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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)

Nautilus Explorer: "Incredible Humpback Encounter", Jan, 2015,

by Michael J. Millet, CA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 79 reports with 46 Helpful votes). Report 8125 has 3 Helpful votes.

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 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments January 29, 2015 will have a very special place in my dive log. This is my 8th trip to the Revillagigedos Islands aboard the Nautilus Explorer. Today, we dived Roca Partida for our first dive this morning. As I back-rolled off the skiff, I managed to pull the cover off my wide angle port and turn my camera on to turn and encounter a mother humpback whale with a calf and an escort male perhaps 30 feet below me. Within a few seconds, I was privileged to witness the serenity of a a mother humpback nursing her calf. After a couple of minutes the calf slowly made its way from its mama and ascended to the surface for a breath of fresh air. It then glided back down and nuzzled itself under mama’s head. Breathtaking!

After the whales moved on, we made our way around the south end of Roca Partida to encounter some dolphins, 2 of which were engaged in some quick-time, porpoise hanky-panky. Oh Yeah!

As we cruised around the rock, the dolphins approached again and seemed to be suggesting that we look up to again see the mother humpback with calf and escort. So here we stayed for over 10 minutes filling our SD cards with unforgettable photos and video of our privilege of experiencing a humpback whale encounter on SCUBA –mama, calf and escort. BEAUTIFUL! Here we witnessed the beauty, tenderness and serenity of nature.

Upon ascending to the surface and boarding the skiff to the Nautilus Explorer, we witnessed the reality and brutality of nature. 2 Orcas attacked the humpback calf apparently tearing off a pectoral fin that quickly became breakfast for the sharks that inhabit this incredible dive site. The Orcas then separated the calf from the mother and muscled it several hundred meters away to devour it. The mama humpback and escort then engaged in the interesting behavior of rapidly swimming around and about Roca Partida as if looking for the calf. Truly nature at its extremes.

I dived Roca Partida in late January, 2013 and may have encountered this same mother humpback and calf back then. At that time, the calf was about the same size as a dolphin and had brilliantly white pectoral fins. It was quite young. On today’s encounter, the calf was much larger and without the snow white fins.

It is indeed a bit arresting to realize that I may have witnessed this whale calf’s first few days in the ocean and also its very last day of life.

Regarding the other dive days of the trip, the diving at the Canyon at San Benedicto Island was disappointing with very low visibility. We moved over to the Boiler where the diving was better. We had one exceptional dive with about 6 manta rays.

Also while diving Roca Partida, we had 2 start dolphin encounters with a pair mating while on the go. Because the water temperatures were a degree or two warmer than usual, the sharks were deep (about 130'-150') and the visibility was reduced. Also, there was a strong current from the south on the east of the rock. The large schools of jacks were also hanging out deeper. We did have a nice dive with a couple of manta rays.

At Socorro Island, the diving at Cabo Pierce, which is usually very good, was disappointing due to the low viz. Only a couple of hammerheads were spotted. The diving at Punta Tosca was much better with improved viz and 3 very good dives with 2-3 manta rays. Several juvenile Galapagos sharks were also cruising the sandy bottom.

On this trip, the Nautilus Explorer carried more divers (25) than I have ever previously experienced. So at times the dining area, salon and dive deck could get a bit congested. I had a single forward cabin and on 2 occasions experienced plumbing problems that the crew responded to immediately. There were a few new members of the boat crew on this trip worked hard and tried to please. The food, as usual, was plentiful and tasty.

The head on the dive deck was out of order for the entire trip.

I will be heading back down to the Revillagigedos Archipelago again in January 2016 on the Belle Ami, the new sister boat. I am looking forward to it.
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, cloudy Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 76-78°F / 24-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20-60 Ft/ 6-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions no deco; no blue water diving
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales > 2
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The Revillagigedo Archipelago is a Mecca for large pelagics such as humpback whales, mantarays and several species of sharks. Definitely a wide-angle playground.

The boat facilities can be improved with a larger battery charging station
and a bit larger camera table.
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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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