Meet Mike Lever, a multifaceted individual whose life story reads like an tale of passion and relentless pursuit of excellence in the realm of adventure and eco-tourism. Mike’s true focus lies not on himself, but on the legacy he’s building and the remarkable individuals who make up the heart and soul of his ventures.
Mike began his journey as a young dreamer entranced by the magic of the sea. Inspired by iconic shows like “The Wonderful World of Disney” and “The Adventure of Jacques Cousteau“, he was captivated by the underwater world. This early fascination would evolve into a lifelong love affair with diving, eventually leading him to the frigid embrace of cold-water diving.
In those early days of diving, when technology was limited, Mike ventured the depths of British Columbia’s waters in a patched drysuit, a steel 72 tank on his back, and a J-valve as his lifeline. The camaraderie of those dives, sharing a post-dive whiskey to stave off decompression sickness, served as a foundation for Mike’s pursuit of pushing boundaries.
Diving instruction beckoned, and Mike answered the call, all while maintaining a full-time career as a commercial pilot. But his heart yearned for more, and it was in the 48-ft Nautilus VI that his true journey began. With a buddy by his side, they catered to ten adventurous souls, bunking together with dive gear and a case of beer, forging bonds and memories that would last a lifetime.
Mike’s story continued to unfold, from the WWII relic, the Nautilus VII, to the landmark Nautilus Explorer to the Nautilus Swell, his treasured and babied 1912 converted steam tug, his commitment to creating exceptional experiences was unwavering. Alongside Mary Anne and daughter Emily, they traversed the Pacific waters from British Columbia to Socorro, Guadalupe, and the Sea of Cortez. A deep friendship with Tim Means, the visionary behind Baja Expeditions, flourished during these explorations, leading to a partnership that would shape the future of the company.
After Tim’s passing, Mike took on the mantle of preserving Baja Expeditions’ legacy. The evolution of the company saw Mike stepping off the boat for the first time, this pivotal moment marked the beginning of an expansion, adding more boats, more adventures, and ultimately, more memories etched into the hearts of travelers.
Amidst these achievements, Mike’s deflects attention from himself, choosing instead to spotlight the remarkable team of over 200 individuals who dedicate their lives to crafting extraordinary experiences. From the camp managers to the boat crew, each person weaves their narrative into the tapestry of the Nautilus story.
As the sun rises over the mountains of Baja, Mike stands amidst the bustling San Ignacio gray whale camp, sipping coffee and witnessing his team in action. Their dedication, their unwavering commitment, reflects the legacy they’ve collectively built.
With gratitude and a heart full of purpose, Mike leverages his position not for personal acclaim, but to honor those who have contributed to his vision.