We have just completed our first trip of the 2010/2011 Socorro season, in this my third year as Captain on the Nautilus Explorer. All of our favorite big animals were represented in the past 6 days, the Giant Mantas, bottlenose dolphins, hammerhead sharks, among others. Having a destination like the Socorro Islands is one of the things that helped me decide to leave my previous liveaboard and join the team here on the Nautilus. Before coming I knew relatively little about the Nautilus and her crew, but what I’ve seen and experienced after coming is what has kept me here and will keep me here for a long time to come.
For me what sets the Nautilus apart from most liveaboards I am familiar with are her design and her crew. These two aspects are what make her a ship as opposed to just a boat, or yacht. When I am on the bridge looking out over her bow I feel like she could be 300 feet long instead of 116. She was built as a sea-going vessel and this becomes obvious when you feel her cutting through a big head sea with ease, or just by walking into her wheelhouse and seeing how well appointed she is with navigational and communications equipment. To me though, what really sets a ship apart from a boat is the experience and training of the crew. When you are hundreds of miles offshore having a professional crew who have been there for years and who have experienced the best and worst the sea can offer gives me a piece of mind that is hard to find in my profession. Confidence that no matter what happens we will get the job done, and our guests will not only be safe but experience the best dive vacation possible. Between 5 of our current crew members we have almost 30 years of experience working at the Socorro Islands. Personally I would not trade a crew like that for anything. In my experience a happy crew means happy guests, and that is ultimately why we are here.
Captain Gordon Kipp
Captain Gordon Kipp