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

Nautilus Explorer, Apr, 2009,

by Phil Tobin, Oregon, United States ( 2 reports). Report 4726.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Revillagigedo Islands on the Nautilus Explorer

The adventure started out in Portland Oregon with a morning flight down to Los Cabos at the tip of Baja California. Cabo is a Americanized Mexican tourist town, with beautiful blue skies and soft sandy beaches on one side and Red Lobster, Samís Club, Costco and Planet Hollywood on the other.

We spent the night right in town at the El Tesoro Hotel, so our embarkation would be painless. The Nautilus Explorer is moored right in the middle of the Los Cabos harbor about as convenient as it can get. We boarded at 9:00am and our luggage was waiting for us in our designated room. Patricia had most of our gear unpacked and stowed within 15 minutes and all of our dive gear was taken out to the dive deck one flight up. The staterooms are small but adequate with toilet and sink in one area and shower separate. We had one single bed and one double. The towels were fresh if you asked for them and our room was made up and turned down each day and night, with a chocolate on each pillow.

We were introduced to the staff up in the lounge and given a boat and safety briefing along with a mock fire drill life vests and all. Sten, the main man and Sylvia the diva of the dinning room were obviously in charge. Sten a Swedish born country boy was as visually impressive with his strong accent, long flowing sun bleached blond hair and tattoos, and Sylvia with her strong Mexican pronunciation commanded attention. We ate our first of 4 meals a day as the ship motored out of the harbor heading south.

Getting into and out of your dive gear was a not the easiest. There are no benches to sit on and all your gear is stored in a trough that runs down the middle of the dive deck. If you are short or tall it becomes a problem slipping into your BCD and getting your fins on without help, especially if the boat is rocking. Most but not all of the diving was done out of zodiacs, with no ladder to get back on. You remove your BCD and the staff pulls it up for you, and then you kick real hard and they pull you up over the zodiacs sides. I will say that the crew was more than helpful if you needed assistance. The tanks are filled as they sit in the trough so you never take you BCD off the tank the entire week.

Knowing that the ship spent half its life in the Alaskan north, it was not so unusual that I saw snow in the distance covering the rocks of Roca Partida at first sight. As we approached it dawned on me that it was 86 degrees outside and that the snow was in reality bird poop from the massive amounts of Boobies and Frigates that made their nest on this impressive rock sticking out of the middle of nowhere.
We did four dives, two days in a row at Roca Partida. This is where we had our first encounter with the mantas, hammerheads, dolphins, and even a whale shark (that I missed) and that was all on the first dive. On the rock itself, we saw mammoth moray eels some 8 feet long, a variety of fish along with many octopuses. The abundance of big stuff is unbelievable. We would hear and see humpback and their calves 24/7, some coming within swimming distance to our boat. There was something very electrifying about lying in bed at night and hearing the whales singing in the distance.

Next stop was St. Bernedicto, a very strange looking island like the top of a muffin sitting out of the sea. The rock was formed after the volcano pushed its lava up, leaving what looked like grooves, made from a garden rake, down its sides. Beneath the surface the water was as tumultuous and active as any we have been in. The currents were moving in all directions at the same time. Another 8 dives over two days gave everyone a chance to spend time with all the pelagic.

Next was Socorro, an island that is often named for the entire trip. It is as poignant as the other islands. Covered with birds and sticking out of the ocean like a huge ice cream sundae. The diving was similar to the other spots, with some currents and with chances to engage with huge schools of jacks, tunas and sharks. Sometimes Pedro, another outstanding dive master, would take his group out into the blue away from the rocks and sure enough there would be as many as 200 sharks just cruising the ocean. Over the six days of diving we did such sights as Cabo Pierce, Punta Tosca, The Boiler, and The Canyon.

As with all sightings, an element of luck plays into the equation. We missed the whale shark and most of the manta encounters. We were either already out of the water or at the wrong spot at the wrong time. We felt slightly cheated, but we must say it was not for the lack of the crew trying to accommodate us. Both Sten and Pedro were the best two dive masters we have ever had both in and out of the water. The food was borderline outstanding, nutritious as well as plentiful. The kitchen staff answered to our every need.

It is my opinion that this is not a dive trip for the inexperienced diver. One must be both physically and mentally able to deal with strong currents and choppy seas.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Florida, Bahamas, Belize, Caymans, Dom Rep., Roatan, Saba, BVI, Indonesia, PNG, Borneo, Red Sea, Thailand, and Mexico
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 72-75°F / 22-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 25-60 Ft/ 8-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions one hour dives, follow your own profile
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales > 2
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters N/A 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 operation was outstanding about getting your photo gear in and out of the zodacs.
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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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