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

Nautilus Explorer: "Killer big animal action", Dec, 2021,

by Thomas Smith, MO, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 11 Helpful votes). Report 11810.

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 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We’ve all read about Socorro (Revillagigedo Islands), and this week (my third) on the Nautilus Explorer was the epitome of that reputation.

Diving in the Revillagigedos takes place on three islands, with time between them split based on weather and the presence of other liveaboards. After the smooth one day crossing we spent our first two diving days at Isla de San Benedicto, followed by one day each at Socorro and Isla Roca Partida, then back to San Benedicto for the final day.

The islands are known for their big animal encounters, and this trip did not disappoint. We had mantas on 18 out of 19 dives, as well as an abundance of sharks (white tip, silky, Galapagos, silver tip and scalloped hammerhead), dolphin, a few tuna and whale sharks. In a first for me we spotted a lone Tiger shark at both Canyon and El Boiler while at Benedicto.

Our whale shark encounters at Roca Partida included two sightings at depth on successive dives, plus a smaller (we think) individual who circled the boat a few times between dives allowing some very close snorkeling action.

Manta encounters varied from single passes to as many as eight at El Boiler. Some were fly-bys, while others were very up close and personal, including a 15 minute visit with a black manta at Roca at the end of a dive. Only one other diver and myself were still in the water, and the very friendly male went back and forth between us, looking us right in the eye, then hovering over our heads so we could tickle him with our bubbles. Incredible.

Dolphin visits varied from singles and doubles passing by to groups of over ten swimming with and between divers. We also had encounters with ‘Dr Evil’, a dolphin that would hang below us at around 120 feet upside down, showing us his belly, trying to get us to break our depth limits so he could hear our computers going off. Or so we imagined…

Despite the warm water this time of year (79/80F in November) we saw quite a few hammerheads fairly close up. I personally had a group of around 20 swing by the cleaning station at Canyon on Benedicto twice and go right by me. Another group got video of a school of over 50 at a greater distance.

The Nautilus Explorer is fairly large at 132 feet, with 9 lower deck staterooms, plus 3 upper deck suites and a gigantic premium suite as well. Our trip had 23 divers including groups of French, Venezuelan and Americans, plus a Canadian. The crew was also multi-national.

COVID protocols were thorough, and fairly tightly enforced. Guests were required to show a negative test within 7 days of boarding and were tested again in Cabo before getting on the boat. Masks were required except while eating or on the dive deck. Guests for the most part complied. Fast Antigen testing was provided on the boat after returning to Cabo for use returning to the States.

In an effort to minimize cross contamination, guests were not allowed to serve themselves anything. This put a huge stain on the two hosts who had to fill every plate and get every beverage for each guest, however the hosts handled it with grace and good humor. The food was plentiful and good, if perhaps not the best I’ve experienced on live-aboards.

The trip began with a thorough safety and fire briefing, including the usual muster drill and life jacket practice. This boat also has fire hoods for each passenger in their cabin, a nice touch that hopefully will never get used. Unattended charging in rooms was not allowed but was not a hardship as the dive deck has charging stations running the full length of both sides of the camera table with plenty of room for everyone. The camera table even has its own independent fire suppression system.

Diving was from inflatables in three groups of 7-8, each with a divemaster. Experienced divers were allowed to do their own thing, or you could follow the DM. Each diver was required to carry an SMB, a sound signaling device (dive alert or whistle) and a Nautilus Lifelife, a marine rescue GPS developed by the live-aboard company. These were also for sale both new and refurbished.

All-in-all this was a fantastic week of diving.
Websites Nautilus Explorer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Belize, Cayman, Dominica, Saba, Bonaire, Fiji, Cocos, Galapagos, Palua, PNG, Solomons, French Polynesia, Socorro etc etc
Closest Airport Los Cabos (SDJ) Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 79-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minute dive time.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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