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

Nautilus Explorer/Belle Amie: "SHAAAARRRRRKKKKK!", Oct, 2017,

by Gary & Robin Schiendelman, PA, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports with 15 Helpful votes). Report 9866 has 1 Helpful vote.

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 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The boat meets everyone at Island Palms Resort in San Diego. Close to the the airport on San Diego Bay, it's a great place to spend a day or two if you are flying in from the East Coast as we were. They had a hospitality suite starting at 12 noon on the day they picked us up and since we were staying at the hotel, we were the first ones there. An on line immigration form needed to be completed in preparation for the border crossing and there were the normal waivers to be completed. The person taking care of the paperwork was a sub-contractor for the Nautilus so could not answer too many questions but he was pleasant and was able to help everyone with the paperwork. We had to wait for one person whose flight was delayed and a group of 12 Chinese who had some issues with immigration so it was 8:30 or 9 pm before we boarded the bus to Ensenada. A fairly short drive to the border where we all had to get off the bus, get all of our bags and go through xray machines while the bus also went through some kind of vehicle xray. After re-boarding we continued a couple of hours to the port where there was another immigration check which was painfully long. Finally we boarded the boat where we were greeted with champagne cocktails and shown to our rooms. There were some snacks, a short safety brief and at 1 am finally time for bed. Fortunately, no need to get up the next morning as it was a full day of motoring. There was a more complete safety briefing the next day.
We were in one of the suites, on the upper deck. It was spacious with a queen bed and large shower. Very comfortable accomodations.

The boat is large with plenty of room for the 30 people on board and a hot tub on the sundeck. Food was good. Varied and plentiful. But we were here for the sharks! Anyone wanting specific information on the boat or with any questions, we will be happy to answer. But for purposes of this review, we want to concentrate on the crew and the experience.

The crew was fantastic. Everyone always had smile and did anything they could to accommodate. We were a group of mostly divers with some non-divers mixed in. The boat has 3 submerged cages (25 feet) and 2 surface cages. The divers are given specific times to be in the submerged cages and the schedule is posted daily. If there are empty spots, it's first come first served. The surface cages were available any time, as long as there was space. For the most part over the 3 days, we were able to get in a cage just about any time we wanted.
The surface crew did a great job of getting you in and out of the cage including assisting with the supplied weight belts. The submersible cages had a DM who would make sure you were looking in the right direction each time a shark came by. And there were many! We were never in the cage where we didn't see at least one shark. They bait at the surface using large chunks of frozen tuna hanging a couple of feet under water. When a shark is spotted, someone (or everyone) yells "SHARRRRRKKKKKK". When it comes in close to the bait, they will pull back so there were even incidents of breaching just a few feet off the back deck! Since the surface show was often as good as the cages, many people spent the entire day on the back deck and the crew would happily serve your breakfast and lunch there.

We were the only ones with dry suits and were envied by everyone (except the Norwegian guy)...including the crew! Some people were skipping cage times due to being cold...something we never had to do!

Everyone came home with lots of good photos, videos and smiles. The boat asked everyone to submit photos at the end of the trip and they made a trip DVD, with music and gave it to anyone who wanted at no charge which was a nice touch.


The crossing was just a little bit bumpy on the way over and there were a number of people who got seasick. The crossing back was calmer. Definitely take your meds if you are prone to seasickness.

It's definitely a trip worth doing to see these amazing creatures up close. They are anything but the "killing machines" of lore. Watching them swim slowly past the cages, circle around and come back again and again you just know they are watching you as much as you are watching them.

Not sure if we would do it again...once may be enough. But highly recommend both the trip and the Nautilus Explorer Belle Amie.
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 Getting There Picked up in San Diego

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 65-°F / 18-°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 100- Ft/ 30- M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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 Good large camera tables with plenty of space and outlets.
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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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