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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)

Nautilus Explorer: "Guadalupe Island - Great Whites", Oct, 2015,

by Gregg Backemeyer, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 8640.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Sadly this report will not be so favorable for Nautilus as my past reports for them have been. The trip began with the motor coach trip from hell. We left the hotel in San Diego late and it got considerably worse from there. It was a nightmare with no relief. The driver could speak no English and no one on board could speak Spanish. He kept pulling over and stopping indicating something was wrong with the bus. After several stops and a top speed of 30 to 35mph we finally arrived in Ensenada and the boat. What was to have been a 2 hour trip ended up being more like 7 hours and put us on the boat very late. No meal or snacks for the late arrival, either. So, we were that much later to the dive site the next day.
The captain and crew made light of this ordeal and there was no mention or offer of some sort of dispensation for this major inconvenience. They merely said this was not their normal bus and driver, haha.
Now here is the real problem with this trip and the Explorer at Guadalupe Island. The back of their boat has been deemed by the Mexican authorities to NOT be a diving platform. I guess this stems from the historical fact that the back of the boat and the ramp up to and into the "diving area" use to be used for a dive-platform boat. It was all custom made as such. Even though they have not used that configuration for some time, instead using RHIBs as dive skiffs, they have not been reclassified by the Mexicans. I am told this prevents them from chumming off the back of the boat. And they don't. So, we had few sharks. I am also told that the Solmar and other dive boats working this site have no such restraints and therefore much more shark activity. To add insult to injury, the visibility was horrible. I know that is not the boats fault but we did not have the visibility that is touted for this trip. Not for one, single day...
The dive masters on the Explorer put some fish chum in burlap bags when they go down with the cages. It is palpable at best.
They publish a cage schedule late each afternoon for the following day. Everyone gets 3 cage dives per day in the submersible cages for approximately 40 minutes each. My first day started with the very first time slot of 8:00am. This is the absolute worse time as there is seldom any activity. After asking to be placed in a later start slot of the following days, I was not. And I saw little activity - those in the later time slots almost always got the majority of the action. So am I whining? YES! This sucked and their care about it sucked.
This was my 4th and last trip with Nautilus. I have done everything they do except for the whales but I will use another provider for that.
Now this is a small item but they did refurbish a couple cabins in the summer dry dock. I believe ours was one of them and the only mirror was next to the toilet, not with the sink. I use a blade to shave and had no mirror of my own so that was a pain. I do not need a mirror while I am using the toilet.
In less than 5 months between trips on the Explorer, they had a TON of turnover - captain, first mate, both cabin mates/stewards, deck hand and one dive master (another was on holiday). The only crew we knew was the engineer from just 5 months ago! Turnover is always a tell...
Websites Nautilus Explorer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving French Polynesia (Rangiroa, Nuku Hiva), Mexico Caribbean, Mexico Pacific (Guadalupe, Socorro Islands), Windward/Leeward Islands, South Florida, ABC Islands, Honduras, Hawaii, Panama, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas (Tiger Beach, Bimini), Saba, BVIs, AVIs, Bermuda, Dominican Republic and more
Closest Airport SAN Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 69-74°F / 21-23°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 10-60 Ft/ 3-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions This is cage diving with hookah so profile/restrictions, etc. are pretty much N/A
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The Explorer dry docked in the summer and they removed many of the tables/shelves and other resources for cameras, including charging stations. This may be hard to believe and understand but it is absolutely true. When I asked they were indifferent. They removed one entire set of cabinets/counter space with outlets on the hot tub deck, just above the dive deck at the back.
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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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