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Dive Review of Nautilus Undersea in
Mexico (Western)/Guadalupe Island

Nautilus Undersea: "Amazing Great White Shark Cage Diving", Oct, 2021,

by Linda Briggs, TX, US ( 1 report). Report 11695.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments First, let me just say, this is the cleanest liveaboard I have ever been on! I’m a little bit of a germaphobe but I never once saw anything that made me feel uncomfortable. It was impressively cleaned and wiped down on a daily basis.
We had 17 guests and 9 crew members on board. Maria, our hostess, was fortunately very energetic as she took care of every one of the guests beautifully. Due to Covid, we were not allowed to serve ourselves from the buffet nor from the bar. Maria was on the spot every time anyone needed anything. We were actually feeling bad for her having to run around so tirelessly to keep everyone served. But she always did it with a smile on her face and continually telling us not to feel bad because, she would say, “I love my job!” And it shows.
Also, I cannot say enough about the dive masters, shark wranglers, engineer, captain and chef. (I hope I’m not leaving out anyone.) Every single crew member was extremely personable and couldn’t be more accommodating. It was their mission to make sure that everyone had a great time. They were also very shark-knowledgeable and passionate about the sharks. They loved sharing their knowledge with us.
We had a bit of a wait before boarding the boat at the Coral Hotel and Marina on Sunday evening in Ensenada. During the wait our luggage was held in a room where Mario, one of the shark wranglers, checked us in. While waiting we were able to have lunch and/or drinks inside the lobby bar and restaurant or outside poolside. We were also provided gratuitous water, coffee and soft drinks in the check in room. When it was time to check in, we had to take a Covid test even though we had been required to take one within 7 days prior to our departure from our originating cities.
Once on the boat, we were given a safety briefing and practiced a mock fire drill. The crew introduced themselves and announced their positions on the boat. Both guests and crew were required to wear Covid masks anytime we were inside the boat. We were not required to wear them on the dive deck although a lot of the crew kept their masks on outdoors.
The common areas of the boat were very spacious. There was a large living area on the top deck which was utilized by a few people but mostly we congregated on the dive deck or in the dining area.
The sleeping rooms were about the same size as I have encountered on most other liveaboards. I was in a room marked “quad” on the door but I think they only use it as a triple. We got lucky and there were only two of us in the room. Storage space was very minimal in our room but we were able to use the empty bunks for our “storage”. I understand the other rooms had under bed storage that ours did not have. Three people in this room would have been very tight quarters. As it was, it was quite comfortable.
We were provided clean towels in our rooms every day unless we indicated otherwise. We chose to hang our towels up so that it would not be necessary to wash them every day for the sake of the environment. We were also provided clean towels on the dive deck every day. A shampoo and body wash was provided in the shower and 30 SPF, reef-safe sun screen was provided, as well. There was also a warm shower on the dive deck so that you could rinse off after each dive.
After our 22 hour voyage from Ensenada to our anchorage at Guadalupe, we watched as the cages were lowered on Monday night so that they were ready for use beginning at 6:30 Tuesday morning. The two submersible cages were on either side of the boat with the larger, stationary one at the back of the boat. The dive deck is very spacious so there was never a “traffic jam” getting in and out of the cages.
Each cage has surface supplied air hoses. Each person was issued a sanitized and sealed regulator to use for the week. The regulators attached to the air hoses via a quick-connect system. There were also scuba tanks with normal regulators in each cage for backup.
We had a great group of divers with three non-divers. The non-divers are allowed only in the non-submersive cages. However, there was still plenty of shark action for them to enjoy.
The cages were open from 6:30 am until 6:00 pm. Even though there was a schedule to assure that everyone got their share of cage time, it wasn’t really adhered to since we were not always ready to dive when it was our turn. There was never really an issue getting in anytime you were ready and you could pretty much stay in as long as you wanted as there was a lot of coming and going making it a rather relaxed schedule. Even though I am a certified diver, I preferred the surface cages to the submersed cages. Even the submersible cages would stay at the surface if each of the divers in that cage agreed at that specific time.
The Mexican government has made it illegal to chum the water so the shark wranglers could only tie a large chunk of tuna on a rope and toss it into the water to “bait” the sharks. As the sharks went for the bait, the wranglers would yank it up out of the water so that the sharks would jump up for it. It was always quite a show! There were most always sharks near and around the boat. The action was just as exciting from the dive deck as it was in the cages.
A couple of times we even had an indigenous Guadalupe fur seal swim right up to the boat and check us out. There was a gazillion mackerels going after the bait at all times. The sharks were not the least bit interested in them. However, there were also several tuna after the bait, as well. That and the seals happen to be the Great White’s favorite menu items but, as the crew pointed out, they are much faster than the Great Whites. It is only the ones not paying attention to the sharks that get eaten. We were told that both the seals and the tuna will tease and play with the sharks at times because they know the Great Whites are unable to turn on a dime to chase them. They are much more agile and can escape faster than the sharks can turn.
Photographers were not allowed to use continuous lighting; only strobes were allowed. However, since we were either at the surface or near it, the ambient light was usually sufficient. The folks who were using Go Pros got some great shots…some as good as those with the more complicated rigs. A wide angle lens is highly advantageous.
After three days of cage diving, it was time to head back to Ensenada. The water going back was a little choppier than it was on the way out. A lot of people were scrambling for Dramamine but I didn’t think it was that bad.
The absolute only semi-negative I can say about this trip was the border crossing back home. It was quicker than expected, but we had to remove our luggage from the bus and walk about three blocks to the area where we cleared customs. While it wasn’t horrible, it was just a little inconvenient. However, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it would have been if we’d had to stay on the bus through the traffic. As it was, a different bus picked us up once we were on the other side of the border. This speeded things up considerably as there is no telling how long we would have had to wait in traffic.
All-in-all, I definitely give the Nautilus operation a solid 5 stars!
Websites Nautilus Undersea   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Philippines, Bali, Fiji, Moorea (Tahiti), Hawaii, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Costa Rica, St Lucia, Roatan, Guanaja, Utila, Blue Heron Bridge (FL), Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Belize, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, USVI, BVI, Curacao, Bonaire, St Croix
Closest Airport Tijuana Getting There We flew into San Diego where we were picked up in a shuttle and driven to Ensenada. This was about a 2.5 hour drive which included clearing customs in Tijuana.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 68-72°F / 20-22°C Wetsuit Thickness 6
Water Visibility 50-50 Ft/ 15-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions We were restricted to cages; 1 stationary at the surface and 2 submersible.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

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 The Nautilus Undersea has a huge camera table with plenty of room for all of the photographers. There were plenty of electrical outlets which were used for camera batteries and phone charging. There was a large dedicated camera rinse bucket in close proximity to the camera table. A crew member manned the charging station overnight every night. Charging anything in your room was highly discouraged. The crew was very careful handling cameras as we climbed in and out of the cages.
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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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