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Baja - Nautilus Explorer

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Stride into the waters of Baja California from this luxurious 116-foot live-aboard vessel. Book a berth and you can be one of 24 lucky divers enjoying spacious staterooms, a hot tub deck, delicious meals and a well-apportioned salon equipped with a 42" plasma TV, a computer featuring card readers, a CD burner and Adobe Photoshop. No worries if you’re thirsty, as the Nautilus Explorer has its own microbrewery – on what other live-aboard can you find that? – and wine stock. When you’re ready to dive, you’ll have your own individual station to suit up and when you’re not spotting the big creatures; well-trained dive guides are ready with pointers to show you all the small things.

Sea of Cortez - Socorro Combo

There’s so much to see here, in the narrow body of water between Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and the main body of land that makes up the rest of the country. Fall is the ideal time to see whale sharks near El Mogote, hammerhead sharks in Gordo Bank and the El Bajo seamounts. Moray eels populate shelves at many dive sites, while schools of jacks and tuna often whiz by. Whale sharks are also occasional visitors, inhaling snacks in the plankton-rich waters.

Socorro Island

Perhaps nowhere else in the world can divers interact as much with graceful swimming; wide-wing spanned giant Pacific manta rays than this island south of Cabo San Lucas, at the extreme southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. Underwater photographers can shoot to their heart’s content, often coming face-to-face with the beautiful animals. But the manta encounters are only a hint of the life you’ll encounter in these waters. Bottlenose dolphins, drawn to the vessel by the mantas, also frequently frolic with divers and in some parts of the year, humpback whales enter the picture. Like sharks? You’ll get your fill of them, too, with Galapagos, silver-tip, white-tip reef, silky, hammerhead and even whale sharks make their presence known. The Nautilus Explorer offers eight-night cruises here and sometimes trips to this part of Baja California are combined with another region.

Guadalupe Island

Is there anything more thrilling underwater than the rush of a great white shark bearing down on you – while you’re watching the action from inside a submersible steel cage? That’s the experience you’ll have on the Nautilus Explorer’s five-night trips here, to Guadalupe Island, an overnight steam south from a Baja California port a couple of hours south of San Diego. This part of the world is one of the top places anywhere to interact with great whites and perhaps nowhere else are there as many populating the waters. So many, in fact, that the crew doesn’t even need to use chum to attract the great whites. Diving here is practically unlimited each day during the trips, so make sure your camera’s memory card has a ton of space for candids of the sea’s most feared animal.

Scuba Travel Ventures staffers stand ready to assist you with booking berths aboard the Nautilus Explorer.

Nautilus Explorer Dive Packages Start at $3355 per person

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