Location: El Canyon, San Benedicto Island, Socorro/Revillagigedos, Mexico
Comments: It was a great start to the diving on this trip with sightings of 3 different giant manta rays at El Canyon dive site at the south end of San Benedicto Island. Dive 2 was especially memorable when 2 mantas repeatedly swooped around our scuba divers and – just as promised in our marketing material – came much closer and became more “intimate” with our guests than anybody imagined possible beforehand. Still no sightings of Lumpy – our favourite and somewhat whacky leather bass – and we are becoming more certain that an illegal longline or gillnet fisherman scooped him up over the summer.
On a different note, our great thanks to the Mexican Navy for their help today. One of our guests started feeling ill last night and was diagnosed this morning with acute pancreatitis – which is extremely serious and potentially life threatening. A number of evacuation options were considered including a chopper medivac flight right to the boat, which is possible because the Nautilus Explorer has a rated helicopter deck. No options are easy or simple on a small ship anchored in the lee of a volcano, 250 miles out into the open Pacific ocean.
The navy graciously gave permission for a medivac jet to land at the airstrip on Socorro Island and dispatched a high speed navy interceptor patrol vessel to rendezvous with the Nautilus to pick the patient up. The navy officials were exceptionally helpful and went out of their way to help us. We can’t thank them enough. Dramatic video footage of the interceptor coming alongside the Nautilus to follow shortly.
Weather: High scattered clouds, winds from the northwest 15 knots, 8 foot seas and rough outside but low swell in our anchorage, air temperature high 70’s
Water: Water temperature 75˚F, visibility 100ft plus