Nautilus Liveaboards offered an amazing SCUBA deal in July that we just couldn’t pass up – a chance to dive with Great Whites at Guadalupe Island at a reduced sale price plus a 9 day Baja California Peninsula exploratory trip for only $1000 more. Sign us up! The Guadalupe portion was still pending approval from the Mexican authorities but the exploratory portion was a definite “go” so we scrambled to get flights, hotels, and dive gear in order with under a week. Since the exploratory trip started from Cabo San Lucas and ended in Ensenada (for the Guadalupe Island trip), we had to buy a one way ticket into Cabo and a return ticket from San Diego. Even though the border between Mexico and the USA was still firmly closed due to COVID-19, Nautilus had assured us that returning US citizens wouldn’t be denied entry at the border. Flying into Cabo was pretty straight forward with a layover in Mexico City. We hadn’t anticipated 4 different temperature reading stations at the airports in Mexico. They aren’t messing around when it relates to the coronavirus and any elevated temperature reading would have meant we would be denied entry! Our hotel in Cabo had the same instructions – take a temperature reading and any elevated reading would result in a mandatory quarantine. Thankfully we were both healthy and virus free but it was a bit stressful to realize that could potentially end our trip before it even started! Cabo San Lucas, while open for tourism, was a sad state of affairs with businesses struggling to survive with the downturn in visitors. We felt really bad for the people here who rely predominantly on tourism to make ends meet. On the plus side, we enjoyed the crowd free experience. After a few days in Cabo, we finally met the Nautilus crew and boarded our home (Belle Amie) for the next 9 days. What a top notch organization! Even though the Guadalupe portion of our trip was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions, we both really enjoyed the exploratory dives along the coast of Baja California. We definitely weren’t prepared for the frigid temperature (mid-50s and 60s) but the hot tub on the top deck got a lot of use and we warmed up after each dive. Highlights from the SCUBA trip included seeing a superpod of dolphins, swimming with Pacific white-sided dolphins, watching transient orcas hunting, seeing horn sharks (a new species for us) and shovelnose guitarfish, and playful sea lions. What made the trip however was the amazing Nautilus staff and we had huge smiles the entire 9 day trip. After disembarking in Ensenada, our fellow divers made a mad dash to the border crossing into the US but we decided to prolong our holiday an extra 5 days to see what this city had to offer. Ensenada wowed us with its amazing seafood! Well worth a few extra days to get our seafood fix on here. Other highlights here included an ATV tour out to the San Carlos hot springs and a visit to La Bufadora. We will definitely be back to Ensenada since it is the gateway to Guadalupe Island and the Great Whites are still beckoning!
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