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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)/Guadalupe Island

Nautilus Explorer: "Nautilus Explorer Guadalupe Island Great Whites", Sep, 2017,

by Jason P, GA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 11 Helpful votes). Report 9811.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I had been wanting to do the cage diving with Great Whites for a long time, but either felt it was too expensive, too short or too much time in a cage and would get bored. I couldnít have been more wrong. Every dive was a treat. No words can describe what it was like to be in the presence of these large beautiful creatures.
I flew in a day early to San Diego for extra measure to ensure my luggage made, but with a direct flight from Atlanta, I really could have flown in the same day and made the bus easily.
We met at the Best Western Island Palms Resort. I could not get a room there the night before, as it was sold out for Labor Day, but plenty of room in the city and Uber was cheap to the Best Western from my hotel. The boat reserves a meeting room right in the entrance of the Best Western for your luggage, check into the boat and waiting area for the bus to Mexico to leave. They also have wifi in that room, no charge. Each diver checked and provided c-cards and proof of supplemental insurance. Insurance is mandatory.
At 7:pm we boarded the Nautilusís full size bus, not a charter, but their own bus, headed to Ensenada Mexico. We all had to leave the bus at the Tijuana Mexico border crossing and hand carry our luggage through Mexico customs. It required us to fil out a form and present our passports. The boat was mostly full of Germans, a Swiss couple, 7 English, a Dutch woman and 5 Americanís. Customs went smooth. It took longer to clear the bus than for us.
By 9:30pm we were on board the Nautilus Explorer with a welcome glass of champagne and sushi apps. No meal, so make sure to eat before leaving the US. We quickly headed to bed as the boat began the 18 hour or so, motor to Guadalupe Island.
Arrived at the island in the evening and received our dive briefing from the experienced and hardworking crew. They seemed to never stop moving. Always cleaning, helping guest or performing chores.
The Nautilus uses two submersible cages holding three certified divers and one dive master, that go down about 30 ft and two surface cages holding up to four divers, certified or not. We had two couples on board without scuba certification. They were given priority access to the surface cages since they would not be allowed to use the submersible cages. Each day there was a schedule of divers in the submersible cages. It was alternated each day and buddies were scheduled together. Any open spots could be grabbed on a first come basis. The submersible cages have surface fed air from a compressor. They have a backup to that with two full tanks on top of the cage, then a third air backup option with independent tanks strapped to the corners of the cage with pressure gages and regulators for open circuit scuba. The cages have a safety cable and are lowered on a rope with a winch.
The first day I wanted to get into the surface cages to test weights and decide on a wetsuit. The water was colder than on a normal dive since we didnít move much, so I went with a thermal 3mm. I am hot natured. Most were in 5-7mm or dry suits. Most used hoods, but it was ok without them for me. On the surface cages, we had crew and some guests going in just bathing suits. I am not that hot natured.
My first submersible cage dive was a learning experience. They weighted us down with harnesses filled with about 40 lbs of lead. The cage is secured to the side of the swim platform and climbing down the ladder was easy. They hand you your snuba regulator, dipped in Listerine and guide you to the proper corner. The drop was a quick jolt followed by a slow decent. Plenty of time to clear ears, but if there were problems they used a buoy system to get us back the surface quickly.
I came on this trip expecting to see maybe one or two sharks a day and be over it after a couple of dives. I canít tell you how wrong I was. My friends who had been on the trip before, and other reviews, told me otherwise, but I didnít fully believe it until I was down with the sharks. Each dive had multiple sharks, close investigations and was better than the last. I couldnít get enough of it. The size, the grace, the eye to eye contact was fantastic. The cages were full for most of the dives and each ended with cheers and chatter from the guests.
After the last dive, each day the crew spent about an hour pulling the securing the cages from the water. On the last day, we were out of the cages about an hour earlier than the previous days to get everything stowed for the motor back to Ensenada. Once in Ensenada we disembarked after the Mexican authorities checked the boat to ensure all of us came back and nobody new was onboard. The Nautilus bus took us to the airport or to the best western for those that were staying.
The food was great on the trip. Some authentic Mexican and American mix. Breakfast in the morning was continental until a 9:am hot breakfast ordered from a menu. Lunch was buffet style with cookies for desert. Dinner was served to your seat with drinks. The galley was the largest I have seen on a live aboard. Lots of room for everyone.
The rooms were updated but mine was a single room towards the bow. The bed was comfortable but if I was one inch taller I wouldnít have fit. The door on the bathroom was a folding partition door. It made the doorway very small to get into. Otherwise the in-room sink was nice with plenty of hot water. The only outlet was under the bed. I had to get the crew to find it for me. Plenty of storage and a small chair under my port hole window.
I would recommend this trip, if you are on the fence about the cost or the time, just do it. It was worth it.
Trip video:
[youtu.be link]
Websites Nautilus Explorer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Galapagos, Caribbean, Florida, Truk, Palau.
Closest Airport TIJ or SAN Getting There Flight to Sand Diego and boat provides bus to Ensenada

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 65-70°F / 18-21°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Cage diving only. No free swimming or scuba outside cages.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
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 Must keep camera in the cage. Plenty of charging stations and large camera table. Rinse bucket for cameras was away from other rinse buckets. Nice setup.
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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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