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

Nautilus Explorer, Mar, 2012,

by Jeanne Downey, PA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 52 reports with 16 Helpful votes). Report 6482.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our latest trip to Islas Revillagigedo, also known as Socorro Island was fabulous, with a couple of disappointments.
We spent two nights at the marina-side Wyndham in Cabo San Lucas. Our room had been recently refurbished and we had a pretty good view of the town, not just the parking lot. And this time, all of Billís scuba and camera gear made it, not like last year when his bag ended up in Costa Rica.

Getting on the Nautilus Explorer was a little bit of a homecoming, with Captain Al and Karl from our Nautilus Swell trip in British Columbia last October, and hostess Sylvia, Chef Enrique, and divemaster Juan still on the boat since last year. One of the guests was also a repeat, who we met last year. Besides our group of six, there was a group from California and a few other individuals; everyone meshed great, which is always a bonus.

We left the dock about 10:00am and the crossing out to San Benedicto took about 24 hours. A few people were seasick and a lot of us wore patches, but the seas werenít too bad. As we approached the island we were greeted by dolphins on our bow and a breaching whale. Our first dive at the Canyon produced two big green moray eels, a huge lobster, and some gigantic scorpionfish. The visibility was murky and the water was 73 degrees. We could hear whales underwater.

The actual island of Socorro was closed again this year, due to Navy drills, so we spent a lot of time at the Boiler, another site at San Benedicto, and Roca Partida, pretty much a big rock sticking out of the water in the middle of nowhere. At the Boiler we saw a pod of dolphins for a couple minutes and had multiple encounters with up to five giant manta rays. They come to this site to be cleaned by Clarion angelfish; as the manta ray approaches the underwater rocks, the angelfish race out to peck debri and bacteria from the mantaís skin. Weíve never seen such large numbers of cleaners before; I tried acting like a manta ray, and several came over and pecked at me! Itís absolutely magical watching and the mantas will come right up and stare you in the eyes, and itís crazy when youíre watching all this plus hearing fairly close humpback whales singing!

It was a bit lumpy at Roca Partida and thereís no lee side to hide from the waves, but the diving was worth it. We saw hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, and silky sharks swimming around. Thereís usually pretty good current, so during the day the three foot lobsters, five foot green moray eels, and dozens of resting white tip sharks all huddle together in the same nooks and crannies, sometimes using each other as pillows. It would be interesting to see how all that peaceful interaction changes at night when all those animals start feeding, but it would be a bit dicey trying a night dive there. One especially memorable dive at Roca Partida we saw bubbles coming up from the deep which turned into a pod of dolphin that played with us for several minutes, and then we saw a couple of silvertip sharks.

After spending two days at Roca Partida, it was back to calmer water at the Canyon where we saw several octopus, very large scorpionfish, more green morays, hammerheads, and a distant manta. Our last dives were at the Boiler; we had a great dive with four or five different mantas, mating octopus and a six foot dusky shark below us.
The Nautilus Explorer was as comfortable as ever, with nice sized cabins and plenty of storage. Thereís seating in the separate dining and sitting areas for everyone and Chef Enrique is still cranking out plenty of good food to keep hungry divers going.

So what were the disappointments? Not being able to dive at Socorro and not snorkeling with the whales, which seemed to be late this year; we saw several on the surface, but they werenít interested in letting us get close with the skiffs and we didnít see any babies, although I think I heard a couple underwater. But the manta action was fantastic and we saw lots of sharks, eels, and octopus. Weíll definitely be going back.
Websites Nautilus Explorer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Caribbean, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua, Palau, Micronesia, Bikini, Galapagos, Cocos, Philippines, etc.

Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 10-73°F / -12-23°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No decompression diving. Max time one hour.
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 N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments One large trash bin for rinsing, but plenty of protected space for cameras. Separate area for charging.
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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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