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Dive Review of Nautilus Belle Amie in
Mexico (Western)/Socorro

Nautilus Belle Amie: "Socorro - the good and not so good", Jun, 2017,

by James K Harris, TX, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 21 Helpful votes). Report 9646 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Combo trip of 5 days in Socorro and 3 days in the Sea of Cortez, 24 total dives, ~27 available if you do all the sea lions as dives instead of snorkel and the night snorkel with silkies as a dive. Vis at San Benedicto was maybe 50', water temp 73-75 late May/early June, very little to see in 7 dives (shocking since 2 years ago it was fantastic diving).

At Socorro (3 dives) it got a little better, a few mantas, a few dolphins, water temp 75-76 but vis about 50'.

Roca Partida (8 dives) was awesome. Water temps 74-77. Thousands of large fish, schools of tuna (never seen so many small to large tuna), small schools of hammerheads, lots of Galapagos, Silky, and Silver Tip sharks, 3-5 mantas that would stick around on most dives. Some dives had some pretty good current - don't fight it, just go with the flow. We had a juvenile whale shark spend a little over an hour at the surface swimming around the boat so we dropped in coming back from our dive to snorkel with it. We also had pairs of mantas doing loops at the surface to feed near the boat also allowing for snorkeling opportunities. Roca is probably in line behind Wolf and Darwin islands in terms of the best diving I've done. We'd planned a 3rd day at Roca but had to leave after two to avoid weather so went back to San Benedicto.

The night snorkel with the Silkies was fun. Much safer and better organized than two years ago. You can do it as a night dive but you'll be all of 4-8' below the surface under the snorkelers. Lots of Silkies making very close passes - very cool.

We did one true night dive but it was so see if we could attract mobula rays to feed under the boat. A crate full of flashlights was lowered to about 50' and we (about 8 of us) went down and just hung there for 25 minutes or so waiting. Naturally nothing showed up.

Sea of Cortez dives were so-so. Water temps 71-73. The vis on the wreck of the Salvatierra was so bad (15') that the first group couldn't find the wreck. Lots of fish but you mostly couldn't see them. Sea lions at La Reina mostly weren't interested in playing, sea lions at Los Islotes were more playful and can really be done as dives or snorkeling. Vis was maybe 25'. The last day the dives are very shallow (20') which facilitates flying after diving the next day.

Boat crew was awesome - divemasters want to have fun and it was infectious. The boat is the biggest liveaboard I've been on, no real complaints other than the A/C not being great if the outside air temps were warm-to-hot. I complained on the post-trip survey, got a response that my complaints and others will result in them replacing all the a/c units during this summer's refit with a different type of a/c unit (water cooled compressors). They also gave me a $100 bar tab, free nitrox, and 10% off my next trip for my inconvenience - I'll definitely be back for trip #3 (for Roca).

Only thing I forgot was the boat doesn't have hair dryers so bring your own if you need them.

Most people were diving 5mm suits but I was still getting chilled. I was trying out a new Thermolution heated dive vest but I couldn't tell much difference with it. I took advantage of the hot tub after several dives to warm up. While gloves aren't allowed by the Mexican government, the crew said they'd be ok if you needed them to combat cold hands. A 1-2mm glove would have been nice to have.

They provide huge safety sausages (worked great), Dive Alerts (mine had some kind of defect that at depth it was restricting the air into my BC making buoyancy control difficult until I figured out the cause and removed it from the low pressure inflator. Bring your own. We also had Nautilus Lifelines.

I flew in a day early, stayed at La Marina Inn, small, cozy, very comfortable, very reasonably priced place right across the street from the marina where the boat ties up. It seems to be American owned/operated and the staff was very friendly.
Websites Nautilus Belle Amie   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Galapagos, Socorro, Palau, Cocos, TX Flower Gardens, Hawaii, Bahamas, Caymans, Belize, Cozumel
Closest Airport SJD - San Jose del Cabo Getting There DFW -> SJD non-stop

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 71-77°F / 22-25°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 15-75 Ft/ 5-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minutes, not required to buddy dive
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments More camera table space than I've seen on any boat, each diver essentially has their own camera station with electric outlets.
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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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