Sea of Cortez FAQs

Cities (Information regarding airports, airlines, hotels, things to do.)

What is included with my trip?

  • Diving.
  • Some days will be open boat where you can come and go as you please while other days will feature 3 or 4 dives.
  • Marine id slideshows.
  • Meals with a mix of western and mexican menu items, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages including sodas.
  • Daily room makeup and evening turndown.
  • Linen and towels.
  • Use of dedicated PC with smart card reader and DVD burner.
  • Onboard kayaks.
  • Aluminum 80's and weight belts. 

What else is available but not included?

  • Alcoholic beverages (we stock over 30 micro brews and a great selection of wines and single malt scotches).
  • Nitrox.
  • Rebreather support including zorb, steel and specialized tank rentals.
  • Drysuit and and wetsuits.
  • Gift shop purchases.
  • Crew gratuities.

Taxes & Port Fees:

Booking confirmations include all taxes except for a $65usd port fee which are payable by cash on board.

What should I bring?

A sense of humor, dive gear and a camera as well as casual clothing, shorts, t-shirts and some bathing suits. You definitely won't need rain gear on these trips and one sweatshirt or sweater will be ample. 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 and in the evening. However, please leave your videos and boom boxes at home. Evening entertainment may include slide shows & 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. The vessel is licensed as a Class A liquor establishment which means that only ship's alcohol can be consumed on the main deck, lounge and dining room. You will find that our bar prices are extremely reasonable ie. imported micro brews are priced at USD3.50.

What kind of water temp and surface weather can I expect?

Peak season for diving the Sea of Cortez is from late September until November. Water temperatures range from 86 degrees at the beginning of October to 78 degrees by mid-November. Most guests dive full-length 3mil wetsuits although most of the crew dive in shorties, skins and / or t-shirts and shorts.

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 are usually in calm and protected waters. There may occasionally be some motion for short periods of time but the heavy stabilized steel hull of the Nautilus makes for a comfortable ride. Guests are often surprised that there is virtually no motion on the vessel for days at a time.

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?

Divers will see loads of moray eels (it's not uncommon to see 20 to 30 Panamic green morays on certain dives), California sea lions enjoying the warm water, turtles and a profusion of fish including puffer fish, cornet fish, triggerfish, surgeonfish, pork fish, parrotfish, angelfish, cabrilla, jacks, butterfly fish, wrasses, damselfish, goatfish and barber fish just to name the most common. Garden eels grow to amazing sizes down here and have to be seen to be believed. Seahorses, jaw fish and lobster can also be seen by the observant diver. Hammerhead shark sightings are variable and we have gone for a couple of weeks without seeing any animals and then seen schools of 30 - 100 sharks within a couple of days. We are always on the lookout for whale sharks and dolphins and will splash snorkels with them if at all possible. Invertebrate life is moderate in places and includes stony corals, seafans, gorgonians and yellow colonial tubastrea corals. The topography can be fantastic with seamounts, submarine canyons and small caves. We recommend that photographers bring both wide angle and macro setups.

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. All of  our divers are equipped with a complimentary Nautilus Lifeline. 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?

These trips are suitable for less experienced divers. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about appropriate diving experience or divemastering.

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 1 premium suite, 3 superior suites, 6 shared stateroom, 2 single occupancy staterooms and 1 triple co-ed stateroom which makes for really comfortable accommodation! We carry 25 divers maximum and stagger the diving schedule to avoid any feeling of overcrowding the dive sites.

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?

The Sea of Cortez has been under immense fishing pressure for many years. We strongly support the conservation efforts in these areas and therefore do not allow fishing onboard any of our Mexican departures.

How much of a crew gratuity 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 about 10% of trip cost.

If you are staying in a hotel prior to boarding the vessel:

We kindly ask that guests remember to keep their suitcases zipped closed when not in use. We have found that even the nicest hotels have cucarachas and they would probably love to jump in for a free ride to the Nautilus! Please do not bring any food products or corrugated cardboard onboard.