Is there any information I must submit prior to my trip?Guest information forms can be found here (in Excel or pdf format) if you have not been sent your guest form. We kindly request the forms be submitted at least three weeks prior to your departure.
What is the accommodation like on the Nautilus Explorer?Our staterooms and suites have side-by-side beds, private heads with showers and central air conditioning. We pride ourselves on keeping the vessel exceptionally clean, duvet covers are changed after every trip, towels are sanitized and laundered after use, etc. We hope that you will come onboard and feel "aahhh, this is nice". Lower deck cabins are 88 square feet and have their own portholes, while the larger hot tub deck executive suites are 144 square feet and have large windows, wardrobe and desk and a door to the outside deck. Please note that there is one triple co-ed stateroom available at value pricing.
What kind of food can I expect?Food is a cornerstone of life onboard and we feature fresh and imaginative cuisine with a mix of western and Mexican menu items prepared by our 2 chefs. You can expect a mix of plated, family style and buffet service with lots of varied and fresh snacks and appetizers and a barbeque on the upper deck or onshore. A dungeness crab feast and our famous Nautilus burgers are featured on every trip. Special dietary requests can almost always be accommodated with prior notice of 30 days or more.
Learn more about Nautilus Cuisine
I have never been on a liveboard scuba diving boat before and am not sure if I will like it. Can you tell me more about liveaboard diving?Click here for more information
What is included with my trip?
- Diving, aluminum 80 tanks, weight belts.
- Use of sea kayaks (except Guadalupe great white shark cage diving trips)
- Marine ID presentations, zodiac kayaking instruction (except white shark trips).
- In-water divemastering and dive guiding with local experts.
- Daily room service and nightly turndown.
- Towels, bathrobe.
- Meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages including sodas.
What is not included?
- Selections for our extensive wine list, micro brew beer (over 40 onboard at last count!), single malt scotches and other alcoholic beverages).
- Nitrox, argon, gas mixes.
- Rebreather support including zorb and specialized tank rentals.
- 100 cu. ft. steel tanks (16 lbs more negative than an aluminum 80).
- Gift shop purchases.
- Crew gratuities.
How much of a tip should I leave for the crew?It is customary in this part of the world to leave a gratuity for the crew on a luxury liveaboard diveboat like the Nautilus Explorer if you think they are deserving and worked very hard and went above and beyond for you. We commonly hear comments from our guests along the lines of "this is the best dive boat that I have ever been on. The crew were incredible." Most guests leave a tip equal to 10% of the charter fee. Gratuities form a substantial part of the crew's income. Please address any questions or concerns to email@example.com
If you plan on traveling with your cylinders:The following is an excerpt from immersed magazine - Fall/Winter 2004. "Many security screeners are unfamiliar with actual FAA, TSA, or other government regulations regarding the transport of compressed gas cylinders on passenger aircraft . it may be beneficial to help the security screeners by providing a note with the following information taped onto your cylinders: This baggage contains some small cylinders. All of the cylinders in this luggage are empty. They are not pressurized. The valves have been removed when possible and placed in another bag. This includes all of the scuba tanks. If the cylinder still has a valve in place, it has been prepared in the following manner: It is empty and the valve is halfway open. This means it can be turned in either direction and no gas will come out. I have a pressure gauge to check the tank if it becomes necessary. Code of Federal Regulations, Section 173.115, Page 445 specifically states that cylinders may contain up to 280 kPa (40.6psi) pressure at 20C (68F). To make your job easier and my life simpler, I just empty the cylinders (0kPa/0psi). If you have any questions, I can be reached within the airport on my cell phone at [GIVE YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER]. Or, I can be paged at the [NAME YOUR AIRLINE] departure gates. Thank you for making our trips safer."
Flying with batteries: (We read the following note by Ken Kurtis, Owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co. and appreciated his time in checking into the new regulations that were put into effect on January 1, 2008. Therefore, we thought it would be a good idea to post this information on our FAQ page)
"We're from the government. We're here to confuse you."
I received an updated link for info on the lithium-ion batteries. This one's from the TSA. And - what a surprise - it has some mis and confusing information in it.
So I went back to the original source and called the contact number in Washington on the PHMSA news release. They in turn referred me to an 800 number that's an info hotline for all the questions about this. Here's that number: 800/467-4922 (then push the number 1)
It was clear after talking to the (nice) guy who picked up the phone that he was just parroting the information that's been on the website and didn't really know much himself, other than what he'd been handed. (And he says they're getting hundreds of calls.) I asked him if there was someone else I could talk to who might be a little better-versed on all of this and he said, "How about if I give you the number of the guy who actually wrote the regulation?"
So I spent about the last 20 minutes on the phone with Arthur, the author of the regs and he was very helpful. but he also freely concedes that this is a very confusing area and that a lot of the attempts they've made to clarify things have probably only made things worse.
Arthur also said (as I mentioned in a previous post) that although the regulation technically went into effect yesterday (Jan. 1), it's going to be a few months before the TSA people (don't forget this is a DOT reg that's being implemented by TSA) are trained and up to speed. Arthur said their goal is smooth implementation without hassling the flying public.
He also pointed out that the regs were originally designed mainly for mfgs who bulk-ship lithium-ion batteries. That's why the language is written in "grams of lithium" which doesn't do the consumer much good. But now they're going to apply this to the general public as well.
The easiest way to think about this: If you have extra/spare lithium-ion batteries that you're traveling with, put them in your CARRY-ON bag.
Arthur told me that even though the language on the website refers to "loose" batteries, what it really means is any battery not in the device it powers. And on the TSA website, where it implies that lithium-ion batteries in a plastic bag or in original packaging can be checked, Arthur says that is NOT correct.
Basically, they define the batteries as under 8 grams of lithium, 8-25 grams of lithium, and over 25 grams of lithium. The other way to think of that (which you can calculate from the battery) is in watt-hours. 8 grams is roughly 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is roughly 300 watt-hours.
Batteries under 8 grams (100 watt-hours) - No limit. Take as many as you like (according to Arthur).
Batteries 8-25 grams (100-300 watt-hours) - Limit two per passenger per device.
Over 25 grams (300+ watt-hours) - Not allowed.
Arthur basically said that cell phone, digital camera, and regular laptop batteries all fall under the 8 gram (100 watt-hour) limit. No problems. For instance, my HP laptop battery ends up being about 45 watt-hours. Even my extended 12-cell battery would be about 90 watt-hours, so is OK.
The way you can figure out the watt-hours of your battery is to look on the battery and take the voltage times the amp-hours to get the watt-hours. (Mine was 10.8V x 4.4AHr = 47.52 watt-hours.) If the amp-hours are in milliamps, you'll need to convert to amps. But basically, Arthur said most consumer stuff should be fine. but he did re-emphasize that, to play it safe, put ALL of your spare lithium-ion batteries in your carry-on.
I also specifically asked him about AA batteries (which I put in my checked bags) and he said they're not an issue, nor are NiMH batteries. With my AAs, I also leave them in their original packing and Arthur said that's perfect. He also pointed out that, if you've got checked batteries in your bag, it's a good idea to stand by the TSA guy while they x-ray the bag so that if anything needs to come out, the TSA guy can just hand it back to you. Arthur specifically said, "We don't want to end up with bins of batteries the way we did with lighters."
So that - I think - should be the latest info. As I've said before, it's an evolving subject. It looks like the practical implementation is a ways down the road but that doesn't mean some over-zealous TSA person couldn't ding you tomorrow. And if you've got questions, call the 800 #.