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Dive Review of Nautilus Explorer in
Mexico (Western)

Nautilus Explorer: "Disappointing Sea of Cortez diving", Aug, 2022,

by Jana Johnson, NC, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 12052.

Photos Submitted with this Report


Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

This is the best coral I saw on this trip These rocks represent the majority of what I saw diving on this trip Dive deck and dedicated camera area

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Positives: The crew provided a safe dive experience and were very helpful with the gear. The chef was outstanding. He made delicious and beautiful food and did and fantastic job accommodating my special dietary need. Flaviola, the "ship manager" (my words) was also outstanding and very helpful.
Nautilus gave me a discount on this trip since the trip to Guadalupe that I was originally scheduled on was canceled when the marine park was closed.
Battery charging was only allowed at the dedicated camera area on the dive deck at the back of the boat. No unattended battery charging was allowed anywhere else on the boat and no battery charging at all was allowed in rooms.
A negative covid test was required the week before the trip and everyone on the boat was required to have a rapid covid test done at no charge at the dive shop before boarding.

Negatives: On the first day just after we all had arrived on the boat the captain made a sexual innuendo about one of his crew members, which of course was completely inappropriate. I avoided the captain for the rest of the trip.
We were told that we would be going on 4 dives per day. The first day only 3 were scheduled, with no explanation.
We were told that everyone would be diving Nitrox. No one was asked if he or she wanted to dive Nitrox, it appeared to be mandatory. I would not have chosen to dive with Nitrox, but I was charged for it, as was everyone else to my knowledge. There were some divers who did not have Nitrox certification who were diving with Nitrox.
The hallway on the lower deck that ran between the cabins smelled musty and faintly of sewage. It also smelled like something had been sprayed to cover up the smell.
The diving was uninteresting and consisted of brown rocks with very little coral. I saw 2 manta rays at a distance and sea lions at 2 sites. There were schools of small fish and a very large school of jacks. Not much else. Unless you go to Cabo Pulmo (we did not) there just isn't much to see unless you are fortunate enough to see big stuff. The spotter plane saw a whale on the first day, which resulted in launching 2 skiffs to try to catch up to it with the goal of snorkeling with it. I am not a marine biologist but it was apparent even to me that we would never catch it, much less snorkel with it. In my opinion this wasted 2 hours of time we could have been diving.
The spotter plane was not helpful (or visible) the remainder of the week though I was told it was out looking for big animals.
One of the divers in our group had essentially no buoyancy control and was grabbing rocks and coral constantly to steady themselves. This diver was also kicking sand and rocks constantly. Had there been delicate coral it would have been destroyed. To my knowledge not one divemaster addressed this with this diver.
I guess if you are lucky enough to see big animals on your dives in the Sea of Cortez then you would leave happy. But if you don't see big animals there is just not much to see.
I wondered why we did not go to Cabo Pulmo. I discovered at the end of the trip that a couple of people on our boat had scheduled a day trip to Cabo Pulmo after our trip. I can't help but wonder if the liveaboard doesn't go there because they can make more money when divers schedule separate trips there. I don't know if this is the case. My understanding is that Cabo Pulmo is the only/best coral reef in the area so i can't think of another reason why we would not have gone there since the other dive sites are so uninteresting.
I will give credit to Mike Lever, company owner, who responded to my feedback quickly and refunded my cost for nitrox. He also assured me other issues would be addressed with feedback and training.

Websites Nautilus Explorer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Philippines, Caribbean, Malaysia
Closest Airport Cabo San Lucas Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80-83°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15-40 Ft/ 5-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Nitrox
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Very good dedicated space for cameras and plenty of outlets for charging. Dedicated fresh water bucket for cameras.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Alice Ribbens in MN, US at Oct 10, 2022 14:59 EST  
Hi Jana, I was just on a different liveaboard in the Sea of Cortez. Apparently, according to the dive staff on that boat, the rules at Cabo Pulmo have changed in the last 12-18 months to the point that it is virtually impossible for divers on liveaboards to dive there. The park now requires liveaboards to moor 5 miles offshore (it used to be 1 mile) which would result in a ~40 min panga ride to get to the beach. Also, they won't reserve spots for liveaboard divers which means you'd take that 40 min panga ride to get in line and wait for the possibility of a spot. It also sounds like they are limiting the number of divers that can dive each site each week--so you could wait several hours only to not be able to dive any of the sites you wanted to go to. To the best of my knowledge, the liveaboards have largely taken Cabo Pulmo off of their posted itineraries. If yours did not, that was an oversight on their part. I know the boat I was on had Cabo Pulmo on their itinerary a year or so ago, but more recently did not. The reason the Nautilus Explorer did not go to Cabo Pulmo almost certainly has nothing to do with any plans that some divers had to go there afterwards.
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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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