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

Nautilus Explorer/Belle Amie: "Excellent Trip!", Jun, 2018,

by Gary & Robin Schiendelman, PA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 25 reports with 35 Helpful votes). Report 10307 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 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 $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our second trip to Socorro (on another boat) and our second trip on the Belle Amie (first time was to Guadalupe). It's a beautiful boat with a great crew. We have never been on a liveaboard with so many divers (31) and we were a little concerned but the boat never felt crowded.

Upper suites are spacious with comfy beds and a fairly large bathroom. The 2 deluxe suites in the bow of the boat are extremely large but best avoided if you are prone to seasickness due to the location. They are also right off the salon so may be noisy. Did not see the lower cabins so can't speak to those. The salon is large and well set up, nice sun deck with hot tub, dining area with plenty of room. Overall it's a well laid out and comfortable boat. Well maintained and clean. Food good and plentiful.

The divers were organized into 4 groups spaced apart by 10 minutes so there was always plenty of space on the dive deck. If everyone was trying to gear up together, it would be crowded as the gear stations are very close together.

Divers are grouped into "Sharks" "Mantas" and "Dolphins". Sharks are in the water in buddy groups with no DM. Manta's have a DM who is only there to find "stuff" and Dolphins are divers who need a DM to do more hand holding. This system actually worked very well!

Diving is done from RIB's, backroll in. Hand up weights and bc's then climb a ladder for exit. Pretty easy and the crew will always give a hand.

Our trip to Socorro was cut short due to an impending tropical storm which passed right over the islands. After 2 days at San Benedicto we had to return and spent the remaining days diving in the Sea of Cortez. Not the same level of diving but a fantastic experience including spending 2 dives with sea lions. The crew did a great job of giving us the best possible experience and no one went home unhappy. At Socorro we saw numerous sharks including hammerheads, galapagos, white tips, silver tips, dusky's & silkies. We also did a night snorkel with silkies that is not to be missed. Quite the experience. Of course, there were manta's. They are billed as the "friendliest" in the world and that sure seems true. They would stay with divers for 20 or 30 minutes circling and coming close to each diver as if giving everyone the opportunity for a photo. Dolphins as well seemed to enjoy interacting with the divers.

The crew can make or break a liveaboard experience and this crew is one of the best there is. They all got along and worked well together and it showed. Can't say enough about how great each and every person is. From the Captain to the hostesses and chef, DM's and skiff drivers, everyone was personable, competent and dedicated to giving all the guests the best possible experience.

Due to the weather and itinerary change, they offered a discount for a return trip so we are already booked to go back to Socorro in 2019.

Websites Nautilus Explorer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Isl, Red Sea, Maldives, South Africa, Mozambique, Cocos Isl, Galapagos, Socorro, Var Caribbean locations, New Jersey, Florida, No Carolina, Philippines
Closest Airport SJD Getting There We flew PHL to DFW to SJD. Arrived by early afternoon.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 72-75°F / 22-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 60-80 Ft/ 18-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 60 Minute dive time
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 4 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 Large camera tables with plenty of outlets. Large dedicated rinse tank.
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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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