There are hundreds of vessels in the worldwide fleet of large, liveaboard dive boats. The Nautilus Explorer team pride themselves and differentiate the Nautilus by offering a recently built ship that was custom designed for divers to the highest possible level of comfort and safety with a layout that utilizes every square foot of available space. The crew takes exceptional pride in keeping the boat spotlessly clean and running smoothly. Everything is first class and certified to the same exacting international SOLAS and ISM standards as the largest cruise ship.
A Safe, Comfortable, Well-run Ship
Your comfort is our priority everywhere onboard. The Nautilus Explorer is a happy ship and carefully designed to be very safe with heavy, strong steel construction and extensive soundproofing. The vessel’s hullform, passive stability system and bulbous bow provides for a remarkably easy ride while heavy-duty commercial grade systems ensure that you have a smooth-running voyage. A water level platform aft of the dive deck provides easy entry into dive skiffs, kayaks and Laser sailboat.
Imaginative and fresh cuisine is one of the cornerstones of their business. Soups are homemade; Bread, pastries and deserts are baked onboard and there is always lots to eat with up to 4 meals a day, a choice of entrees and plenty of snacks (including some that aren’t good for you!). They offer a mix of both buffet and table service with a menu that combines North American and European tastes and also a touch of Mexico. Having a chef and 2 hostesses means that they can take excellent care of the guests. Most special dietary requests can be cheerfully accommodated with advance notice.
There is ample room to find a quiet place to read, chat, fill out your divelog or journal or work on editing the images you shot that day – whether in the separate dining room, main salon or one of the upper sundecks. And there is nothing like a soak under the stars in the sparkling clear fresh water of the hot tub after a day of diving or exploration. The main salon also serves as the ship’s entertainment centre with very “comfy” couches, a great library, a well stocked bar and select evening video showings, presentations and slide shows.
Accommodation on the Nautilus Explorer should suit all preferences ranging from a luxurious premium suite on the hot-deck to a cost effective, mixed-gender triple occupancy stateroom on the lower deck.
All eight lower deck staterooms have private heads with separate shower stalls, central air conditioning and measure 90 square feet. Six of the staterooms have side by side beds. Two of the staterooms have large double beds and additional storage area. There is also one co-ed triple occupancy stateroom.
Three superior suites on the hot-tub deck measure 145 sq. ft and have large exterior windows. They each have private facilities, a desk and either bureau or wardrobe. Two of these suites have doors that open directly outside. The third suite boasts a large flat screen TV and DVD player.
Our premium suite is also located on the hot-tub deck and is twice the size of the other suites. It has a separate bedroom and lounge each with a large flat screen TV and DVD player, private facilities with a full-size bathtub and shower plus large private windows looking out on an ocean view. In 2011, the lounge in this suite will be refitted with a beautiful floor to ceiling picture window.
Diving Guadalupe Island, Mexico
There are loads of great white sharks in the crystal clear waters of Guadalupe Island, Mexico. The crew believe that the best way to see these magnificent animals is to descend into their world and interact with them on their own terms in a natural way from their double-decker submersible cages. Conditions permitting, you can get out from behind the bars on the upper deck of these cages with only a single hand-rail between you and these amazing apex predators. To go face-to-face with a great white shark in the wild is something you will never forget. The highly experienced divemasters will be alongside you in the submersible cages to both critter point and ensure your safety.
NOTES : great white sharks are dangerous!! Use of the upper decks of the submersible cages is at the Captain’s sole discretion based on their interpretation of what the sharks are doing. You can kneel, sit and crouch on the top of the cages but a recent ammendment to the park regulations does currently prohibit standing on top of the cages.
Guadalupe Island (Mexico) is the top destination for great white shark encounters. This small volcanic island located in the Pacific 240 kilometers (150 miles) off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula outperforms both South Africa and Australia with shark-seeing consistency and watching conditions. Only Guadalupe Island can boast shark viewing in beautiful clear blue water with 125 – 150 foot visibility. They recently counted 108 great white sharks in the bay where they stage their submersible cage diving operations which guarantees unforgettable encounters.
July to November
Diving with great white sharks and going face-to-face with them at 30 feet is an unforgettable experience but also very different than most people imagine. The crew believe in natural interaction and instead of using oil and blood and chum at the surface, They use submersible cages with open top decks to descend down to where the sharks naturally congregate. Natural interaction results in more sharks, more interaction and unforgettable up close encounters. July and August features rowdy gangs of male sharks acting just like groups of teenage boys! Female great whites start showing up in September. October and November features the enormous 18 foot dominant females affectionately known as “big momma’s”. Over 120 individual great whites have been identified in the bay that the Nautilus Explorer dive in.
WHY PICK THE NAUTILUS EXPLORER
A liveaboard diveboat is only as good as it’s crew and on the Nautilus Explorer they are proud to say that they have some of the best and most experienced staff in the business. A quick peek at the blogs, logs, comments and ratings posted online after every trip will give a true measure of the quality and pride they take in their operation.
Unlike the other boats in the fleet, they arrive on station early so that you can have a nice relaxing dinner and a restful sleep in a still, calm and quiet anchorage. Cages open at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. Guests who are certificated divers will have the opportunity to make 3 submersible dives every day. Cages close at 5 p.m. (not earlier) on the last dive day. The crew and staff take great pride in their beautiful little ship. It was custom designed and built specifically for this kind of work and they keep it in tip top shape. No other ship in this part of the world boasts SOLAS certification (your guarantee of safety at sea), stabilization for an easier ride in open ocean, a mixed crew of men and women with decades of combined experience or all the little touches like a sparkling clear hot-tub, wide selection of micro-brew beer, fine wine, contemporary menu,
Voyages are typically 5 nights/6 days. Number of shark-dives on the trip is virtually unlimited. On the first morning upon arrival they do warm-up dives and afterwards the pool is always open. Current record is 31.5 hours of cage time over 3 dive days. Cages close at 5 p.m. on the last dive day to get ready for the steam home. They also offer 10- and 15-night Guadalupe combo-trips. 10-night trip combines diving with the great white sharks at Guadalupe Island with scuba diving in the giant kelp forests of the California Channel Islands and San Benito Islands and other remote islands on the Pacific side of Baja California. 15-night expedition in November combines Guadalupe and San Benitos with the famous giant mantas and dolphins of Socorro Island.
They offer a rich and natural experience of shark encounters on these trips by descending down into the shark’s world where they prefer to spend their time. They don’t need to use chum at depth; the sharks are already there. And they don’t need to use heavy slicks of blood, oil and chum on the surface. The crew have seen up to six great whites at once circling the cage and even bumping up against it in a gentle way. Without chum around they are more relaxed, exhibit MUCH more curiosity, and come in MUCH closer to the cages. Best of all, the cages are double-deckers, which means you can venture onto the upper deck and outside the bars to truly go face-to-face with great white sharks out in the open. It is an unforgettable rush when a great white looks at you from 50 feet away and then swims over for a very close
Diving is done via surface supplied hookah with backup dive gear in each cage. Submersible cage dives are 30 minutes long and if you are a certificated diver, you will have the opportunity to make 3 dives a day.. Dive time in the suspended cage and surface cage is unlimited.
The Nautilus Explorer voyages out to Socorro Island to dive and interact with the friendliest giant mantas in the world. This is by no means a trivial goal. The highly experienced crew have spent many years diving these waters which gives you the edge needed for a truly spectacular experience. These are true giant mantas, Manta birostris (aka manta ray), and should not be confused with the regular and smaller Mobula species, which can be seen far more often and practically everywhere. The giant Pacific mantas which you will meet at Socorro are the largest of the rays and we believe they are the most majestic creatures in the ocean. They swim by moving their wing-like pectoral fins, which can grow up to 7 meters wide, but usually average about 5 – 6 meters. At Socorro, these giants choose to interact with divers! They come in very close – less than 1 meter! – make eye contact with you and then swim along beside you – totally on their terms. What is even more extraordinary is that the local population of bottlenose dolphins have learned to mimic the behaviour of the giant mantas. It is very likely that these wild dolphins will also move in close and intimate to divers during your trip.
Shark sightings are also very good at Socorro Island with common sightings of silky, galapagos, hammerhead, white tip and silver tip sharks. Whale sharks are usually spotted at the beginning of and the latter part of the season. A population of 1200 humpbacks moves into the island’s waters in January and chances are excellent that you will have encounters with these mighty giants. You may even hear them singing through the hull of the ship at night as you lie in your bunk. Schooling hammerhead sharks may be seen at any time but the best chance to see large schools up close is April – June.
Diving at Socorro is all about big animals and is especially famous for unique up close and intimate interaction with giant mantas and dolphins not to mention 10 different species of sharks. Water temperatures in November and December are the warmest of the year in the low 80’s. Special feature this time of year is seeing whale sharks in the blue water and often brilliant visibility.
January to April
Up close interaction with giant mantas and dolphins happens consistently year-round at Socorro. The unique interaction with giant mantas is what Socorro is famous for! The sharking is not bad either with 10 different species of sharks resident in the Islas. The water temperatures start chilling down to 73 – 74 degrees in January, which is when 1200 humpback whales from Alaska migrate down to Socorro for mating. You will see loads of whales on the surface and you will hear them singing underwater. You may even hear them singing through the hull of the ship at night. Most incredible of all is the opportunity to snorkel with these magnificent animals.
May to July
Bait Ball Season! Scientific research indicates that there are more giant mantas at Socorro during bait ball season than any other time of year. It always seems like everything intensifies with more sharks including schooling Silky sharks mixing it up with schooling Hammerheads, lots of tuna and pelagic fish and even pilot whales. Our very friendly dolphins and 10 species of sharks are resident. Whale sharks are back. Water temps are on the definite rise to mid – high 70’s.
WHY BOOK THE NAUTILUS EXPLORER
Because they guarantee that you will have the chance of a lifetime for truly spectacular interaction with giant manta rays. Other dive boats visit these islands but only one of them has the experience necessary to get you up close and intimate with these animals.
The crew and staff take great pride in their beautiful little ship. It was custom designed and built specifically for this kind of work and we keep it in tip top shape. No other ship in this part of the world boasts SOLAS certification (your guarantee of safety at sea), stabilization for an easier ride in open ocean, a mixed crew of men and women with decades of combined experience or all the little touches like a sparkling clear hot-tub, wide selection of micro-brew beer, fine wine, contemporary menu, etc.
Trips board at the main API dock in Cabo San Lucas harbour at either 8:00 a.m. or 8:00 p.m. and depart shortly afterward. This is the same dock that the cruise ship tenders come and go from. After a one-day ocean crossing you arrive at the first dive site. There are 6 dive days on an 8-night trip and you will be visiting 3 different islands of this beautiful remote and deserted archipelago. You will pack up after the last full dive day and a relaxing dinner anchored in a protected cove for the one day voyage home, arriving in Cabo San Lucas the next evening. You spend one more night on the boat before you disembark the next morning at 8:30 a.m. Average trip length is 8 nights, 9 days. They also offer 10- and 12-night combo trips that combine diving at Socorro with the best of the Sea of Cortez, 15-night combo trips combining Socorro with Clipperton Island, and 15-night combo trips with the great white sharks of Guadalupe Island. During the regular trip you can expect 22 dives plus a thrilling night snorkel with silky sharks hunting under the ship’s deck lights (unless it is a full moon – the silkies don’t like to cooperate when it is a full moon).
Clipperton Atoll and Socorro Island combo trips – 15 nights of true adventure
The Nautilus Explorer offers the very rare opportunity to combine the adventure of voyaging to a remote coral atoll with diving the amazing, gentle and friendly giant pacific mantas and dolphins of Socorro Island. No other operator has ever offered dive trips to Clipperton Island.
Clipperton Island is virtually “off the map” – it is a beautiful and very remote tropical coral atoll that has been visited by very, very few divers. In fact, the Nautilus Explorer offers the only diving expeditions to have ever visited this place other than Jacques Cousteau, Scripps, the Smithsonian Institute, National Geographic and a french scientific party. The atoll and lagoon are surrounded by a shallow barrier reef with a beautiful coral reef that descends down to a white sand bottom at 175 feet. The amount of fish life is excellent and varied and ranges from the endemic, rare and beautiful Clipperton Angel fish to big schools of jacks and other panamic fish, lots of nudibranchs and macro life and more free-swimming green moray eels than you can imagine. One of the many fascinating things about Clipperton is the adaptive behaviour of the moray eels – this particular population of eels have learned to wriggle out of the water and hunt crabs that are close to the water’s edge. Shark sightings include hammerhead, silky and tiger sharks as well as giant manta and whale shark. The 2 mile long atoll itself is absolutely loaded with life including 5 MILLION land crabs, 500,000 boobies (more than anywhere else in the world), coconut trees, canadian geese (no idea what these guys were doing on a tropical island!!) and even the “skink”, which is a lizard duplicated nowhere else on earth.
Clipperton Atoll was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. English pirate John Clipperton based his attacks on spanish Manila galleons from there. Players in Clipperton’s ongoing history included Emperor Charles V, Napolean III, Mexican president Portfirio Diaz, Italian King Victor Emmanuel III, Benito Mussolini, guano miners, castaways, adventurers, scientists, sailors and even the self-appointed King of Clipperton (a Mexican lighthouse keeper who went mad and enslaved the local population of women and children). The results: discovery, loss, the great guano rush of the nineteenth century, habitation, rape – and MURDER!! President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited there twice. It was home to a secret US Navy installation during World War 2. Jacques Cousteau investigated the blue hole in the lagoon in the early 1980’s. A visit to Clipperton is not your typical dive trip and is truly one of the few real adventures still possible.
Trips depart from Cabo San Lucas. It is a one day ocean crossing out to Socorro and then an additional 2 days of voyaging to Clipperton. Cabo San Lucas is easy to get to. You will need to arrive in Cabo San Lucas the day before boarding the ship and we can recommend a local hotel. You board at the main dock (API dock) right downtown at 8:30 a.m. and depart shortly afterwards. It is a one day ocean crossing out to the first dive site and they usually arrive the morning of dive day #1. They will pack up after your last full dive day for the one day voyage home, arriving in Cabo San Lucas the next evening. Overnight stay on the boat and disembarking the next morning at 8:30 a.m. Trip length is 15 nights, 16 days.
Clipperton current – none to very light current. Skiff pickups available on all dives and a divemaster is available as an escort if needed. Descent and ascent line available all dives.
Clipperton water temperature – 86 degrees
Number of dives at Clipperton – 15 – 19 dives on station depending on the weather and how long they can stay at Clipperton. Number of dives subject to Captain’s discretion and the vagaries of the weather and marine animals..