My mom and I are just finishing up a week of snorkeling with mobula rays and orcas in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico with the crew of the Gallant Lady and it was absolutely the trip of a lifetime and exceeded all expectations. We started with snorkeling with schools of mobula rays. We had 10 guests and all the snorkeling and scuba diving is done off a large very comfortable zodiac with a great ladder. Even my 79-year-old mother could climb this ladder. Juan David was the zodiac driver all week and did a fabulous job of dropping us right in front of schools of mobula rays. There were literally thousands of mobulas in each school. Wow! Being surrounded by mobula rays blew my mind. We jumped and swam with schools of mobulas more than 20 times that day. My mom is 79 years old and not the strongest swimmer anymore. Celina, one of the dive masters, took fantastic care of everyone but took extra special care of my mom by taking her by the hand and helping her swim with the mobulas. Celina was right there anytime my mom needed extra help. The boat then moved further north to find orcas and on the way, we found a huge school of playful dolphins, humpback whales, and fin whales. We then spent 2 full days swimming with orcas. Again, Juan dropped us right in the orca’s paths and we had dozens of amazing encounters with up to six orcas at a time. Celina was in the water with us on every jump and made sure my mom saw the orcas. Juan and Celina stayed out with us on the zodiac from sun up to sun down every day. 13 hours on the water with us every day and were upbeat and cheerful the whole time. As long as even one person wants to stay out, Juan and Celina would stay and keep looking for orcas, whales, mobula rays, dolphins, and sunsets. The next day, no one could find orcas so we went to a pinnacle, La Reina, for diving and snorkeling. Only 3 of us decided to dive and Celina lead the dive. Fantastic dive! So many schools of fish, sea lions in the water playing with us, and so many green moray eels I lost track of how many we saw. We were sure that our scuba dive was better than the rest of the group’s snorkel adventure but when we came up, the snorkelers were absolutely giddy about what they saw including five huge octopuses. The snorkeling was so good that we all did 2 more jumps to snorkel around the island. That night, we snorkeled with mobula rays again and did the same the next morning before heading back to La Reina at our request to dive and snorkel the pinnacle again. The captain, Gordon, and the entire staff are super flexible and will do whatever the guests want. Most of the time we didn’t want to come back to the big boat and spend time out of the water having breakfast or lunch; so, they packed our meals to go and we ate on the zodiac several times. No one wanted to miss any sea life action and we always stayed out until way past sundown. The chef was super flexible and had dinner waiting for us whenever we got off the water, which was almost 9 pm. Speaking of the chef, the food was oh so good. Everything cooked to perfection. Tender, juicy, and beautifully presented food with amazing sauces. Home-baked rolls, salads, soups, crisp veggies, tasty side dishes, and fabulous desserts every night. The homemade cookies and breakfast cakes were also to die for. Silvia was our waitress and housekeeper and did a fabulous job taking care of everyone’s needs. The entire crew was always right there to help. Even now I can’t believe I swam with thousands of mobula rays and had so many close-in-water encounters with so many orcas. We were so impressed with the quality of the trip, the fantastic crew, the great accommodations, the happy, helpful crew, the food, and the awesome itinerary, that we will definitely be repeating Nautilus customers. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to have amazing encounters with orcas and mobulas. Truly the best trip ever!
- Connie, California onboard the Nautilus Gallant Lady