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The Nautilus Belle Amie is one of the best luxury liveaboards plying the Pacific waters off Mexico, in two of the world’s great dive destinations - Socorro Island (famed for mantas and a mere ten types of shark), and Guadalupe for great white sharks.
The 135ft Belle Amie was custom built for divers in 2005, and she is the most spacious in her class of liveaboard, with four decks in total and a wide beam, making her unusually stable. On board, the Sun Deck features a bar, a hot tub, a barbecue and large partially shaded area equipped with comfortable sunloungers. One level down, the Upper Deck is home to the six superior suites with full size double beds and en suite bathrooms with showers. Down another level on the Main Deck are a further two premium suites, the largest cabins on board, with queen size beds and en suite bathrooms with double sinks and showers. The Main Deck is also home to a huge dive deck with individual dive stations that leads through to a kitchen area for hot drinks and water, the on-board dining room, a lounge and well-stocked bar. Finally, the Lower Deck is home to eight comfy single or double staterooms and one bunk stateroom for four guests on tighter budgets. Unlike on many boats, even the lowest category rooms have external windows or portholes.
Aside from the facilities, another facet that sets Belle Amie apart is the quality of the service. The staff are extremely friendly, helpful and attentive, whether providing post-dive water and slices of orange or helping guests remove dive equipment and offering round homemade cookies in the lounge. Meanwhile, the on-board chefs provide a constant stream of wholesome and very tasty meals, including both Mexican specialities and international classics. The divemasters and boat boys are also an impressive team, with the boat boys manoeuvring the inflatable ribs to pick up divers in the occasional strong currents, and the divemasters proving highly professional beneath the waves and fun and informative back on board.
Photos by Marcus Wilpernig