Archive for the ‘Cabo Pearce’ Category

A mother and calf humpback whale were very curious. Some of our guests saw them underwater

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014


Jumped in for a dive at Cabo Pearce (Socorro Island) today and had another fantastic dive.  Its so nice being able to dive right off the stern of the ship and follow the line directly to the dive site.  All the smaller critters seem to be in full force with tons of parrot fish, trigger fish, puffer fish, octopus, flounder, trumpet fish and more while at the same time listening to the very loud humpback whales in the distance.  On the outskirts of the dive site there were several groups of humpbacks.  A mother and calf humpback whale were being very curious and some of our guests saw them underwater.  The photos are amazing and have made a whale encounter a must for me.


With a half-dozen enormous creatures putting on this display, the effect is electrifying. Socorro Islands, Baja mexico, Jan 4th 2012

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Cabo Pierce was amazing today. The first morning dive was especially impressive. We saw dolphins. We saw nudibranchs. We saw octopi and white tip reef sharks. And then there were the Mantas: giant, graceful, bizarrely interactive. They swim straight up to you, look you in the eye, slowly twist to show-off their distinctive markings, and swoop away to the next diver. With a half-dozen enormous creatures putting on this display, the effect is electrifying. Every person returned to the boat with a huge smile that lasted all day.

Robin Rothfeder, SLC UT, USA

Amazing day in Cabo Pierce, with a plenty of huge, friendly and curious Mantas ( I swear I did not touch a manta, but I was snapped on my mask by one), beautiful environment underwater and a lot of life, including large creatures and tiny ones. Turtles, octopus, hammerhead sharks (could have come a little closer, but let’s wait till tomorrow), rays, many different fishes, lobsters, Galapagos shark.

Nice kayaking in one of the surface intervals, with the beautiful view of the Socorro Island. Delicious talking in the bath tub with great friends until the delightful dinner just before the night snorkeling with many Silky sharks.  A little afraid in the beginning but didn’t want to get out!

DIA MARAVILHOSO! Que seja o preludio de um ano repleto de realizacoes!

Clarissa Oliveira, Sao Paulo, Brazil


One-two-three GO- We all backroll together and begin to descend onto the dive site, as I clear the bubbles off my lens and adjust my strobe, I see the dark manta shaped shadow out of the corner of my eye. Quickly I take a test shot to check my exposure and start lining up the approaching manta.  After I get down to the dive site the action just keeps on going- two or three mantas going around in circles- it was fantastic!  Moving up the ridge I found a big canyon which allowed me to get out of the current as I waited there for several minutes I snapped some Peacock Flounder, Spanish Hogfish, and a variety of puffers. Then the first manta swam overhead and began to circle. Then several more joined in for a total of three!! I was in manta heaven and taking pics as fast as my camera would recycle. Then a school of about 100 large Tuna swam thru and made several passes. After about 15 minutes I worked my way down the ridge back to the down line. The action there was even more intense with 3-4 mantas circling in and out of the cleaning station. Even on our safety stop on the line, we were buzzed by the mantas up to when we got back on the Zodiak!

The only time I had a more intense dive with mantas was the day before at The Boiler!

Dave Kinney,  Vienna, VA  USA

Whale sharks, mantas, dolphins, false-killer whales, octopus, Galapogos sharks, Hammerhead sharks, Silky sharks… I could go on and on. Captain’s Log May 15th 2011 Socorro

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Everything seemed to come together to make this trip a truly wonderful experience.  The gorgeous weather, the great company of the guests and crew, and of course, the diving.  I don’t know how to describe the diving in a way that will justify the experience!



Whale sharks, mantas, dolphins, false-killer whales, octopus, Galapogos sharks, Hammerhead sharks, Silky sharks…I could go on and on.  It really was a magical time at the Islas de Revillagigedo’s and all aboard the Nautilus were blessed with great dives, even me!



San Benedicto, Roca Partida and Socorro left us all feeling very privileged. We departed the islands through some large swell and heavy wind which delighted some guests as they enjoyed the adventure of ‘being at sea!’ Hatches were dogged down and everyone held on as the ship rose and crashed down on the waves.  It was blue water cruising at its best!  We made our way north and eased into the Sea of Cortez under a stunningly beautiful sunrise.

The weather was calm and ship steamed along, everyone comfy and happy.  We stopped at 4 amazing divesites in 2 days, including an entertaining dive with dozens of playful sealions.  Some divers reported sea lion pups playing and coming close for a kiss.  Games of hide-and-seek and tag kept the entertainment coming.   It was a slow cruise back to Cabo below a huge orange moon and as I watched the sun rise out of the Eastern horizon I realized how rich I really am.
Captain Kevin

Perched on Top of a Small Pinnacle Lay my Wedding Ring!! I Found it!! Captain’s Log. Socorro Island. May 5, 2011

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Its been a very interesting trip here on the Nautilus Explorer this past couple of weeks.  Any trip that combines a combo of the Sea of Cortez and Socorro Island holds promise, and this one certainly delivered.  The Sea of Cortez is everything I crave when I search for warmer climates that my homeland of Canada simply can’t offer – the glassy, calm and inviting waters, the palm trees swaying in the breeze, the pelicans flying overhead, sealions and dolphins dancing in the waves.  The morning sunrises here were among the most beautiful I have ever seen.  I didn’t dive because of some unforeseen circumstances and a lot of night shifts, but with a little luck I will be back to have another go at it.  Hearing the stories of the guests as they climbed out of the water after seeing wrecks and dancing with the sealions has me primed!
Its been some of the best weather I have ever encountered down on this stretch of coast.  The trip out to Soccorro was amazing.  Warm, nice breeze, clear water and general feeling of calm had me looking at everything in a very enchanting way.  It may have been this feeling that led me to drop my guard on Mother Nature (something I try not to do!) and drop my wedding ring over the side at Cabo Pearce.  Thankfully, and I mean REALLY thankfully! Pedro the divemaster quickly dropped a marker near the spot when it went over.  He went down right away to see if he could find it.  Pulling on my wetsuit and gearing up he a popped up at the surface and said "I don’t think so Kevin – it’s very rocky"  My heart sank.  But I went down anyway, along with Captain Gordon and Pedro and we looked around for 20 minutes.  Aside from a terrible guilt building in my heart it was an amazing dive!!!!  Fish everywhere, about 90 feet deep with the biggest Lapu Lapu (parrotfish) I have ever seen!  I was thoroughly enjoying myself as I search over rocks, in crevices and in between plants.  I came up over a large rock and just on the other side was a huge stingray!  A beautiful sight.  I stopped to look and then turned ahead once more when suddenly, perched on the top of a small pinnacle lay my ring!  It looked huge and I was conscious of a ‘Lord of the Rings’ scene as I floated there looking at it.  I wanted to wait and show Pedro and Gordon but decided ‘Nahh!  Don’t test your luck!’  I grabbed it and surfaced, relieved and happy.
It was another moment for the memory bank, quickly filling with great experiences I am having on the Nautilus Explorer in West Coast Mexico.  I love it here!
Captain Kevin

Guest and Crew blog – I watched in awe as the large shark passed by me – Socorro island – 06 mar 2011

Thursday, March 10th, 2011


Today I got the chance to swim with sharks. I never thought I’d be the type of person to get in the water if I knew there were sharks swimming around but I have learned a lot more about sharks and decided that it was time to conquer my fear. I had only been in the water for maybe 5 minutes when a large oceanic white tip shark swam past. I watched in awe as the large shark passed by me.  Only when it came back and then proceeded to circle me– did I feel fear.  When it decided to swim up toward me, I wasn’t sure what to do and so I kept very very still. We maintained eye contact the shark and I and before things changed for the worse I moved quickly and aggressively toward the Oceanic white tip. It was then that the shark turned and swam away deciding that I was not worth checking out any further– what an amazing experience!!!
- Hostess Chris


Ceu azul e mar idem. Desde o amanhecer nao se ve nenhuma nuvem no ceu e o mar, a cada hora que passa, esta mais calmo e azul. A visibilidade esta excelente e a vida fervilhando na Roca Partida… Para finalizar, conseguimos fotografar duas baleias Jubarte, uma muito grande e outra filhote, ambas nadando com uma leveza que nao faz jus ao peso, medido em toneladas…
Humberto – Equipe Acquanauta
Aqui, no local, a vida passa como num filme…………..em "slow motion" com o voo magnifico das MANTAS, 15 minutos entretendo os mergulhadores extasiados……..em marcha normal com os golfinhos e baleais jubarte ao largo e durante todo o tempo………..acelerado ao som do tum-tum-tum-tum com a aproximacao dos Silks, Galapenhos de 3 metros, Silver-Tips, White Tips, Hammerheads……………digno de um OSCAR DOS MERGULHOS………….
Decio De Conti – Equipe Acquanautam com meus parceiros Rodrigo, Joao,e Luciano


We are almost at the end of our voyage it has been good so far. Better weather in the last two weeks. Although visibility has not been ideal, we are still spotting the hammerheads and dolphins at the canyon, and mantas at the boiler. First trip at Socorro island after one month closed by Mexican navy. Cabo Pierce, the divesite, was with mild current so we were able to see hammerhead sharks and snorkel with dolphins. Punta Tosca was really to bad for diving the first two dives but at the end two mantas made the day by swimming  with us for the whole dive. Listening the whales singing  at all the time. Roca was, as always, spectacular with galapagos shark,silver tips,hammerheads, and again some of the guest snorkel with whales. Good day. I really enjoyed diving with our guests from New Jersey and Brazil. Lots of good humour and fun.


Sunny today,no wind,warm on surface,water temperature 22 C with some thermo at 110ft,visibility 18 mts.
DM Pedro Cervantes

Giant mantas or dolphins? or served Nautilus style: why not both, and plenty of them! DM and Guest Blog. Dec. 1/10.

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

With our last DM Blog we left you on the way to Socorro Island after a very successful day at Roca Partida.

Isla Socorro was absolutely beautiful and full of life. On the first day, after checking in with the Navy base at the island, we moved to Cabo Pearce where we enjoyed diving with a couple of friendly mantas. Mantas are absolutely spectacular and specially here in the way they interact with you, but what really made my day this day, was the last dive where I and a couple of the guests got to see a large school of Steel Pompano spawning; They would all swim in a whirlwind of action and then release dense clouds of eggs.

After Cabo Pearce we moved the boat to Punta Tosca on the same island where we did one and a half days of diving with the Mantas and the now famous pod of friendly dolphins. I must admit, Sten and Pedro had told me all about the times when they’ve encountered them in the past, but for me it was the first time that I saw real friendly and active interaction of the dolphins with the guests. I believe this is unique in the whole wide world and I am happy to be part of it.

Today we are back in San Benedicto Island and we spent the day diving at the Boiler with up to not one, not two, not three but 5 mantas together. I have no words that can possibly describe the diving today except to say that in my 27 years of diving this is definitely one of the best days. Heck, it was so good, that we are going there again tomorrow…. Stay tuned for the next DM Blog!

Surface Conditions: Partly Cloudy, Breezy, Warm 75-80F, Big Swell running.

Underwater Conditions: Viz Great +80′, Temp. 78F, Current mild to None, Surge.

You just have to dive with us to see the Sea for yourself,

Divemaster Peter Schalkwijk

Hey Sten, this is Karine and Patrick,

End of a plentiful week where the Canyon didn’t work and the Boiler made our day.

Well, we’ve seen  giant Mantas every day – at one stage we had 5 of them swimming with us – , 100 hammerhead sharks on the last dive at the Canyon, clarion Angel, lobsters, but this is not the reason of me writing on the Nautilus blog. I wanted to tell you that I’ve seen your couple of good friends at Punta Tosca. Nobody knows how to find these animals the way the crew do on the Nautilus Explorer.  The two dolphins were there, male and female, the one with a dent at the base of the dorsal fin and the other one with a peninsula shape on the top of the dorsal. I saw them last year in the same place and they did find us again on the same spot.

After 50 minutes of playing down below with Mantas, we ran out of air and got back to the boat. There they were waiting for us and after getting rid of the diving kit I went free swimming with those two.

Orange seahorse that we spotted here 2 weeks ago has moved a total of 2 metres — mate and diveguide log – Nautilus Explorer – May 30, 2010

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Another successful trip!

I’m writing this by the pale, ghostly light of a full moon shining over a flat calm sea on a warm night near San Jose del Cabo, driving the Nautilus Explorer back to port after a 12 day trip to the Socorro Islands and the Sea of Cortez.

What a beautiful night. It’s nights like these that make me glad to be a seafarer, and although I’d like to say the weather’s like this all the time at , our friends who have been on previous trips will be quick to tell you that we’re not always so lucky! That doesn’t detract from the beauty of tonight, however.

We’ve been blessed with beautiful conditions for most of this trip, save perhaps the sole exception of a rather bumpy transit north from Socorro to the Sea of Cortez. Nothing that the Nautilus Explorer’s beautifully and very strongly built steel stability hull can’t handle, and nothing our guests couldn’t take care of with suntanning and napping! And to top it off, as soon as we made our turn around the Baja California into the Sea of Cortez the seas dropped down to nothing and we’ve enjoyed 4 days of glassy smooth weather.

I’ve got some new underwater memories from this trip, including a dive I did with our new deckhand Tess, at Cabo Pearce. Boy that was some current! Hanging on to our (very prudently and thoughtfully placed) descent line we felt like flags in a stiff breeze! There were 2 beautiful Giant Manta Rays gliding effortlessly through the easily 2 knot current, and they approached us eyeball to eyeball as if to ask us what we were doing in that kind of current!

I also dove in Los Islotes, in the Sea of Cortez, again with Tess and our chief engineer Larry. Boy those are some curious and playful Sea Lions! The hardest part of the dive is keeping your head on enough of a swivel to keep track of these sleek animals rocketing through the water around you, as if to finally drive home how clumsy and awkward we humans are in the marine environment. Photographing sea lions at play is a challenge to say the least! You have to be quick with a shutter.
Well, back to the job at hand, driving the Nautilus Explorer through this moonlit night. I’m looking forward to one last trip to the Socorro Islands and the Sea of Cortez before saying goodbye to Baja California Sur for this season. We had a great one, and made lots of new friends and new memories. Now bring on the Great White Sharks of Guadalupe!
Sandy Curtis

Espirito Santo and la Reina , Sea of Cortez Baja California Sur. Mexico

So I took the computer and am sitting on the top deck writing this log. I am looking to the west and see the sky red , orange by the mountains of Baja California Peninsula as the sun went down since an hour ago down looking to the south a fullmoon has risen first deep red and have now been changing colour to silver. The sea is flat.

To come up in the sea of Cortez is making such a change in caracter above water as well under beneith compared with Islas Revillagigedo that always moves and is more dramatic. It is nice to during the same and one trip meet two totally different seas. The big stuff in the Socorro islands and then a bit slower paste and more slow meditative diving in the Sea of Cortez. And the amount of fish this waters has!! Tousands and ten tousands of schooling scads and grunts , Creol fish that just in a never ending traffic like rush hour in Mexico City it just comes and comes and comes. Then for those who want to get harrased by the playful sealion, spinning around you and makes you feeel as agile as a refrigerator.

Or go for a nudibranchunt , or blennies and gobies , want to see a few houndred pufferfish, I mean schools of them? Go to the wreck salva tierra. It is loaded of them. And snappers and groupers. Or the funny looking bluespotted jaw fish peeking up with its head looking like kermit from the muppet show. And its big brother the finespotted jaw fish that reah up to 40 cm in lenght. Kormorand birds hunting under water swimming quickly trying to grab the scads. You can just park your self at a spot and sit there and watch. On top we still see dolpins, common dolpins today, we still had a left over humpback and the mobula rays that are juming high up in the air looking like they try to fly but lands with a big splash back in water. Or snorkel with the whaleshark by the mogote. And in the evening jump on a beach of thean island and get away  and take in total stillness watching the sun settle behind the mountain of Baja. It is just a beautiful place to have as a change now after been working down in Revillagigedo To actually work where I started 8 years ago and close to home. Diving in my backyard and show people this pearl of the planet. We finished up our days diving at la Reina . Lots of playful sea lion and , the orange seahorse that we spotted here for 2 weeks ago had moved maybe two meters since last.

Good way to end up the trip and for me to take a vacation for a month and next time meet up with Nautilus Explorer in Ensenada to start a exploratory dive trip to isla Guadelupe the 3 of July.

Until then dive safe.


Surface conditions Sunny hot 32-34 C south slow wind in the Sea of Cortez

Underwater conditions Viz was a bit low as 8-12 M best this trip in la Reina with 15 M temp varies a lot from 21-26C Low 70s to 80 F This trip mild current

We finished the day strong with an adrenalin inducing night snorkel with feisty silky sharks – Captain and crew blog – May 23, 2010

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

The sea state was actually not too bad when I woke up this morning at 0530 for my turn on watch. A fairly long 6-10′ from the NW which we were riding over quite smoothly. I must have done something to upset the ocean G*ds though because around 20 minutes after I stepped onto the bridge the wind started blowing, leading to our present state, with a stiff 20-25 kts from the NW, turning the original long 6-10′ into a choppy 8-12′. Not what I was hoping for on this transit north, but certainly nothing that this ocean going vessel can’t handle, just a little lumpier than our guests were anticipating. After departing Roca Partida we have spent the last three days diving at Isla Socorro and Isla San Benedicto, and have had some superb dives. Pta Tosca on the west side of Socorro delivered a beautiful morning dive with 2 Giant Pacific Mantas spending nearly the entire dive sharing themselves between all of the divers in the water, circling around and overhead, and making eye contact as they cruised by only a few feet away. The afternoon at Pta Tosca was not so hot, with visibility diminishing and our manta pals moving on to other more important things apparently. However we did finish the day strong with an adrenaline inducing night snorkel with around 6-8 feisty silky sharks!

Up next was Cabo Pearce, where we stayed a full day and completed 4 great dives. The day began with an amazing dive featuring 30-50 schooling hammerheads AND 6 Giant Manta Rays, all of which circled closely giving all the divers in the water some great Manta lovin’. Visibility was great at around 80ft/24m and our 6 lovely Mantas stuck around for dives 2 and 3, with at least 4 of them being ‘players’, coming in very close and providing some great interaction. Also had a couple brief dolphin sightings, a couple solitary hammerheads, and a huge school of Bonito that swam by in the blue and seemed to go on and on forever. By dive 4 the current had increased to very strong and the big animals said their goodbyes. We rounded out the Socorro part of our itinerary with a day at San Benedicto. After a very brief and murky dive at the canyon we spent the rest of the day at the Boiler, having some more great Manta interaction, this time with one ‘player’ and one ‘dancer’, one interacting with divers while the other showed off its agility with moves that would have made a stealth bomber look bad. A couple of big Galapagos sharks cruised around on dive 4, eliciting some high fives for our divemasters after the dive!

Now on to the Sea of Cortez. ETA for our first divesite is 0800 tomorrow morning, and we’re all looking forward to the very small seas forecast for the next few days of diving on the east side of Baja California Sur. More to come from the Sea of Cortez.

Captain Gordon Kipp

Surface conditions: Wind moderate (avg 15 kts), sea state at Socorro small to moderate (5-7′ swell), air temp 75-80F, mostly sunny

Diving conditions: Visibility  poor at Canyon (10ft/3m), to excellent at the Boiler (80-100ft/24-30m) and everything in between, water temp 76f, current mild to very strong.

I’m the newest deckhand on board the Nautilus Explorer. I began working here just under a month ago, and every day has been filled with wonderful experiences followed by beautiful sunsets. On my way here I was worried about fitting in with the crew as they are a very close group – almost like family. However, my fears were groundless. As soon as I arrived, they began showing me the ropes (ha!) and were very understanding during my learning curve.

In the past few weeks I have seen all sorts of interesting creatures, both from the surface and underwater. At San Benedito, I saw manta rays and whale sharks from the surface, and a moray eel underwater. At Roca Partida, I watched magnificent frigate birds stealing fish from masked boobies as I waited for the divers to surface. While we were en route to the Nautilus dolphins frolicked in my wake. At Socorro Island I again saw mantas but this time underwater – truly awe-inspiring. We also did a night snorkel with silky sharks, which was incredible. Film doesn’t quite pass on the atavistic shiver when you see a 6 foot shark swimming towards you out of dark sea. Upon leaving the Revillagigedo Archipelago we continued on toward the Sea of Cortez, where I swam with sea lions, and saw vultures and sea hawks circling.

Truly it is a privilege and a pleasure to work here regardless of  the long hours. It is more a way of life then a job.
Thanks for reading!
Tess Szostakiwskyj
Deckhand on the Nautilus Explorer April – June 2010

Yellow-fin tuna hunting underwater and then becoming prey when false killer whales moved in on us – Captain, hostess and guest blog – May 22, 2010

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

More great diving at the one of a kind Roca Partida today, despite the wind and choppy sea state. For those of you not familiar with Roca Partida, from the surface it is nothing more than a rock, roughly 200 ft long by 100 ft high, jutting up in mid-pacific, hundreds of miles from any mainland and 65 miles from the closest island, Isla Socorro. It is covered in booby-bird guano and of course the boobies themselves, giving it a whitish hue. Because of it’s small size and location it does not offer any protection for us from the weather, so when we anchor out here we are literally anchored in open ocean. Luckily in these days of communications we receive daily updates on weather from Captain Mike who studies and watches the computer weather models very closely.  that basically decide when we can come dive out here. It has made diving at Roca Partida a lot more comfortable than in times past. Today unfortunately we did have to deal with some less than ideal weather conditions, inevitable from time to time. A fresh breeze from the North West made the seas quite choppy and made getting into the dive tenders a little more of an adventure! But, as always, we prevailed and managed to get in 4 great dives. Again today not as sharky as Roca Partida can be, but instead our guests enjoyed a huge school of yellow-fin tuna, hundreds (or maybe thousands??) of them hunting the food-rich waters surrounding the rock. To see a yellow-fin tuna hunt underwater is quite impressive. Usually the first thing you see is a huge school of fish suddenly scattering, followed by a sound like thunder as the tuna rocket out of the blue into the school of panicked fish. As fast as these tuna can swim, they can also be food for some bigger animals like the false killer whales, which appear similar to pilot whales. With so many tuna around right now we were not surprised to see a big pod of these impressive animals as we made our way back in the tenders after one of our dives today. They seem to be attracted to the noise of the outboard engines, so as the pod of 30-50 converged on us, all onboard donned their snorkel gear and backrolled into the blue to be surrounded by the curious animals. To keep their attention I had all the snorkelers in a tight group and drove the zodiac in circles around them, exciting the false killer whales as they danced and whirled around us for around 10 minutes. A great show!

Tonight we depart for Isla Socorro, where we will spend the next two days diving in search of more Giant Pacific Manta Rays and…who know what else??

Talk soon,

Captain Gordon Kipp

Surface conditions: Wind 15-20 kts, seas 6-7′ chop, mostly clear skies, air temp 78-80F

Water conditions: Visibility good to excellent 20-30m (65-100ft), water temp 76F, current moderate to strong

I dove “The Boiler” yesterday. If you know Socorro Island, you know that “The Boiler” is famous for its intimate interaction with the giant mantas. Sadly, there were no “Friendly Giants” around for my dive. (Although the divers before me saw 3 mantas!) Everything else was perfect for diving today – the sun was bright and warm, so much so that I could feel its warmth at 80ft down!, there was virtually no current to speak of, visibility was over 120ft… – the site was brimming with lively activity. Since I did not have any mantas to play with, I took the opportunity to examine the small things on the rock that are always overshadowed by the giant mantas. I saw a flounder for the first time! I saw a type and color of starfish I’d never seen before! I saw white-tip sharks, moray eels, lobster, box fish, yellowfin tuna, moorish idols and butterfly fish! I saw my favourite fish, the porcupine fish! Being a girl from the Canadian Prairies, places like “The Boiler” are a far-cry from home – no wheat fields! So I always try to seize every underwater moment I can. Although I did not see mantas today, I did develop a renewed appreciation for all things under the sea, big AND small.  I’d say that’s a good dive! ‘Till next time…  Hostess Ashley


wir haben heute einen Schnellkurs in “maentisch” bekommen und hatten tolle Interaktionen mit Mantas – unglaublich aber wahr. Es hat geblasen ohne Ende, die Sicht war maessig – aber trotzdem sehr, sehr geile Tauchgaenge ! Am Morgen hatten wir noch als Zugabe eine Hammerhaischule mit mind. 30 Tieren und der “Maennertauchgang” am Nachmittag war einer Feldstudie der pazifischen Leopardenflunder (Bothus Leopardinus) vorbehalten. Wir brechen jetzt auf in die unendlichen Weiten des Pazifics nach San Benedicto und harren der Dinge, die dort auf uns warten. LG Wir (Daniela und Martin aus Mannheim, Michael aus Idar-Oberstein, Joerg und Steffi aus Ludwigshafen)From Germany

Today we had three dives with Mantas (black and chevron) eye in eye at Cabo Pearce (Socorro Island) interacting with us, swimming up to us, hovering directly over us and enjoying the bubbles, crossing from diver to diver. At the end of the dive they were following us to the surface and seeming sad, that we were leaving them alone, but greeting us happily when we were returning for the next dive. All we had to do was waiting calmly in the water and sooner or later a manta would come up to us and trying to look in our eyes or taking a bubble bath. We saw some dolphins but they weren’t interested in us and the hammerhead we saw was circling in the blue. In the afternoon the current was getting stronger and we felt like a flag hanging on the rope of the anchor. With greetings from a wonderful trip (and it’s going on!) Bettina & Roland from Egelsbach, Germany

50 trips to Socorro Island and I still find new experiences above and below the water to take my breath away – First Mate Log – May 17, 2010

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Good evening! This is first mate Sandy writing, from the beautiful Sea of Cortez near La Paz, Mexico. We have anchored in a small bay on the island of Espiritu Santo for the night, before heading back to the local California sea lion colony, Los Islotes, for some adrenaline-filled diving with some gregarious marine mammals tomorrow morning.  It’s been more than 3 years since I’ve been on a trip to the Sea of Cortez, and there certainly is something magical about it. Some may say that her day is past – that the crowds of pleasure boats and luxury yachts have encroached upon the serenity of the islands, or that the inevitable byproducts of a dramatically increased human presence in Baja California has lead to a negative impact on the local ecosystem – but for anyone whose curiosity may have been piqued by Steinbeck’s classic will still find much to marvel at in the calm, turquoise waters or the stark desert coastline.

It has been my pleasure to work aboard the Nautilus Explorer for more than 4 years now, and although I may be fast approaching 50 completed voyages to the Islas Revillagigedo, Socorro and the Sea of Cortez (in addition to Alaska, the Channel Islands, British Columbia, Clipperton Island, and Isla Guadalupe – phew this boat gets around!), I still find new experiences above and below the water to take my breath away. Diving with giant manta rays, schooling hammerhead sharks, great white sharks, sea lions, dolphins, and humpback whales for many would be more than enough to hold the appeal of a unique job like this for many years, but in addition to all the wonderful natural splendour that we are exposed to in this work, I am also honoured and humbled to have had the opportunity, and the pleasure, of meeting many wonderful and fascinating people, crewmembers and guests alike, from all over the world. To be caught up in a swirl of languages, social backgrounds, political viewpoints (now now, let’s keep it controversy free!!), cultural differences, and unique perspectives, all from the shared common base of a love of the natural world, can be a heady experience and lead to very interesting discoveries about one’s self and the world around us.

Having only recently assumed the role of first mate onboard the Nautilus Explorer, I am enjoying the fresh challenges and learning experiences presented to me in my new capacity, even if I may sometimes complain about having less time in the water! Being involved in the management and planning side to keep an operation like this on an even keel can be quite an interesting adventure. For instance, it wasn’t until recently that I found out that this boat isn’t run on diesel fuel at all. In fact, it’s actually run by a combination of paper, emails, coffee, and checklists. Oh, so many checklists. So many checklists, that we’ve found ourselves having to make checklists for our checklists! Now I wouldn’t go so far as to describe it as Kafka-esque, although sometimes if I’m a little behind, it can certainly feel that way. But hey, that’s why I attended nautical school – to learn how to use a laminator!

The sheer distances and vast differences in cultural regions that we operate in can lead to their own interesting experiences. Around here, just to deal with our day to day work, we all need to speak English, Spanish, Spanglish, Espanglais, Franglish, French, Espancais, Englespanol, and simple pointing and grunting. Hand gestures take on a life of their own. The skill of screaming at people can sometimes be elevated to the status of art.

Boat driving, fixing things that are broken, ordering parts, dealing with bureaucratic paperwork and yelling at contractors can certainly take up a large slice of the workday pie, but whenever we can we all like to find the time to remind ourselves why we do all this in the first place. For me, I usually encounter at least one hour of every trip that brings it home to me why I do what I do. It may be underwater, eye to eye with a giant, beautiful, eerie manta ray. Or it may be on the top deck, on a quiet moonlit night in a secluded anchorage, gazing up at a limitless panoply of stars. Or perhaps it’s that moment of tranquility that occurs just as the last of 24 divers have just jumped off my skiff and dove beneath the surface, leaving only their bubbles breaking the still, dappled surface of a calm day at Cabo Pearce.

It is everyone’s right to complain about their jobs. And I believe that human nature is such that no matter how perfect things can be, someone will find something to complain about, even if they have to make it up. But the moments of magic that occur above and below the surface on every single trip I’ve ever been on are what keep me here, and keep me proud to be involved in such a unique operation such as this. It’s an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and one that will stay with me for the rest of my life. If you don’t believe me, come on board and see for yourself. You won’t regret it.

Sandy Curtis, First Mate, Nautilus Explorer