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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)/Revillagigedos Archipelago

Nautilus Explorer: "Great Diving But Too Many Dive Boats", Jan, 2017,

by Michael J. Millet, CA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 85 reports with 51 Helpful votes). Report 9490 has 3 Helpful votes.

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 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my 10th trip to the Revillagigedos Archipelago (RA); my 9th trip on the Nautilus Explorer (NE) (the other trip was last year on the Nautilus Belle Amie).

We left San Jose del Cabo in the evening from the Hotel Ganzo. This is a new port of departure with much less activity than the past docking location in Cabo San Lucas.

We arrived at San Benedicto Island after 2 nights at sea. There were already 2 other dive boats there. On the first dive day, we did 2 dives at the Canyon. The 2nd dive offered low viz but a nice silky shark encounter under the boat. The 3rd dive was at the Boiler; we had to schedule dives with the other 2 boats so the 4th dive was late in the day at a site called Cuevitas, which is on the east side of the island in the shadows. We had 15'-20' viz and very little marine life.

The 2nd dive day was spent at Socorro Island with a very good dive at Punta Tosca. Then we had a great encounter snorkeling with false killer whales. After the Mexican navy inspection, we dived Cabo Pierce twice. The first dive was on the lava tube but the manta rays were a no-show. The second dive was inside the bay because of darkness setting in.

Thee 3rd dive day was at Roca Partida with 3 other dive boats already there so we were 4th in line re: scheduling dives. As a result we were only able to make 3 dives instead of the usual four. The 4th dive day was also at Roca Partida with only one other dive boat so we were able to get 4 dives in.

The 5th and last dive day included 4 dives back at the Boiler on SBI.

The critter encounters on this trip included several dives with manta rays, some dolphin interactions, large schools of jacks and encounters with silky, Galapagos, whitetip and juvenile silvertip sharks. We heard but did not encounter any humpback whales. They were even absent at the surface, which is quite unusual. On the trip back to port, we saw several whales headed south.

The NE is a well run dive boat. The upstairs cabins are spacious while the cabins downstairs can be a bit tight for 2 people (pretty much a typical live aboard). The dive deck is well managed although at times the tank filling operation was a bit stressed. The NE has 2 camera tables that are quite adequate.

Divers were divided into 3 groups of 6-8 per skiff. The dive groups rotated dive order and dive masters. The DM's are great all with good knowledge of the dive sites and the marine life.

The food was plentiful and very tasty with made-to-order breakfast, buffet lunch and both buffet and plated dinners. The bar is well stocked with beer, wine and Scotch.

This was another quite memorable trip to the RA. However, the number of dive boats and divers is having an obvious concerning impact. On this trip, we both missed dives and had other dives relocated to less desirable dive sites as a direct result of over-crowding at the prime dive sites. I was told by a crew member that there are 8-10 dive boats now doing trips to RA. When I first dived RA over 12 years ago, there were 2 dive boats -- the Solmar and the NE.

The concern is that RA may end up like Cocos Island, Costa Rica where the park rangers highly regulate the dive boats and the dive sites.

The dive boats going to RA should consider more effective self-regulation including fewer boats at the same time at the archipelago and more days in port between trips.

Nevertheless, the magic of this place keeps drawing me back. I will be returning to RA in February, 2018.
Websites Nautilus Explorer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All over the Caribbean; Galapagos, Socorro, Fiji, Solomons, GBR, Vanuatu,
PNG, Philippines, Indonesia, Palau, Yap, Kosrae
Closest Airport SJD Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 74-76°F / 23-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 15-100 Ft/ 5-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No Deco; 1 hour dives; Don't go "Blue"
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
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 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The camera facilities on the NE have been significantly improve with a larger camera table on the dive deck and expanded battery charging stations. The is also a nice camera table on the upper deck.
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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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