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