Nautilus Explorer 17-1-2012 till 25-1-2012
The following is a trip report from me and my wife´s divetrip in January 2012.
The boat is a canadian owned steelship. All the technical details you can find on their website.
In our view it is a great boat. We had a stateroom cabin. In this type of room, there is a double bed and a single bed as well as (small)private shower and bathroom. It is not luxurious but for our needs just fine. We are basically just sleeping in the cabin anyway. On the deckplan you have a big divedeck, where each diver has his/her private place for the whole trip. Also a big cameratable and ample place for recharging batteries. Remember US style plugs. From the dive deck there is access to a cosy salon with sofa´s and a flatscreen TV and DVD player. Nautilus encourages people on the trip to watch nature related DVD´s rather than holywood productions. Here you also have a small bar where you can buy alcohol (after your last dive). Further in you have the space for eating. We´ll have to say this much: You won´t loose weight on this trip. The food was delicious and there was always 2 hot dishes to choose from in the evenings. Finally this deck gave access to the bow, from where we on several occasions could enjoy the spectable of dolphins playing in front of the boat. On the next deck, you have the bigger cabins (huge) and the jacuzzi. Great to warm up after getting cooled down on the dives. On top you have the sundeck with sunchairs. No shade on this deck.
For diving purposes you either dive from the big boat or 2 zodiacs or a small metal boat (tin can).
If you are phrone to seasickness it is wise to bring some medication. It is about 24 hours of sailing from Cabo San Lucas to Socorro.
There is a crew of 9 people aboard. 2 of them are divemasters. The crew was really excellent. They will go a long long way for you to have a good holiday. Our big thanks to Al, Joel, Belinda, Sylvia, Kevin, Lauren, Adolfo, Enrique and Larry.
If you want to follow a divemaster you can, otherwise you dive with your buddy. The briefings were accurate and the divesites are easy to navigate. It is no kindergarden diving and we really appreciate that. Nitrox is available at a cost of USD 20 pr. day. In general they try to put in 4 dives a day. There is no nightdiving. On most divesites you dive along a rock/wall with the bottom out of recreational divelimits. So it is important to have a good bouyancy. Belinda will be very helpful in this regard. We didn´t experience a lot of current but often had some surge. Water temperatures ranged between 21 and 24 degrees celcius. Visibility was between 10 - 25 meters. My advice would be, that novice divers should wait with this trip until they get somewhere between 25 and 50 dives under their belt.
In generel there are 3 areas on the itinerary. San Benedicto Island, Socorro Island and Roca Partida.
San Benedicto Island, ´The Boiler´.
This is manta heaven. The divesite is a rock that stops about 3 meters from the surface. On the rock, you can find countless huge lobsters, many morays, big trevallies, whitetip reef sharks and even hammerhead sharks. But the star of the show would be the giant pacific manta rays. We did 8 dives in total on this site and had manta rays on all dives except one. The manta´s will come very close to you. Especially if you swim a little away from them. This is a really spectacular area and San Benedicto Island is very beautiful in its own raw way. Unfortunately we didn´t dive the canyon, due to too much current. Well, another time. Oh, I almost forgot the humpback whales entertaining us with their songs. We didn´t see any underwater, but a few from the surface.
We did one day of diving here. That meant 3 dives on Cabo Pearce. Also manta territory and manta´s on all dives. Very impressive to watch the clarion angel fish in big numbers clean the giants. This dive site also gave us a hammerhead sighting, a lot of octopus, mexican hogfish, trumphetfish and so on. The underwater scenery is also very nice with big rock boulders.
This is a rock in the middle of nowhere. Only about 30 meters wide. What it lacks in size above water, you´ll certainly find below the surface. This is shark territory. So many whitetip reef sharks that you don´t bother to count. They sleep on balconies on the rock, and will let you come pretty close. We saw numerous very big (3m) galapagos sharks. I counted at least 10 at the same time. We also encountered the beautiful silvertip sharks and last but not least hammerhead sharks. The icing on the cake was a 5 minutes rendez-vous with a dolphin group on scuba. 8 dives in total and sharks on very dive. Nice blue water compared to The Boiler and Cabo Pearce.
Larry took us on a small whalewatching safari and we were lucky to see breaching humpbacks.
This trip definately ranks among our best divetrips ever. It is big animal diving so don´t expect nice colourful coralreefs. But for sharks and manta´s you´ll get spoiled. As a matter of fact we had sharks, manta´s or both on every single dive.
It is a trip we highly recommend to all experienced divers and we can also highly recommend the Nautilus Explorer.
For more photo´s be welcome on our website http://www.diveexperiences.dk