Refit 2010 is complete and it was the toughest one we have ever undertaken in 19 years in the dive business!! Regulations have changed, more rule changes are afoot, Transport Canada inspectors no longer have discretionary power – maintaining our Canadian “flag” has become a very tough go.
The upshot is that the Nautilus Explorer passed her 5 years International Load Line inspection and lightship survey with flying colours . We have 2 beautiful new staterooms installed on the hot-tub deck including the massive new Emerald suite complete with bedroom, separate lounge, 2 flat screen T.V.s and a bathtub in the washroom!! It became a wee bit of a rush job and the suites were not as complete as they should have been for our first charter of the season, outside decks were not painted and several other jobs were not completed before sailing. But at least we sailed, staff and crew were in good spirits and guests are happy. As always, we will always do whatever it takes to ensure that our guests are very happy during their trip and leave in good spirits.
Unexpected but required tasks that caught us surprise included cutting holes in the bottom of the ship to access sealed off void spaces, removing all the foam that had been sprayed into those spaces when the Nautilus Explorer was built, a thorough survey, fitting replacement foam and then sealing the ship back up again. Opening up all of our fuel tank spaces (which involved removing all the plumbing and piping below the accomodation deck, removing 22,000 litres of fuel, gas-freeing the confined spaces and then cutting holes in a number of transverse bulkheads. Fitting 4 x 8″ scuppers in the main deck. Removing the window in the galley and fitting an approved exhaust and fire suppression system. And so on. I spent an enormous amount of time consulting with a team of naval architects and kudos to those guys for their help. We have always prided ourselves as one of two SOLAS IMO approved diveboats in the world but an experience like this is enough to make one wonder if it isn’t time to move to a less exhaustive level of certification!!!
We’re off to San Benitos and the islands on the pacific side of Baja California. Guadalupe white shark season is just around the corner and none of us can wait to get in the water with our big white smiling friends. Cheers for now. Captain Mike