Archive for the ‘The Boiler’ Category

Manta madness at the Boiler

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Dennis Liberson (1) posted feb 18 2014

Yesterday Roca Partida…Whitetip- and Galapagos Sharks all around, Yellowfin Tunas and Hammerheads passing by (up to 20), even a Sea lion found his way out there!

Today Manta Madness at the Boiler…it was an incredible trip for us!!!

The great Crew and the great Divemates made it perfect! Thanks to you all and THANKS to the ocean, sharing her wonderful creatures with us!

-Klaus and Lisa


Hmmm… Well, for the remainder of my life, when the conversation turns to Giant Mantas, I will be able to say “ you should have been in Socorro in February of 14. The Mantas were real Mantas then.”



I can be a fearful diver and I knew Socorro would be a step up in terms of difficulty from the docile Cayman waters I am most used to. I have been in situations in the past where divemasters seemed inattentive or even downright negligent (ask me some time about Cozumel).

I cannot say enough good things about Joel and Nelson. They made us feel safe, they seemed to be able to keep track of everyone at once, and their constant good cheer added a note of joy to every single dive. I will be back, and in no small way because of the dive crew.



We snorkelled with some humpback whales at Socorro Island until a pack of Orcas showed up…

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Jim's Photos 8

Where to start….  The diving has been amazing.  We started at San Bendicto Island with a Giant Manta on our first dive at The Canyon.  After a couple dives there, we moved to the Boiler and it only got better.  If you don’t like all the big stuff, i.e. Sharks, Mantas, and Dolphins I guess this place isn’t for you.  Then we moved to Socorro Island.  Yet more great diving.  Out to Roca Partida…..  More Sharks…. Diving to Whale Song throughout our dives.

Did I mention all the Octos and Eels?  Topside we spent time watching Humpbacks breaching and tail and fluke slapping.  We had THE BEST Super Bowl half time entertainment … a gorgeous sunset and whales breaching and tail slapping.  Off on a snorkel run and we snorkeled with the Humpback whales before the hunting Orcas showed up following the Humpbacks.  The bad weather showed up after a couple of days at Roca Partido so we headed back to the Boiler for more great diving.

The staff could not be more gracious from Captain Al, the first mate Tavis, Dive Guides Nelson and Joel, Deck Hands Homey and Hernan, the engineer Larry, and  our wonderful Host Aldofo and Hostess Sylvia.  They met our every need and were a lot of fun with which to travel.

-Peggy Coburn

I became a dolphin zombie today thanks to 8 extremely loud and playful dolphins

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Jim's Photos 27

Boiler is the word for this trip!

That Rock is  just on fire!! Seen My buddy Nelson being hypnotized by at least 7 to 10 mantas is just priceless. That been said I became a Dolphin zombie today thanks to 8 Dolphins extremely loud and playfull. I got pictures and will show them soon.
Thanks Boiler.
Great group by the way!  Seattle is on Board the Nautilus explorer and Larry likes to call them CHAMPIONS!
Go Hawks!
-Joel IHO

This is the first group that we have brought out to Socorro and after this trip I can say it won’t be our last. We were very fortunate as we were diving with Mantas, Sharks and Whales, but was most memorable was the Dolphin encounters. Not just one but several different dives. The “Boiler” was the hot dive site this trip, just over and over again. More Mantas then we have ever dove with, which was just pure Magic. We cannot say enough about the crew, they worked together as a team and they truly enjoy their job. We love you Captain Al and all the crew!! Can’t wait to come back again. This is definitely the live aboard to be on. We were able to listen to the Super Bowl via satellite radio thanks to Nikki & Bob. Way to go Seahawks! We shared this boat with the crew from Silent World Diving and really had a good time getting to know all their divers as well. Thanks again to everyone, we can’t wait to come back.

-Kelley & Bob Scarzafava
Anacortes Diving & Supply

If you are wondering what kind of experience you might have diving the Socorro Islands on the Nautilus Explorer, hopefully this post will help you.  Imagine yourself sharing the water with pods of cheerful dolphins and curious mantas.  See them circling by you and swimming closely to peer into your mask.  Feel your heart soar when you make a palpable, sentient connection with them.  Watch them roll, listen to them sing and click, and be mesmerized by their grace.
If you find sharks fascinating, you can witness them going about their business without fear.  See them stacked together and find new ways to understand and appreciate their behaviors.  Watch shape shifting reef octopuses and graceful moray eels slither through the water column while being serenaded by humpback song.
Onboard, the staff treats you to flawless hospitality.  Your every need is met with charm and pleasure.  The logistics of live aboard life and daily activity are clear and well managed, giving you the confidence you need to take such an adventure.
There are few places in the world where one can be out in the open, freely interacting with so many large and diverse wild animals in their natural habitat.  The owner, Mike Lever, has worked tirelessly to turn this area into a marine preserve.   I thank and applaud him for this important effort.
Articulating peak life events with words is challenging.  It is easy to sound exaggerated and over use superlatives.  These words are sincerely felt.  The Nautilus Explorer Socorro Islands dive charter is a trip of a lifetime, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Many thanks to everyone,
-Rebecca Black

looking back on our New Year’s trip – there were dolphins at the window as we were having breakfast

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

tim nakada w

What a way to start this Socorro trip, with the calm weather and flat seas. We headed out at about 10PM from Cabo, straight to San Benedicto. I was more than excited just to see what was awaiting us for the New Year. The end of the year 2013 was excellent with the giant mantas and hammerhead sharks .

We arrived at San Benedicto at about 9:30 at night and were joined by a pod of dolphins, watching them jump in the light that they made in the water in front of the bow. We anchored and the dolphins were still right there, showing off . We were all excited to go diving the next day as the cameras went off against the dolphins, chasing flying fish.

Next morning we were all ready to rock and roll, bright and early. As we were having our continental breakfast the dolphins were all around the boat. What a way to have breakfast! We got ready with a check out dive and everyone was good and ready to look for stuff in the water. The dolphins played around us as a hammerhead cruised along the wall. As I looked up I saw that 3 mantas were above us. Dolphins, hammerhead and manta time . We headed to the boiler for more… 6 mantas there, plus dolphins on day 1. Well, can’t beat that for a first day.

Later on at Roca Partida it was calm. We saw schools of hammerheads, mantas, silkies, galapogos, and white tips.

Excellent trip so far. Will keep you all posted .

-DM Juan

Everyone was quiet, wondering where the humpback whales had disappeared to when an adult exploded out of the water in full body breach!

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

humpback breach watermark


Our last dive day of this Socorro Expedition had us back at the island where we started the trip – San Benedicto.

Sun was shining and the water a beautiful blue for our morning dives at the Canyon. A small group of dolphins were playing at the surface nearby as we suited up for our first dive. Down at the cleaning stations we saw several hammerhead sharks cruising around, including some beautiful profile views of their unmistakable shape as they passed by overhead. A couple of small silver-tip sharks were also hanging around.

On the way back to the anchor line we encountered a big black giant pacific manta, who cruised around and above all of us for several minutes. For our afternoon dives we headed up to the Boiler where we enjoyed two great manta dives. There were at least 4 individual giant pacific mantas hanging around the rock, circling around and over us in their friendly way. One group of divers who swam out away from the rock a little were rewarded with a small school of hammerheads that made a couple of fairly close passes. On the last dive of the day some of us encountered a school of about 40-50 really BIG yellow fin tuna parading past just above us.

In between our afternoon dives we enjoyed our first humpbacks of the season at San Benedicto. We observed them slapping their tails about half a mile from the boat, so we all jumped into the inflatables and headed out to get a slightly closer look. All was quiet with everyone craning their necks to see where they would surface next. Suddenly one of the adult whales exploded from the ocean in a full body breach in full view of everyone! We finished with a cold beer in the hot tub,  watching the sunset before dinner until it was time to start making our way back to Cabo.


-Captain Gordon Kipp


Diving conditions: water temp 24C, viz 80ft plus with some pockets of low viz (40ft) at the Boiler, mild to moderate current.

Surface conditions: Sunny and warm, air temp 28C, moderate breeze

A couple of Giant Pacific Mantas cruised slowly overhead to round out the day – June 6, 2011, Socorro and Sea Of Cortez – Captain’s Log

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011


We wrapped up the Socorro portion of this expedition on May 31st with a day of diving at San Benedicto. An early morning dive at the Canyon in search of schooling hammerheads unfortunately did not turn up any big animals with low visibility hiding anything that might be swimming by. For the remainder of the day we moved the The Boiler and had two very nice dives despite the unusually cold water 19C (70F). The water a was nice clear blue and the pinnacle was teeming with schooling fish like the big-eyed jacks, yellow-fin tuna, burrito grunts, cortez chubbs and barber fish. A couple of Giant Pacific Mantas cruised slowly overhead to round out the day. In the afternoon we picked up the anchor and began the 340 nautical mile transit up into the Sea of Cortez. The transit north was quite pleasant with light winds and a long, gentle swell most of the way up. This made for a comfortable and enjoyable day of relaxation to off-gas in preparation for more diving around the islands near La Paz, Baja California.

We arrived at our first destination, La Reyna, this morning and were ready for our first dive by 0800. La Reyna is a small offshore rock and is home to a small colony of California Sealions, including some very big males and their harems. It is mating season for these sealions and this was reflected in the behaviour of the big males as we watched them from beneath the surface, making threatening "barks" and charging any other males who were coming too close to their ‘girls’. After two dives at La Reyna we headed west 20 miles to dive the wreck of the ferry, The Salvatiera. With a length of about 150 metres and standing mostly intact and upright the Salvatiera is teeming with life, including a school of Queen Angel fish, loads of porcupine fish, grunts, bait-fish, among others. To wrap the day we’ve just anchored off the beautiful Bonanza Beach on the
south-east side of Isla Espiritu Santo. A long stretch of white sand beach merging with a desert vista before rising up into the mountains makes a great place to relax and enjoy the view with a frosty cerveza!

Captain Gordon Kipp

Diving Here is Like Swimming in an Aquarium – June 5, 2011 – the Boiler

Monday, June 6th, 2011


The boiler today proved once again that diving here can be like swimming in an aquarium. We entered the water with schools of Big Eye Trevally Jacks in the blue around the boiler and thousands of colourful Wrasse’s all around the top of the boiler. Dropping down and moving around the nooks and crannies are filled with lobsters, moray eels, hawk fish of all sizes and varieties, and an occasional octopus den. Moving deeper we found groups of Moorish idols feeding along the wall and Bluefin Trevally swimming just outside of us trying to figure out what we were up to. Rounding the north end of the boiler we ended up in an unusually large school of Burrito Grunts. After a fantastic lunch by Juan Carlos we returned for a second dive at the boiler that proved to us once again that thousands of fish in all shapes and sizes and colors would adorn our dive.  In the distance beyond the jacks we had a large school of Yellow Fin Tuna that circled the boiler for most of the dive and just before we were getting ready to head in we had one last visit with a Giant Pacific Manta that swam into our group and waved us all a goodbye.

An encounter with 50 silky sharks within inches of my camera lens. CLIPPERTON ATOLL APRIL 2010

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011


We enjoyed having David aboard the Nautilus as much as he appreciated our efforts to provide a first class diving expedition. David was on our Clipperton Atoll Trip in April 2010 but we felt his story was worth sharing with you today. Enjoy his beautiful images as well!

31 dives / 31 hours underwater….15 days plus / 361 hours and a few minutes aboard the Nautilus Explorer….Diving the Revillagigedo islands and Clipperton Atoll…..All of it PRICELESS!!!

What a wonderful adventure! Allow me to reminisce about the 2010 Clipperton Atoll trip. Boarding the spacious Nautilus Explorer on the morning of April 10, I was greeted like a long lost friend. After stowing my gear, I began to relax and let the superb crew do their excellent job of assuring my safety, comfort, and gustatory needs.

After a day at sea heading south, we were greeted by a pod of dolphins in our bow wake as we arrived at San Benedicto island. Viewing the ‘Boiler’ dive site from the dive deck, we were treated to a mother humpback whale and her newborn, breaching close to the island. Underwater, the sounds of the humpback whale songs were absolutely awe inspiring! No giant Pacific mantas today, but there was a layer of krill on which the mantas feed. Sightings of a couple hammerheads were noted off in the ‘blue’. After diving the ‘Boiler’, we made our way to Socorro Island to check in/out with the Mexican authorities before departing for the two day journey to Clipperton Atoll.


Beautiful following seas and a stable platform (the Nautilus Explorer) insured that everyone was comfortable. This allowed for lots of R&R and a chance to get to know the other passengers. Dolphins played in our wake making for some great photo opportunities during the transit.


Arrival at Clipperton Atoll was with an unplanned fanfare of a fish bait ball undergoing predation by hundreds of boobie birds, dolphins, and sharks! A decision was made to attempt an in-water close-up of the bait ball action, but unfortunately the feeding frenzy was over before we could get in the water. However, lots of photos were obtained of the above water action!


Diving Clipperton Atoll on both the leeward and windward sides was punctuated by beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It is truly fantastic arising to experience the day’s first light with your new friends and have a crew member deliver refills of the morning java on the top deck…Thanks Katharine!!!


The dives around Clipperton revealed pristine coral, interesting night dives, lots of free swimming morays, endemic fish such as the Clipperton Angelfish, leather bass that could eat steel, yellow-fin tuna, schools of curious jacks, dolphins that accompanied dives, an extended open water freedive with 50-60 dolphins, schools of hammerhead sharks that numbered between 20-30 sharks, an encounter with 50 silky sharks within inches of my camera lens, lots of juvenile silvertip sharks, a huge ‘mama’ silvertip, Galapagos sharks, and a shark that even our shark expert Mauricio Hoyos wasn’t sure about (maybe we discovered a new shark species found exclusively around Clipperton Atoll???)! Mauricio was going to work on the correct identification once he got back to the mainland. A brief sighting of a large Tiger shark was reported as well. The guests had several encounters with the spines of the local urchins as well as some interesting action from the morays….right, Harry???




After completing 22 dives around Clipperton, we said good-bye to the atoll and headed back north towards the Revillagigedo islands. After two days transit we arrived to dive Roca Partida. Upon surfacing from a dive punctuated by seeing two 10 foot Galapagos sharks, scalloped hammerhead sharks, and my first giant Pacific manta ray of the trip, we were informed that there was a humpback whale and its calf that were literally hanging out at the swim platform of the Nautilus Explorer! Into snorkel mode we all went, and the mother/calf humpback pair allowed us a special treat with an in-water encounter that lasted over an hour!!!! Thanks to Captain Gordon for knowing exactly where to anchor the Nautilus Explorer!



After reluctantly weighing anchor, we made our way to San Benedicto Island to hopefully have more underwater excitement. The next morning dawned with us at the ‘Canyon’ dive site. Anticipation was high for giant Pacific manta ray encounters and we were not to be disappointed. As many as four manta rays played with us allowing for photo ops as well as gentle encounters with them. I always love peering into their eyes and hope for that special wink!

A glorious sunset with the Nautilus Explorer in the background was the perfect way to end the day and the diving on this trip. We all enjoyed the beauty from the skiff as well as drinks delivered especially for the sunset cruise.


We were fortunate to have some “special” passengers aboard that were doing scientific research. Dr. Jeff Bozanic, Dr. Mauricio Hoyos, and Nicole Crane were all conducting different research on the trip. We were treated to presentations regarding their past and present research where we had the opportunity to gain insight into Great white sharks / Guadalupe Island, cave diving and finding new species of cave life (Remipedia), an excellent manta ray biology talk, a presentation on Antarctica diving, as well as findings regarding the fish surveys done while we were at Clipperton!


There was even a physician on board (me) that was able to extract a rather large hook from a sportfishing boat crewman’s hand that resulted in the largest ‘catch’ of tuna on the Nautilus Explorer (the fisherman ‘paid’ in freshly caught tuna!!!)…much to the chagrin of the other fishermen on board…sorry Harry and Sten!

All in all this was a GREAT adventure that was only possible because someone had the foresight to design, build, and staff the Nautilus Explorer for what is arguably the best liveaboard in the Pacific!

Thanks to Captain Gordon and first mate Sandy for a safe voyage with their excellent navigation skills and ensuring our safe voyage aboard the Nautilus Explorer. The hostesses, Kate and Katharine worked tirelessly to make sure that we never wanted for any creature comforts. Larry, the engineer, made sure that all things mechanical stayed that way. Bayu always greeted us with a smile and never forgot to pick us up in the zodiac after we surfaced from a dive. Divemasters, Polly and Grant, were pleasant, professional, and a pleasure to have in the water during the dives. How do you possibly not repeat a recipe with all the meals served over a 15 day voyage?….The answer is you ask Enrique the chef! The food he prepared was unbelievably delicious!!! And Sten…the Swede…What can I say?….Top divemaster….Guide Extraordinaire….My third time on the Nautilus Explorer with his expert divemastering…..I’d follow him to all the ends of the earth diving!!!!!!! Sten, you have my address!
My only regret is that I haven’t been able to accompany the Nautilus Explorer to her ‘home’ waters in Canada.
Again thank you and your staff for the privilege to be aboard for another fantastic, almost indescribable, and wonderful ADVENTURE…..a unique, rare opportunity to EXPLORE the planet in a way few people will ever experience!!!

David Massey, M.D.
Virginia, USA

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

Guest blog – the manta dove straight at me and I rolled backwards in surprise – Socorro Island – 04 MAR 2011

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Steve and Bud and Juan was our divemaster and towards the end of our dive we saw a giant manta and it played with us for about twenty minutes. When we separated, the manta would go to one of us. At one point, when it was coming to me, the manta ray dove straight at me and I rolled backwards because I was startled. . When we headed back towards the Nautilus Explorer it continued to follow us half-way there.. It was a truly fantastic day!

– Steve and Bud from New Jersey

Today I saw lots of sharks, giant mantas, moray eels, lobsters and fish. It was a very good day.

– Maury do Brasil

Today I saw three or four giant mantas at the Boiler. And then I saw yet another  manta again while snorkeling and they were great!!  I also saw four black tip sharks that were sleeping on the sand at about 20 metres. I video taped them but they did not wake up.  It was an excellent day!!

– Luciano do Brasil

Now I  know why so many divers travel so far from all over the world to come to Socorro Island!

– Guilherme do Brasil

We saw a  humpback whale while in the water, it was one of the most incredible things that have ever happened to me, such a large and gentle animal.

– Mario do Brasil