British Columbia FAQs
Cities (Information regarding airports, airlines, hotels, things to do.)
What is included with my trip?
- Shore expeditions.
- Meals with a mix of western and mexican menu items, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages including sodas.
- Daily room makeup and evening turndown.
- Linen, towels and bathrobes.
- Use of dedicated PC with smart card reader and DVD burner
- Onboard kayaks.
- Limited use of a small fishing skiff.
What is not included?
- Alcoholic beverages (we stock over 30 micro brews and a great selection of wines and single malt scotches).
- Nitrox, argon, gas mixes.
- Rebreather support including zorb, steel and specialized tank rentals.
- Gift shop purchases.
- Crew gratuities.
What should I bring?
A sense of humor, dive gear, camera as well casual clothing for both life onboard and shore expeditions. We hate to say it, but rain gear is a good idea as well as a sweater and windbreaker. We strive to create a very relaxing atmosphere onboard, free of the irritants of every day life. You are welcome to bring your favorite CDs (for quiet enjoyment during meals, evening & sunny afternoons). However, please leave your videos and boom boxes at home. Evening entertainment may include slide shows, beach bonfires & limited video showings. Relax. Have a great time. We hope that you will forget all about "real life".
Can I bring my own alcohol?
Please don't. Guests are kindly requested not to bring alcohol on board. We have a comprehensive selection of beer, wine and hard liquor at reasonable prices.
Taxes & Port Fees:
Prices include all taxes except for a USD65 per person port fee, payable in cash at the end of your trip..
We have found the most cost-effective way to get from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to the boat's berth in Steveston is to use a taxi cab. The rate should be around $26.00.
What kind of water temp and surface weather can I expect?
Water temperatures will likely range from 47 to 50 degrees. Surface conditions are usually calm during the summer and air temperatures range from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius. Be warned that it can rain anytime on the coast.
What kind of visibility can I expect?
40' - 100' except during the odd plankton blooms. The beauty of a liveaboard is that we will move around to stay in "pockets" of good vis. Some of our dive sites are known to have excellent vis year round. Visibility from the surface to 60 fsw may be murky during plankton blooms with 10' of vis but virtually unlimited below the bloom. The invertebrate life is especially spectacular in B.C. and Alaska because of the tremendous upwellings of deep ocean nutrients. The only downside is that those same nutrients preclude the blue, blue water that we see further south.
Will I get seasick?
Not very likely. Trips along the sheltered seas of the Inside Passage of British Columbia are usually in calm and protected waters. There may occasionally be some motion for short periods of time. Guests are often surprised that there is virtually no motion on the vessel for days at a time.
If you are worried about getting sea sick we suggest you talk to your pharmacist about getting "The Patch" Scopolamine. The patch has opened up the world of liveaboard diving to guests who are prone to sea sickness.
Will I feel crowded or that I have no personal space?
No. Our vessel was designed with a separate dining room and spacious lounge as well as a large dive deck and 2 separate sun decks. Clients often comment on just how much space there is for everybody. There is always a corner or deck chair available as a quiet place and we leave the stereo off during the day to enhance that quiet time. Of course, you are also welcome to take a kayak off for your own private expedition.
What kind of tanks do you supply?
Aluminum 80's. Guests are welcome to bring their own tanks as long as they have a current VIP and hydro. See "Terms and Conditions" for restrictions. 100 cu. ft. 3180 psi steel tanks (DIN or regular tank valves) are available for rent (and 16 pounds more negative than an aluminum 80) as are rebreather and bailout bottles.
What's the diving like?
The lushness and density of invertebrate life in the pristine and sheltered waters of British Columbia is amazing. The octopus, wolf eel and sea lion encounters are legendary. The scenery topsides is spectacular as is the wall and drift diving. The diving in the Port Hardy area has some of the best known and famous sites on the west coast of North America. The diving is consistently excellent at places like Stubbs Island, Browning Wall, Seymour Inlet and the Deserter Islands. You can expect to see vertical walls covered with intense and extremely abundant invertebrate life as well as schools of black rockfish, Irish Lords and other sculpins, very large lingcod, wolf-eels and octopus. We generally dive at "slack current" which will limit you to 3 feature dives per day with a 60 minute run time. There is some serious current in this part of the world (up to 21 mph in places!) and it is very important that we dive at "slack".
Will I be restricted in my diving?
Only by common sense. On the Nautilus, we cater to the more experienced diver. We treat guests the way we would like to be treated if we were on vacation and do not restrict divers to diving with a buddy, recreational dive limits of 130 feet, 30 minute dive times and the like. We will "turn you loose" as long as you are suitably experienced and are willing to take responsibility for your own actions.
What do you do to ensure diver safety?
Your safety is our primary concern. With many years of operating experience, we have fine tuned our "safe diving practices" and average less than 1 DCI incident per 14,000 dives. We require that divers do a 3 - 5 minute "safety" stop on every dive, be on the surface at the "pool closed time" and arrive at 20 fsw with a minimum of 500 psi in their main tank. If you conceal important medical information from us or ignore any of the above "rules", we reserve the right to limit or cancel your diving privileges without reimbursement or credit. Our motto is "let's have a ton of fun but not have anybody get hurt". In the worst case situation, we always have at least 20 cubic meters of medical oxygen onboard and satellite phone communication as well as an AED and crew members trained as oxygen providers as well as marine first aid.
Can we bring along less experienced divers?
B.C. diving is way cool, infinitely challenging, extremely beautiful and very rewarding. However, it may not be suitable for less experienced divers or those with poor physical conditioning or dive skills. Divers are required to be capable of swimming 50 - 100' on the surface (in a no wind or current situation). Please email us if you have any concerns.
Is divemastering available?
Yes, group divemastering and dive guiding is available on all dives and we will always provide you with a detailed briefing before every dive. In fact, we are famous for our briefings. Individual divemastering is usually only available by prior arrangement for which there may be an additional fee.
What is the largest group you will take?
We have 2 executive suites and 9 staterooms onboard which makes for really comfortable accommodation for 22 guests based on double occupancy. 2 dorm berths are also available and located adjacent to the crew's quarters. We will not book more than 24 guests onboard. Guest often comment that our 38' skiff is the least crowded, fastest and most diver friendly boat they have ever used. During your dive, you may see other guests in the water but, because of the size of the sites combined with the current, you definitely won't feel crowded.
Can we bring kids along?
Maybe. Most trips are adult orientated with a minimum age of 14. However, some trips are more family orientated. If you charter the "whole boat", there is no restriction on the age or number of kids onboard.
Does every stateroom really have private facilities?
Yes with a head, shower, porthole or window as well as "real" beds side by side, shelf unit, excellent ventilation and air conditioning.
Do you allow fishing?
You are welcome to try your hand at salmon or halibut fishing in season at a limited number of locations from the back deck of the Nautilus, a kayak or our small fishing skiff. The rock-fish population in B.C. is under immense pressure and consequently, we will not allow "jigging" in rockpiles or along reef structure. For your safety, we also require that you remain within visual range of the Nautilus. If you are interested in doing anything more than a wee bit of relaxing fishing, you might be better off to investigate the many vessels that specialize in that work.
Can we kayak with dolphins and whales?
YES!! We have had some fantastic interaction between humpback whales and kayakers as well as snorkels and dolphins. Pacific whitesided dolphins are year round residents but most commonly found in August and September which is the best time of year to get in the water with them. We also see orcas year round but you cannot get in the water with them.
How much of a crew graatuity should I leave?
That depends strictly on what you thought of the service level onboard and if the crew went "above and beyond" for you. Most people leave a tip of USD150 to USD200 on these trips.