Guadalupe FAQs

When and where do I board the Nautilus?

Meeting in San Diego?

Please ensure that you are at the The Best Western Island Palms in San Diego no later than 7:00 p.m. on the day of departure. We recommend this property for pre and post trip hotel stays. Make sure you ask for the Nautilus Explorer rate! Parking is available at the Best Western and is typically USD10 per night.  Please ensure to register your car at the front desk or it may get towed.

BEST WESTERN PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina

2051 Shelter Island Dr.
San Diego, CA 92106

Please ask the front desk for the Nautilus Explorer meeting room in which you can drop your luggage off and use the facilities (if required). We recommend having an early dinner from one of the many excellent restaurants in the area. Our chartered highway coach should arrive at the hotel no later than 6 p.m. and there will be a divemaster onboard to help and assist you. We will start loading luggage at 7:30 pm and depart shortly thereafter for the approximate 2 hour transfer to Ensenada, Mexico to board the Nautilus Explorer. We'll have margaritas waiting for everyone upon arrival at the ship and will be sailing later in the evening. Sailing time to Guadalupe is approximately 22 hours and while it’s usually a pretty smooth trip, it’s always a good idea to put a scopolamine patch on before boarding the ship.

Are you flying into Tijuana International Airport?

We recommend taking the express bus directly from the airport to Ensenada. Once you have collected all your luggage, go outside arrivals and look for the red express bus to Ensenada. This bus runs approximately every hour and travel time is 1 hour 20 minutes. The Corona Hotel is the property we recommend in Ensenada and is located at the top of the dock that the Nautilus Explorer will be berthed at.

Meeting in Ensenada?

Boarding will be available from 9:30pm – 10:00pm. 

What to Bring?

Drysuit or wetsuit, mask, booties (if wearing a wetsuit). Any rental requests should beentered in your guest information forms or  made via a direct request to our shore office ( with your name, trip date, height, weight, chest, waist, inseam and shoe size. You can expect water temps in the high 60's or low 70's (20-22 degrees C) and some guests prefer to bring gloves and a hood or even a drysuit. Captain Mike often comments that he is comfortable and happy in a 5 mm wetsuit...

Surface weather should be "very nice" and summer clothing ie. shorts and t-shirts and sandals will be fine for most of your trip. We always recommend bringing a sweater and Windbreaker/rain jacket "just in case".

You should also bring personal toiletries, your camera gear, lots of memory sticks and a good book. We take great pride in providing excellent and friendly service and will do our best to pamper you. You don't need to worry about bringing alcohol as our bar is extremely well stocked with over 50 vintages on our wine list, 40 different microbrews, 11 single malts, etc. 

Communication / Emergency contact info:

A handheld satellite phone is available onboard with airtime charges of USD3.00 per minute. If a family member, friend or business associate needs to urgently reach you, they can either send an e-mail to: with the following subject heading: e-mail for John Doe, guest onboard the Nautilus Explorer with plain text formatting of the e-mail. Html e-mails will be transferred to plain text and thus, some information and pictures may be lost. OR call our office, toll free 1-888-434-8322 and a message will be passed to the ship via Inmarsat C satellite telex. 

Can I dive with the sharks and how much diving will I get in??

You will be able to watch the sharks from the upper deck of our submersible cages as long as you are accompanied by a divemaster and subject to common sense. Nothing beats the feeling of standing out in the open in 40 feet of clear blue water with 125 foot visibility and have a 16 foot long white shark notice you and then swim straight at you to check you out!! You will be able to get virtually unlimited diving in subject to common sense. Our 2 surface cages are open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Dive Day 1 and 2. And from 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Dive Day 3. Submersible cages make ½ hour dives and run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. every day. We guarantee a minimum of 3 divers per day in the submersible. The first morning of every trip tends to be busy with all of our guests keen and enthusiastic to get in the water and see the great white sharks. Dive times may be limited on the first morning only. Our experience has been that you can dive as much as you want after that.

How do I get back to San Diego?

The ship should berth in Ensenada, Mexico at approximately 1:30 p.m. on the last day of your trip. You will then be transferred by coach back to either Lindbergh Field (the airport) or the Ramada Hotel in San Diego arriving by approximately 6:00 p.m. When going through the U.S. border – please be advised that U.S. Homeland Security requires all travelers on the highway coach to disembark the coach. All bags (carry on and luggage) must be walked through customs and immigration for clearance. The distance is a few hundred feet and we will have carts and a crewmember on the coach to assist you. If you require further assistance, baggage handlers are generally available for hire at the border.

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).
  • Rental gear.
  • 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. Guests are kindly requested not to bring alcohol on board. We have a comprehensive selection of beer, wine and hard liquor at reasonable prices.

Will I get seasick?

You should be aware that we will be making a 24 hour open ocean crossing each way. Sea conditions are usually mild on the southbound downhill leg while the return leg can be rougher if not well timed. Our vessel is equipped with dual Inmarsat satellite transceivers and we monitor the weather forecasts continuously. Generally, the seas only get rough one day before, and two days following, the passage of the occasional North Pacific weather front that has drifted down the coast. We promise to watch the weather "like a hawk" and time the return trip to best avoid any uncomfortable seas.

The Nautilus Explorer is a heavy stabilized steel vessel and has a very smooth ride in a 3 to 4' sea and is still quite comfortable in a 6 to 8' head sea. It is very rare for guests not to find their sea legs after Day 1 or 2.

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. 

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.

How much of a crew gratuity should I leave?

Crew gratuities are never mandatory on the Nautilus but they are customary in this part of the world. If you thought the service levels were deserving and the staff went "above and beyond", the crew would be appreciative of a generous gratuity. For your information, tips on this ship generally average around 10% of the trip fee.

More about the Guadalupe and Socorro Conservation Funds:

It is a tremendous privilege to dive with the great white sharks of Guadalupe Island and the giant mantas, sharks, humpback whales and dolphins of Socorro Island. We do our best to repay this privilege by working with and funding scientific endeavor in both Biosphere Reserves and assisting with patrols and enforcement. One of our current projects is establishing a baseline census of the animals in order to determine how stable the populations are. Nobody currently knows the rate at which the populations are declining and this is essential and badly needed information. Our biggest project is funding aerial patrols of Socorro Island. Each patrol costs $2000 and with the generous support of our clients, we have been able to raise enough funding for 25 or more patrols each year. These patrols are vital to both scientific endeavour and enforcement. There will be a 50/50 draw onboard the ship with fabulous prizes and net proceeds going to the aerial patrol program.