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We swim with the friendliest giant mantas in the world, and go face to face with great white sharks. Read about our experiences, guest comments and more here at the Nautilus at Sea blog! Plus special editorials by Captain Mike.

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

May 23, 2010 Written by

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



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