Posts Tagged ‘Jacks’

Today I got to fulfill my diving dream of 12 years and went scuba diving with a whale shark!

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Christian Horl11w

Ich habe heute, nach ueber 12 Jahren und vielen, vielen Tauchgaengen, meinen ersten Walhai gesehen!!!

Endlich! Ich habe sooooooooooooooooooooo lange darauf gewartet!

Er war riesig und vor allem wunderschoen!!! Ich werde Roca Partida nie vergessen.



After 12 years of diving (albeit on and off while I was at University due to lack of funds) I finally got to see the awesome and serene beauty of a massive whale shark as it glided by Roca Partida. We arrived yesterday at Roca Partida and the guests kept coming back to the boat cheering loudly, waving their arms with tales of whale sharks, hammer heads, silkies, and Galapagos sharks. Today I got to experience it for myself! Within the first 18 minutes of the dive I saw all the above mentioned sharks, moray eels, trigger fish, trumpet fish, all sorts of jacks, barracuda, massive black jacks, porgys, chubs, butterflyfish, damselfish, giant hawkfish, adorable panamic fanged blennys, Moorish idols, yellow tail surgeonfish, pufferfish, and my favorites, spotted boxfish among many many more! It was really hard to know where to look, at the wall and the overabundance of life or out into the blue at the mantas, and whale sharks. At one point I came upon a whole pile of white tipped reef sharks, all stacked up on each other. Lobsters filled the cracks where there were no eels and spotted boxfish furiously beat their fins to stay in place. Curious Mexican hogfish were very interested in my fingers and filefish kept on coming up to me for a closer look. I had one of the best dives of my life today!

– Tiare Boyes

Trip Report: Nautilus Explorer and the Sea of Cortez – By mathauck0814 on ScubaBoard

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013


Last September my wife, Ashley, and I joined some friends in Cabo for a non-diving weekend of adult beverages and general debauchery. To our surprise, we were able to get in a day of diving with the good folks at Nautilus Dive Tech. While this is not meant to be a review of NDT, I feel I should give them a solid shout out as our experience with them directly led to our next trip. The diving was fantastic and life was plentiful in the area surrounding Cabo and we decided to look into a making a return trip with our own equipment so that we could more fully explore the area.

Just last week we made that return trip, only this time we decided to see more of the sea and do it in a bit of style. I had seen the Nautilus Explorer’s banner ads on this site and clicked through to them (see, advertising does work) and found a 7 day Sea of Cortez charter in late June. They had availability. After a few emails back and forth with a very prompt and accommodating customer service representative we were able to ascertain that they were rebreather friendly, able to boost pure oxygen on the boat, provide us sofnolime and rent us 3L steel tanks with inline valves (which it just so happens is exactly what our rebreather units require). Having the boat provide so much of the consumable product meant that carrying our rebreathers on and stowing them in the overhead would be possible and made for far less anxiety that an airport monkey would lose, damage or steal our machines.

We arrived on Wednesday evening into Cabo and spent a couple of days getting our minds into the right frame poolside at the Wyndham in the marina. Hit some of our favorite local spots. Loaded up on dramamine, sunscreen and random Mexican essentials for the trip. On Friday afternoon we made our way over to the cruise terminal to board.

We were met by the captain of the boat, Gordon, and his first mate, Shawn. The two sherpa’d our bags aboard while we cleared the security checkpoint. Once aboard we were greeted by our two hostesses Carmen and Silvia and were shown to our room. We had rented one of the Superior Suites for our voyage (which have ensuite facilities, sitting area, desk for editing photos and while we didn’t use it at all it did have a flat screen television and DVD player). The room was massive and very comfortable.

After settling in we were shown the ship and introduced to the rest of the crew. On this trip there were also two chefs, a deck hand, an engineer and to divemasters (a total of ten crew for 24 passengers). We set about the business of assembling our rebreathers and getting organized on the dive deck as other passengers arrived and did the same. Shortly thereafter dinner was served, we were given a boat briefing and cast off the dock to head north in to the Sea.

On Saturday morning the boat was anchored near La Reina (you’ll have to forgive me in advance for the terrible butchery I’m likely to do with any and all Spanish names in this post). The divemasters gave a briefing and the gates were open. On our first dive the water was very blue and quite warm (~70’F). The dive sites that we visited were either sprawling reefs with reasonable uniformity in their depth and structure or pinnacles which rose from the abyss to break the surface where sea lions basked in the sun. This site was an example of the latter. Tremendous rock formations, cracks, canyons, etc. On the second dive of the day, also at this site, cold green water moved in. It would remain with us for the majority of our trip.

The dive day routine was easy to settle into. Wake around 6am, come downstairs to the salon where the hostesses remembered how you took your coffee and served you while you heard the dive briefing for the first dive site and the plan for the day. Dive 1 was around 7:30-8:00. As you came up from the first dive the hostesses would take your breakfast order as you got out of your gear (I’m not sure I’d ever eaten Eggs Benedict every single day for a week before). After breakfast there was time for a nap or some reading before the second dive briefing at around 11. The second dive was followed by lunch and sunbathing on the upper deck of the boat. Dive 3 splashed around 2pm and dive 4 around 5. After the last dive of the day we were greeted with our beer or beverage of choice on the swim deck and headed up to the hot tub to watch the sun set. There was a happy hour each day at 7pm and dinner around 8p. After dinner folks settled in to edit the days photographs, have one last glass of wine or read a book before turning in.

Our shipmates were almost uniformly from California (with the exception of a few from Canada and elsewhere) and were very frequently and loyal customers of the Nautilus Explorer boats. They were quite competent divers and had many stories, films and photo albums of the other trips they’d taken on the ship.

On the second diving day of our charter, at a small island called Los Islotes, one of our shipmates regaled us with a story of how he’d once been bitten by a reasonably aggressive sea lion. No one knew it at the time, but this turned out to cast an ominous foreshadow on the rest of our day. After our dive at another reef adjacent to Los Islotes we returned to the boat to find that the same gentleman with the story had been badly mauled by a sea lion. Such was the end of our diving day as we pulled anchor and motored to La Paz so that he could get proper medical attention. His wounds ended up requiring more than 60 stitches and the lacerations penetrated ~2 inches deep into his “love handles”. This would be the last sea lion rookery our captain would escort us to.

Our charter continued north to the islands of Los Animos and on to San Francisco and San Diego islands. The diving improved some over the course of the last few days. The boat was very accommodating of Ashley and I with our CCR units, leaving the dive window open for us to do longer and deeper dives than our open circuit friends were able to execute. The visibility in shallow stayed pretty low in the ~30-100fsw range but opened up tremendously deeper. We had chance encounters with large schools of jacks, bluefin tuna and a single mobula ray and my wife delighted at the number and variety of nudibranchs climbing about on the rocks (17 species in all).

The food on board was among the best I’ve ever eaten on vacation. Our chefs varied the menu quite a bit from prime rib one night to searing an entire tuna “roast” before slicing it to reveal how perfectly rare through the center it was to freshly caught red snapper; I could go on endlessly about the food. Needless to say no one lost an ounce on this boat.

It was bittersweet to pull into port the following Friday and after breakfast to disembark and say our goodbyes. We spent another few days in Cabo at the Riu Santa Fe resort just to make sure we didn’t go home in any sort of stressed state. The Nautilus Explorer is a first class operation and its crew were truly magnificent. I couldn’t recommend it more.

We’re already planning to return in January when the boat sails for the Socorro Islands.

– By mathauck0814 on

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We saw tunas over 500 hundred pounds. My dive buddy Willy and I asked the Captain if we could stay at Roca Partida for another week..

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

 roca partida 1

After one day at San Benedicto Island and three amazing days at Roca Partida the fish & trips group is heading to Socorro tonight. Until now our group got the chance to dive with tons of fish like tunas,  jacks, barracudas, wahoos and many other species. On blue water drifts we saw schooling fish and single predators hunting very exciting! And at the Roca itself the balconies with whitetip sharks resting on top of each other are as fascinating as silvertips and silkies cruising around north and south corner where the cleaning stations are located. Not to forget the countless cute & curious porky-pone fish. At dawn tunas and jacks started hunting and once in awhile a Galapagos shark passed by. And far out in the blue we saw the shades of big schools of scalloped hammerheads, what an amazing place!

roca partida 3

Once again we depart from roca partida, I asked the captain if we could stay there for another week, it was a joke cuz this is a twelve day trip and that would be the whole trip, but I had to try.  It was very good, I cant use words like ‘fantabuloso’ or ‘excellentisimo’ cuz then my dive buddy Willy would accuse me of exaggerating like always (Haaaa) we saw tunas on the last dive that must have been over five hundred pounds and I called them HUGE and Willy said that some tunas in the world would make that one a baby (haaaa) I have a great raport with my dive buddy Willy (anyways, now that we are exaggerating, lets send a quick message out to my girl Jo and tell her how much we miss her [mamasita, I miss yu like the desert miss the rain, I love you like a fat kid loves cake, I wait for you like the dawn waits for the sunrise, I wait for you like the night waits for the sunset, I think about you like a tuna thinks about a yummy bunch of bait fishes, I wish to wrap my arms around you like an octopus grabs it around the crab, I wish to steal you away for myself like the frigate birds stealin the food from the boobies, I have all the blue of the great blue oceans but it is not to compare with the wondorous blues of your blue eyes, when I come out from diving seventy two minutes dives four times a day with my buddy I am a bit cold wishing to have a snuggle bunny buddy snuggle time with you to warm me up because you are the radiator of my heater, and my dive buddy Willy wishes to tell you that he appreciate me and this make you to appreciate me also, and allllso, we choose the color purple on the new nautilus lifeline we purchased because it is the favourite color of my rooooostie boooooobie and I sign off with a wink and a kiss on your cheek!!! ]


As we rounded the corner a Galapagos Shark spied us. June 8, 2011 Guest Blogs Socorro on Nautilus Explorer

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

First day at Roca Partida.  We were very excited about this first dive since at Socorro Island, visibility was not so good. We jumped into the water and the first thing we spot is a bulky silver tip and a big lonely tuna surrounded by many jacks. Plenty of jacks and other fishes, pretty good visibility, and very very good vibrations. As soon as we reach the south end of Roca Partida, two bottle nose dolphins came around to welcome us, very friendly. Also a big Galapagos shark was around, a bit too deep though to see it clearly. We only missed the hammerheads in this first dive.


But to sum up, this is a great place for diving. Amazing life variety and shark seeing guaranteed. We hope this goes on for the next dives/days.




Dr. Maurizio Hoyes Padilla and I were the first two ready at the designated first dive time of 7:45AM and we entered the skiff with no other takers.  We knew what lay ahead, the penultimate diving of the trip at Roca Partida. 


Captain Gordon confirmed and launched us towards the North side of the bunny eared rock pinnacle, destined for the far cove which would start our dive at Roca Partida.  As soon as we arrived, Gordo counted down and we back rolled into the blue.  Tapping me head in positive confirmation, off we went.  Dr. P had brought his tagging stick to attach tracking devices and he went seaward, away from the rock just  a little.  As my eyes followed him I saw just a few metres beyond him a large Yellow Fin Tuna passing by. Over a metre in length, the YFT dwarfed Dr. Padilla but was followed by a school of juveniles more equally matching his diminutive size. We headed CCW around the rock and I pushed on to the leeward rock ledge where we had such great success on our previous trip years before.  As we rounded the corner a Galapagos Shark spied us and passed over the 110ft ledge in the same direction we were going.  As we proceeded down the length of RP, a large Silvertip shark swam at us for a close up view.


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.

Log from Socorro Island – Silvia – our most famous hostess – goes diving with a friendly whaleshark at Roca Partida. SUPER HERMOSA!! May 31, 2010

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Yesterday we left the marina at Cabo San Lucas for our final Socorro Islands trip of the season, another 12 day expedition which will end with 4 days of diving in the Sea of Cortez. All was calm and serene as we pulled away from the dock and I was anticipating a relatively smooth 220 nautical mile crossing south to the Revillagigedo Islands (Socorro). As I turned south and left the protection of the cape, however, a very stiff 25 kt wind hit us beam on and decided to make a liar out of me. Often times off of Cabo San Lucas we do experience strong winds created by the local effects of the peninsula which are not in the forecast. Yesterday these winds made for a crossing that wasn’t quite as comfortable as I had hoped and we did have a few guests who were a little green in the face. It’s really unusual to have bigger seas 2 trips in a row as the pacific ocean is usually quite benign in these latitudes. It’s not unusual to get up to 2 weeks of calm seas. The wind did drop off as we got further from Cabo and the ride improved throughout the crossing.

On approaching Isla San Benedicto we had a great performance off the bow from our resident bottle-nose dolphins and the sea smoothed out nicely upon arriving at our sheltered anchorage and first dive site, ‘the Canyon’. Conditions at the Canyon had improved since our last trip here, with visibility around 60 ft (18m) on dive 1 and a mild current. I’m hoping that it will get back up to 100 feet of blue water within the next couple of days. The hammerhead shark cleaning stations that make this divesite so good were, unfortunately, clean of hammerheads, but were alive and quite beautiful with a lot of colorful fish. Schools of Jacks and tuna were in the area as well as a lone silver-tip shark, who was our only ‘big’ animal spotted here today. Dive two was more of the same but with reduced visibility and a moderate current flowing through the site. So, a relatively quiet start to this one, but with Roca Partida coming up tomorrow and the next day I am anticipating a much more exciting read for you on my next log. Divemaster Jessie has promised us to do her shark dance in the morning which she assures us definitely might work ;)

Captain Gordon Kipp

Surface conditions: Winds around 10-15 kts on location with up to 25 kts on the crossing, seas 1-2 ft on location with swell 5-8 ft on the crossing, today mostly cloudy with some sunny periods, air temps a little cool at 72F (22C)

Diving conditions: Visibility 20-60ft (6-18m), current mild to moderate, water temp 75F (24C)

As the sun sets today in a glorious riot of colour and the ship rocks gently in the swells, I take a deep breath and look back over the last year. You see, today is my 21st birthday. Achieved my Bridge Watchkeepers Certificate, and took all the relevant safety courses (Marine Emergency Duties, First Aid, etc.). I lived in another city for several months for the first time. And to top it off, I began working on the Nautilus Explorer. Today began much like any other day. Up early enough to see the sunrise, pink and gold fading into a brilliant blue. We were in transit to the Soccoro Islands, so I did a quick walk around to check nothing had come loose with the movement of the boat during the night. We began with a dive briefing, both on safety and on today’s site, the Canyon. This was followed by finishing tank and station set up, which is always a wonderful opportunity to connect with the guests.

We arrived at San Benedicto around 1330-1400, and promptly began discharging guests into the water. The report upon surfacing was great visiblilty, lots of fish, but no mantas. When the guests had cleared the deck, Sandy (the first mate), and I went for a dive. As promised there were lots of fish. Moorish Idols, Jacks and lots of Moray eels. A Mexican Hogfish decided he really liked how my hair looked- he was determined to get a bite. Eventually he went away without mishap. We also saw a silvertip shark!
As this is my first birthday away from home, I anticipated a small amount of homesickness – however the day is always so busy and exciting and so different from home, there really is nothing to remind me that I’m not there. Now time to go eat my birthday cake!

Tess Szostakiwskyj
Deckhand on the Nautilus Explorer April – June 2010

The second day of diving in the Socorro Island, today we are in Roca Partida, this morning we have a big school of dolphins close to the island,and I decide go for one of my last dive of the season, sad because is the last trip of the season, but exacting, because that mean Guadalupe island with the White Great Shark is coming…anyway…the visibility was great!!! no, even after five minutes that I was there a WHALE SHARK show up!!!!! That was really great!!!!!!!!he is being there since the first dive of the morning, I”m glad that I went today because I was thinking go tomorrow,so I say, don’t wait for tomorrow if you can do it today!!!!!!!

The whale shark stay the whole dive, going back and forth, SUPER HERMOSO…. Is so nice to be in his world….can wait for my next dive adventure!!!!!!!


Swimming with a pod of false killer whales (orcas) and over one thousand yellow fin tuna – Guest blog 20 January 2010

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The Boiler dive site, San Benedicto Island, Socorro, Mexico

Best experience of my life, swimming with a pod of False Killer Whales….a once in a lifetime event.  The island is beautiful, the Nautilus Explorer and crew are fantastic. I wish I never had to go back on dry land. I will be back, how can you stay away?  Kat

At the boiler dive site on San Benedicto Island we had a school of a thousand plus yellow fin tuna all over one hundred pounds each. Ed

Some of us missed the false killer whales and had to make do with an awesome manta encounter in crystal clear water.  There are are few things in life more amazing than having a manta hover a few feet away and staring you in the eye.

Sten spotted a large group of false killer whales.  I never thought they would swim with me. This was a unique and rare experience for me and was one of the highlights of this enjoyable trip. martha

I’m just getting around to writing about yesterday’s dive at Roca Partida because my job as hostess on the Nautilus Explorer keeps me pretty busy!!   I love it.  This was my second dive of the trip at Roca Partida.  We dropped down to about 80 feet to two hammerhead sharks synchronized swimming side-by-side toward the group.  They were shortly followed by a couple of silver tip sharks swimming straight at us.  It seemed like a couple’s retreat.  We continued on around the rock until we found ourselves in the most enormous amount of fish happily swimming around us.  The relaxing dive ended with my first (and fairly close) encounter with a Wahoo and a school of Jacks.  This was also the first time I heard the humpback whales singing while I was scuba diving- a sure sign that humpback season is here. I’ve discovered the key to this dive site is to relax, stay in one place, and let the life come to you.
Hostess Eve