Sea of Cortez

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Diving in the Sea of Cortez

The Trip

Fall is the ideal time of year to dive the Sea of Cortez with the best visibility, warmest water and calmest seas of the season. It is always exciting to see hammerhead sharks and they usually appear at Gordo Bank in early September and the El Bajo seamount by mid-October. Whale sharks are typically present off El Mogote and may provide an unforgettable ending to your trip. The colony of California sea lions at Los Islotes are quite famous and will entertain you for hours with their playful underwater antics. Moray eels are so numerous at certain sites that we joke about them living in "moray condos". There are lots of turtles in these waters and you will likely spot large schools of jacks, tunas, lots of small rays, garden eels and species of fish too numerous to count. Giant manta rays are present but sightings have been sparse in the last couple of years (note from Mike - we spotted 3 mantas off El Bajo on October 25, 2005). Invertebrate life includes stony corals, seafans, gorgonians and yellow colonial tubastrea corals. Unforgettable topside experiences may include watching whalesharks choosing to approach the Nautilus Explorer and use the side of the boat as a backboard to feed on plankton, dolphins, pilot whales and the absolutely spectacular starlit Mexican sky at night.

These are very relaxing trips but be warned that there isn't the same "edge" as voyaging out to Socorro Island with giant mantas and sharks everywhere. Sea of Cortez trips are very enjoyable and we liken them to swimming in a giant aquarium with an amazing diversity of animals in bath temperature water. Surface temperatures range from well over 100 degrees in September to the mid eighties in November. Water temps vary from 86 to 76 degrees and diveskins, 3 mil or 5 mil wetsuits are very popular. There is a remote chance of a tropical storm early in our season but is very unlikely. Most days will be sunny with the very occasional day that is either overcast or rainy. The first "Norte" (or north wind) does not usually blow until late November but may restrict our diving itinerary for a day or two if it starts early.

On the Nautilus Explorer we are always "up" for trying new things and we do our very best to provide the most excellent experience possible, consequently, our itinerary may vary from trip to trip. You can very likely expect to dive the wreck of the 300' ferry Salvatierra, Los Islotes, Las Animas, El Bajo, La Reyna, Isla Cerralvo, Suwanee Reef and El Mogote. Depending on the weather and diving conditions and our guests' inclination, we may voyage as far south as Cabo Pulmo, Gordo Bank or Cabo San Lucas.