The start of our annual expedition to Clipperton Island with an enroute stop at Socorro plus some trip pic’s. k- April 12, 2010April 12, 2010
On the Nautilus Explorer we love adventure. We cater to experienced scuba divers looking for challenging diving. Folks who share our passion for adventure, venturing off the beaten track, diving with big animals and exploring new areas. Sounds like a tall order huh!! But that’s how we got started diving in northern B.C. and Alaska – nobody had ever tried to run a dive boat there but even after 10 years of Alaska operations, we are still continuously discovering new dive sites, new species of animals and pushing the envelope diving cool situations such as icebergs, large numbers of giant stellar sealions or fields of millions of moon jellies. Just wait until we start operations into the Aleutian Islands. At the other end of the “water temperature” spectrum, we have been exploring the outer coast of Baja California, Mexico and venturing further south to places like the remote coral atoll of Clipperton Island. Heck, very few people have ever stepped foot onto Clipperton and we are the first and only dive boat loco enough to stage trips out there. The adventure continues and the Nautilus has just departed Cabo San Lucas for our second ever trip to Clipperton. Stay tuned for lots of logs and blogs over the next 2 weeks. Cheers for now and hope you can join us soon. Captain Mike.
Also know as Isle of Passion, the French atoll Clipperton Atoll is our main destination for this 15 day expedition. After leaving Cabo San Lucas, Mexico we enjoyed another great transit south with calm seas all the way to San Benedicto, Socorro Islands, where we stopped for two dives at the Boiler. We had a great show from numerous bottle-nose dolphins for the last two hours of transit time approaching San Benedicto, with the dolphins repeatedly leaping as high as 8-10 ft out of the water near our bow as we approached the island. Not normally a check-out dive location, with the favorable conditions on arrival we opted to head straight for the Boiler which has traditionally been one of our best Giant Manta Ray sites. Unfortunately the diving has been slow here for the last month, with only occasional manta sightings and sporadic interaction. The first 4 months of this year’s Socorro season was sizzling hot with animal sightings and interaction but we have been in a lull for the last month. At least things seem to be on the uptick again. Visibility was low today at around 30 ft, water temp quite nice at 75-76F (24-25C). Big animal life again was a little slow, with one Giant Manta spotted cruising by, a couple hammerhead sharks and a few white-tipped reef sharks. After our two dives we again headed south, stopping at the Socorro navy base for our mandatory inspection, before setting out for the voyage to Clipperton Atoll. Clipperton has an extremely rich and amazing history, way too much for me to go into right now. It is home to over 5 million land crabs, a half a million booby birds, and a huge moray population that has evolved the ability to emerge from the water to hunt the beach for the abundant land crabs. For us this week, it offers the opportunity to explore an island that is one of the most remote and least visited in the world. Certainly one of the least dived on as well. We are also supporting several scientific endeavors during the trip including shark tagging and placement of radio receivers to track the movement of Hammerhead sharks and Giant Manta Rays. The recent grounding of a maltese chemical tanker on the barrier reef at Clipperton will also give us the opportunity to examine the damage done to the reef by that incident. ETA for Clipperton is the morning of the 14th and we are all looking forward to some great exploratory diving.
Lots more to come, check back soon for the latest updates!
Captain Gordon Kipp
Diving conditions at San Benedicto: Viz 30-40 ft, Water temp 75F (24C), current mild, moderate surge from the ground swell
Surface conditions: Sea height small to moderate with 13-15 sec. period (very comfortable!), air temp 75-82F (24-28C), mix of sun and clouds, high humidity
Pictures taken by Scott Davis.
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