I joined the team on the Nautilus Explorer for a dive trip to the Revillagigedo Archipelago off the coast of Mexico. The Revillagigedo Archipelago is also referred as the Socorro Islands. Linguistically challenge English speakers like to call the island chain “Socorro” which is the most popular island.
The Revillagigedo Archipelago is a collection of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are located about 285 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It takes about 22 hours by liveaboard to travel to the islands.
The Archipelago consists of four islands – San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida and Clarión. In 2016, the Revillagigedo Archipelago was designated as Unesco World Heritage Site and in 2017 Mexico declared it to be a marine reserve and national park.
Scuba divers are attracted to the region because of the resident Pacific Mantas, Bait Balls, Whales, Dolphins and several species of Sharks.
And since it take about a day by liveaboard to reach the islands. Scuba diving the region is quite unique and thrilling.
Before heading to Socorro
In addition to owning a fleet of liveaboards designed for scuba divers, Nautilus Dive Adventures also owns a local dive shop located in the Cabo San Lucas marina. See Creatures offers a free check out dive before you board the liveaboard and they also provide local diving for a reasonable price.
I arrived to Cabo a few days before the Nautilus Explorer liveaboard departed for Socorro. So, I was able to sample a bit of local diving. We first headed to Cabo Pulmo National Park. Cabo Pulmo is about a 2-hour car ride north from Cabo San Lucas. See Creature picked up divers at our hotel and drove us to the dive boat. They have a partnership with a regional dive shop and that shop provided boat, guide, tanks and lunch. Scuba divers like to visit Cabo Pulmo due to the amount of schooling fish and Bull Sharks.
The next day, we took about an hour boat ride from the Cabo San Lucas Marina to dive Gordo Banks. Scuba divers are attracted to Gordo Banks due the opportunity to see schooling Hammerhead Sharks. These are deep dive at the edge of recreational limits. So, See Creatures requires divers to book one local dive before they venture out to Gordo Banks. The dives in Cabo Pulmo met the requirement.
Unfortunately, on both dive sites visibility was extremely poor due to an incoming storm. So, we did not see any Bull or Hammerhead sharks. Since the waters are rich in plankton, we did see a lot of Jellyfish on both dives.
I’ll just have to go back for more diving and tableside guacamole from Captain Tony’s Bar & Grill. They make it under 3 minutes!
The Nautilus Explorer offers a free check-out dive via See Creatures for all liveaboard divers. This provides divers the opportunity to check their equipment and dial-in there weight for diving in colder water and thicker wetsuits. During this trip, I dived my 5mm Tux and my ordinary 7mm wetsuits. Water temperature varied in each island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago. Divers just need one wetsuit, I just like diving my tuxedo wetsuit and I don’t have to worry about airline weight requirements (at the moment).
Most divers using the Nautilus Explorer and other liveaboards arrive a day before the liveaboard departs and conveniently lodge at the Tesoro Los Cabos Hotel. The local dive shop, See Creatures is also located in the hotel, which makes transition from local diving to the liveaboard extremely effortless and comfortable.
It is recommend to arrive a day earlier mitigate any issues with baggage delays, forgotten personal items, and/or scuba equipment issues.
The Nautilus Explorer was launched in 2000. It is about 132 feet long, 13 en suite staterooms and suites. The ship holds 25 divers and crew of 10. Rare to liveaboards, the ship offers internet access at a small cost. However, connection is not guaranteed being so remote. But you can at minimum check email and do light web browsing if necessary. Overall, the liveaboard is well maintained and provides nearly everything a scuba diver will require for a week of diving.
Note: I traveled during Covid restrictions so normal service on board was modified. For example, only a limited amount of passengers were allow in enclosed areas of the ship. So, divers were sorted into two groups for dinning, which coordinated with boat dives. Also, all passengers were required to take a 2 PCR tests. One PCR test was taken before we departed from our home testing site and the second was taken several hours before we boarded the liveaboard. The Nautilus offer divers a full credit if a diver tested positive in Mexico. This was a great policy because many other operating liveaboards around the world do not offer this policy and divers would have to rely on personal travel insurance.
Dive Day 1
Nautilus Explorer Liveaboard
Dive Day 2
Shark Cleaning Station!
Dive Day 3
The Manta Trust has produced a great site which dives into the details of each species of Manta and Devil Rays.
Dive Day 4
Dive Day 5
All though weather conditions were not great and visibility was low, I enjoyed the dive trip. The crew was fantastic and the food was great! I’ll have to just try again for better visibility! And I would definitely join the Nautilus team for another dive trip.