Location: Gran Peninsula Shipyard, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
Comments: Well, today is Day 3 of our annual shipyard refit. We choose to drydock the Nautilus Explorer every spring to spruce things up and continue our quest for continuous improvement. Actually, drydock isn’t quite accurate as that refers to a floating dock that is submerged to the point where a ship can be positioned over the main deck and then the dock’s ballast tanks are pumped out, lifting the ship out of the water. To be technically precise, the Nautilus was slipped on a synchrolift – which is a network of railway tracks with bogies that are towed onto a submersible platform that is then lowered into the water by 16 precisely synchronized electric hoists with the ship then positioned on top of the bogies and the platform then lifted out of the water. The synchrolift that we use at Gran Peninsula shipyard in Ensenada is capable of lifting a 300ft ship! So a 325-ton ship like the Nautilus Explorer is just a little job for them.
The SOLAS regulatory bodies require that the Nautilus be slipped 3 times every 5 years but we prefer to do it on an annual basis, which gives us a much better handle on preventative maintenance. This year’s refit includes the regular stuff like painting, tuning the props, megger testing of the electrical system, inspecting and replacing the anchor tackle as needed, replacing damaged vinyl board and ceiling tiles, installing new outboard engines on the skiffs, replacing all the pumps, hot water and accumulator tanks on the ship (which we do every 3 years), as well as tweaking and modifying the aluminum cages that we use on our white shark trips to Guadalupe Island. I’m pretty darned sure that our guests on this year’s Guadalupe white shark trips are going to love the refinements and modifications that we are making. The ship should look better than ever when we launch her next Friday preparatory to our maiden voyage to the California Channel Islands. Safe diving.
Weather: Sunny, clear, 76°F at the shipyard.
Water: Water visibility and temperature unknown as I am not keen to dive in the harbour at Ensenada.