The Gallant Lady by Nautilus is a beautifully well-appointed ship built to provide a best in class live aboard SCUBA diving experience for an intimate number of guests. She holds only 12 divers but on the trip I was booked on, there were only six divers in the group!
Our dive leader, Rey, also known as Manta Rey, is an extremely experienced and patient dive guide who knew the areas we were diving well, even through they were in some of the more remote places in the Sea of Cortez. He would draw out our dive plans from memory on a marker board using different color markers and drawing out the topography as well as the varying depths and currents of each dive profile! Having only six divers in the group made it easy to incorporate divers of every experience level. For those of us with lots of diving experience and buoyancy control, Rey would let us dive our own profile while staying within sight of his slow moving and deliberate leadership. For the less experienced in the group, he was always there to lend a helping hand and even patiently worked to improve their diving skills.
The zodiac that they use to get us in and out of dive spots was super spacious and fast, with two, 250 horsepower engines and a canopy to provide shade from the scorching Mexican sun. The entire crew is wonderful from Captain Gordon to first mate Yann to host Sylvia all the way down to engineer Gabriel who was supporting every aspect of our trip, mostly behind the scenes. Yann took the time from his odd night shift schedule to give me some snorkeling lessons before the whale shark encounter. The food was delicious, abundant, and always available. Chef Julio made every meal delicious and nutritious. Sylvia is the host who always provides the most. She was always baking cookies and treats for us while being constantly attentive and providing drinks, smoothies, and popsicles in between each dive. The last dive of the day we would call in our adult beverage orders from the zodiac that Sylvia would prepare so they would be waiting for us as soon as we got back to Gallant Lady. Captain Gordon planned out or trip beautifully, taking into account local weather conditions to make sure we were able to enjoy every day to the fullest. Gabriel was super friendly and in addition to making sure the ship was running in top shape, he would help run the zodiac half time with Yann working it the other half time. This crew was in lock step with each other the entire trip and the service they provide is above and beyond.
But the star of this show was the abundant and seemingly pristine underwater life that is in the Sea of Cortez. Many of the reefs we dove see very limited divers and you could tell by the spectacular abundance of coral, sponges, fish, and sea creatures of all types, shapes, and sizes. Of the many highlights from this trip the whale shark snorkeling at Bahia de Los Angeles was spectacular. 20-to-25-foot whale sharks an arm’s length away at a beautiful and remote location. The sea lion diving at the most remote island in the Sea of Cortez, Isla San Pedro Martir was so much fun that it was difficult to end the dives there. At one point we had at least a dozen young sea lions showing off to us and vying to be the most impressive swimmer, even blowing bubbles at us to show that they could blow better bubbles than we could!
This 10-day trip was so special and rejuvenating. Nautilus really knows how to put on a first-class experience for divers of all skill levels, with spectacular itineraries that feed the soul. I cannot recommend the Gallant Lady and her crew enough. I feel very lucky to have been able to go on this dive adventure.
Thank you Gordon and Crew!
- Vic Joshi onboard the Nautilus Gallant Lady.