Swim With Mantas!
As divers, we are drawn to the ocean. There are times we want to lazily explore beautiful reefs. But there are other times when we want heart pumping encounters with big animals. That is what this Socorro Island trip is all about.
For NINE days, we will voyage out to the Revillagigedos Islands (rev EE uh hee HAY dose). Socorro Island is the largest of the four islands of this chain. We will explore 3 of the 4 islands. They are home to the friendliest giant mantas in the world. The Nautilus’s experienced crew have spent many years diving these waters which gives you the edge needed for a truly spectacular experience.
See giant mantas, Manta birostris (aka manta ray), not to be confused with the regular and smaller Mobula species which are more commonly seen. The giant Pacific mantas which you will meet at Socorro are the largest of the rays and we believe the most majestic creatures in the ocean. They swim by moving their wing-like pectoral fins, which can grow up to 7 meters wide, but usually average about 5 – 6 meters. At Socorro, these giants choose to interact with divers! They come in very close – less than 1 meter! – make eye contact with you and then swim along beside you – totally on their terms.
What is even more extraordinary is that the local population of bottlenose dolphins have learned to mimic the behavior of the giant mantas. On our trip, several divers actually held out their hand and dolphins would come to be petted. Amazing.
Shark sightings are also very good at Socorro Island with common sightings of Silky, Galapagos, Hammerhead, white tip and silver tip sharks. Whale sharks sighting are uncommon but we did see one on the last trip. A population of 1200 humpbacks moves into the island’s waters in January and you may have a rare encounter with these mighty giants.
Water temps in January is 73-74`F which brings the migration of humpback whales from Alaska come in the thousands. Our last trip occurred two weeks earlier and we did not see any humpback whales. With any luck, we may be more successful this time. It is said that whales can be heard through the hull of the ship. Imagine being sung to sleep by whales.
Beginner to intermediate divers will enjoy this trip. All dives are assisted by a divemaster. Skiff pick-ups are available on all dives. Sea conditions for our last trip was pretty flat but waves can average around 1.5 - 2 meters. The Nautilus Belle Amie easily handles these conditions however, you may not. If you are prone to seasickness, we suggest using a scopolamine patch to make the crossing more comfortable. Otherwise, the rest of the trip is stationed in protective bays.
Why SASS Booked the Nautilus Fleet
They guarantee that you will have the chance of a lifetime for truly spectacular interaction with giant manta rays. Other dive boats visit these islands but only one of them has the experience necessary to get you up close and intimate with these animals.
The crew and staff take great pride in this little ship. It was custom designed and built specifically for this kind of work and kept in tip top shape. No other ship in this part of the world boasts SOLAS certification (your guarantee of safety at sea), stabilization for an easier ride in open ocean, a mixed crew of men and women with decades of combined experience or all the little touches like a hot-tub, wide selection of micro-brew beer, fine wine, contemporary menu, etc.
The Itinerary: The ship set sails at 8pm on January 13th however, we strongly recommend you fly in one day early to assure both you and your luggage makes it to the dock on time. After a one-day ocean crossing we arrive at our first dive site. There are 6 dive days on this 8-night trip and we will be visiting 3 different islands of this beautiful remote and deserted archipelago. We will pack up after the last full dive day and a relaxing dinner anchored in a protected cove for the one day voyage home, arriving in Cabo San Lucas the next evening. You spend one more night on the boat before you disembark the next morning, January 21rd at 8:30 a.m. During the trip, you can expect 22 dives plus a thrilling night snorkel with silky sharks hunting under the ship’s deck lights (unless it is a full moon – the silkies don’t like to cooperate when it is a full moon).
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For this trip, we've secured Nautilus' newest vessel, the Belle Amie. The ship's hull form and heavy-duty commercial grade system ensure that you have a smooth-running voyage. A water level platform aft of the dive deck provides easy entry into dive skiffs and kayaks.
Meals are plentiful; you won't go hungry. Four meals a day are scheduled. A lighter breakfast (then dive) is followed by a full hot breakfast and another dive. Lunch consists of homemade soups, fresh salads, several hot entrees, and fresh baked cookies. Breakfast and lunches are served buffet style but dinners are family style. The menu is a combination of North American and European tastes and also a touch of Mexico. Most special dietary requests can be cheerfully accommodated with advance notice.
For a small ship, the Nautilus feels "plenty big" (or so guests tell us). There is ample room to find a quiet place to read, chat, fill out your divelog or journal or work on editing the images you shot that day - whether in the separate dining room, main salon or one of the upper sundecks. And there is nothing like a soak under the stars in a hot tub after a day of diving or exploration. The main salon also serves as the ship's entertainment center with very "comfy" couches, a great library, a well stocked bar and select evening video showings, presentations and slide shows.
Book early to have the largest choice of accommodation. There are several selections from luxurious premium suite on the hot tub deck to a cost effective, mixed-gender triple occupancy stateroom on the lower deck. A description of each category is explained on the last page.
Nautilus Belle Amie offers a range of accommodations to suit all preferences ranging from a luxurious premium suite on the hot-deck to a cost effective, mixed-gender triple occupancy stateroom on the lower deck.
Staterooms: $2895 plus $144.75 tax
Superior Suite: $3495 plus $174.75 tax
Premium Suite: $4095 plus $204.75 tax
Single Occupancy: $3625 plus $181.25 tax
Prices Include: All diving (up to 22 dives), use of aluminum 80 tanks, weight belts. Use of sea kayaks. Marine ID presentations, zodiac kayaking instruction. In-water divemastering and dive guiding with local experts. Accommodations for 8 nights, daily room service, towels, meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages including sodas. There is a 5% Mexican tax as shown above and paid when the final payment is due. The port fee if $65 is not included and must be paid on board.
What is not included? Flight to Cabo. Alcoholic drinks. (There is a selection of wines, imported and domestic beers, single malt scotches and a variety of spirits.) Nitrox, argon, gas mixes. 100 cu. ft. steel tanks are available for a fee. (16 lbs more negative than an aluminum 80). Gift shop purchases. Crew gratuities. Airport transfers. $65/person US port fees.
Cancellation: All deposits are refundable up to January 1, 2018 minus a $100 administration and service fee. After 1/1/18, all money paid is non-refunded. If we can fill your space, there is a possibility of a partial refund but that cannot be guaranteed. Travel insurance is strongly suggested.
Sub-Aquatic Sports & Service Ltd.
347 North Helmer Road
Battle Creek, MI 49037