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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.

In thirty five years of life my experience on the Nautilus Explorer has by far been one of the most incredible.

July 21, 2011 Written by

In thirty five years of life my experience on the Nautilus Explorer has by far been one of the most incredible. Darcy, as well as the rest of the crew, has been awesome. Each dive has been more exhilarating than the last.

Mike and his team never fail to impress. I was on the first trip the Nautilus Explorer did to Sorocco. My fabulous experience on that trip enticed me to venture again on another first and book the trip to Isla Natividad.

The native islanders are progressive in their thinking.  For generations they have relied on fishing as their main source of income however they realized that the amount of fishing needed would soon overtax their waters. Their fishing co-operative voted to create marine reserves on their coastal shores creating safe havens for the ocean life to flourish and at the same time pursue eco-toursism to the area.

Being first means getting familiar with totally new dive sites. One would expect that we would have a few duds in the bunch as this was a maiden voyage. However, Mike is stellar at finding amazing team members. Darcy and Jose would always find us interesting stuff to see on every dive. There wasnt a single dud in the bunch. Guitar fish, nudis, kelp eels, lobster, abalone where all in abundance within the reserve. We wondered if the fish acutally knew they were safe from being captured because they were unusually bold, coming out to get closer to us rather than hiding!!

The Guadalupe Black Seal continuously stole the show buzzing by divers head, yanking at their fins or poking playfully at their masks.  The joy was readily apparent on every divers face that was selected for play by these adorable creatures.

While diving is certainly the focus on every liveaboard Mike pays attention to every other detail making the entire experience over the top.

Educational lectures and videos give a diver more detailed insight into the uniqueness of the specific underwater world they are entering.

Staff is at the ready after each dive to lug your gear off the skiff and reprep it all for the next dive. During this time others are greeting you on deck with warm tea and fresh out of the oven cookies. If you need a deeper warmth in your bones the hot tub is just one flight away.

As a chef I have to say that the food on board is another great draw. Continental breakfast gives you fuel for your first dive of the day and a choose your own breakfast is ready as soon as you are upon your return. No matter what you desire, be it pancakes, eggs benedict, French toast or eggs over easy Mikes chefs have it ready for you in minutes.

Carmen our hostess epitomizes every characteristic of the teams that Mike creates: warm, friendly, knowledgeable and caring with a genuine desire to make your trip the most memorable they possibly can.

My husband Justin and I will continue to book trips with Mike and we hope to be first timers wherever he decides to explore next!!


Isla Natividad has welcomed us with beautiful kelp forests, sunlight twinkling through the canopy and blue sky stretching above.  During our amazing swim through the kelp we had a bit of fun with the sea lions, who seemed to think playing with fins was the game of the day.  The dolphins made an appearance or two, and gave us a great show.  Guitar Sharks, sea cucumbers, lobster, octopus, and a plethora of fish rounded out the sightings of the residents of the kelp forest for the day.

Our local guides have made us feel incredibly welcome and are graciously showing us their beautiful dive sites.  We are looking forward to a visit on the island tomorrow.

The ever hard-working crew of the Nautilus Explorer is taking splendid care of us, as usual.

How about I tell you about my week. I just starting working as a Dive Master here on the Nautilus Explorer and it’s been great. The guest’s we have on board are making it so fun to be here.  The diving has been out of this world, Really it feels like you are on a different planet! I wish everyone could see what I have in this past week, Then maybe people would do more to save what we have left in our oceans. I hope we get to come back to Isla Natividad soon. Air temp 22c Water temp 57 f Vis was 15 feet to 30 off but even in the low vis we were finding everything.  surge was there even at depth but it made for some great video.
DM Darcy




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This post was written by Mairin

1 Comment

  • I saw this posting on your Facebook page, and I too love the photos of the sea lions. The upper image is one that I took in December 2009 at Santa Cruz Island off of Santa Barbara. A couple years ago, you asked me if you could use it to advertise a last minute dive trip to the Channel Islands and I sent you a copy for that purpose. However I am unhappy about two things. First, you used it in the blog posting implying that it was taken on a dive trip to Isla Navidad, which is deceptive. Second, you edited the image to remove the watermark which identifies me as the photographer and copyright holder. You did so without permission, or attribution. I did you a favor to help you advertise a trip to the Channel Islands, not to give you a stock photo to be used for generic advertising. I sell photography professional, and I find such behavior disrespectful.


    Steven Trainoff Ph.D.

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