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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)

Nautilus Explorer, Jan, 2005,

by Edith Summey, IL, USA . Report 2107.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving USA (FL, IL, NC, TX, MO, CA, Alaska), Canada(BC, Nanavut), Greenland, Carribbean(Bahamas, Turks&Caicos, Curacau, Bonaire, 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

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 78 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 80 to 0 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales >2
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments Space was OK, but attitude was not helpful in terms of assistance with camera equipment.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments 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 training.
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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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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