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Dive Review of Nautilus Swell in
General Travel/Other Locations/Alaska, USA

Nautilus Swell: "Diving Alaska", Jun, 2014,

by Pierre Hurter, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 8045 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our fourth trip to Alaska, our first aboard the Nautilus Swell, built in 1912. There were 11 very experienced divers aboard and a crew of 5.

If you have never been to Alaska it’s hard to describe the sheer beauty of the place. Being in a relatively small boat gives you the opportunity to duck into lots of small out of the way places that you would never see in a cruise ship and that’s just on top of the water.

After a checkout dive we dove the Princess Sophia, called by some the Titanic of the Pacific Northwest. She ran into Vanderbilt Reef during a snowstorm and sank with the loss of all 343 people aboard.

The next day we took the dive skiff “Indie” to Tracy Arm. Bundled into our drysuits we maneuvered our way to within half a mile of the face of the Sawyer Glacier. Spectacular chunks of ice calving, curious seals, swimming from iceberg to iceberg, loads of fun, but a bit cold on the ride back. Fortunately the Swell had a small, but well curated, scotch collection.

One of my favorite dives is Wooden Island, named after Isaac Wooden who while sailing with Vancouver had the misfortune of falling overboard at this site. The rock has one of the greatest profusions of life I have ever seen. Visibility ranging from 60-80 feet.

Our final diving was at St. Lazaria Island about 25 miles west of Sitka. The island is a low, volcanic hump in the sea. There are a series of sea-level caves, one of which provides one of the best dives in Alaska.

On our last day of diving we had a unique experience, diving with the smudges, a huge aggregation of Moon jellyfish. Like the jellyfish dive in Palau this is the saltwater version, a solid mass of jellyfish from the surface to a depth of 80 feet.

The waters are teeming with life and for the occasional change of pace, there are wrecks everywhere.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Alaska, Monterey, Socorro, Solomon's, Chuuck, Palau, Galapagos, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, La Paz, Tulum, Belize, Maui, Honduras
Closest Airport Juneau Getting There SFO to Seattle and on to Juneau

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 45-50°F / 7-10°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive guide was available, but most divers dove their own profiles
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars 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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