Subaqua: Alaska with the Nautilus Swell

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Alaska with the Nautilus Swell

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There were friendships made that will hopefully last for many more dives to come.


Trip 178 has come to an end and I can feel the sadness in the air.  As we headed back to the Nautilus Swell from the final dive, the guests looked out at the mountains.  I could see in their faces their happiness of a great time, but their sadness of having to say goodbye.  It really makes me feel proud that I live in such a beautiful place in the world.  Everyone was laughing in the sunshine, taking photos or the surroundings and of eachother.  We really did become like family on this tour.  There were friendships made that will hopefully last for many more dives to come.  Thank you Nautilus Swell for such a swell time from both the guests and the crew!

DM- Janice

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Yes the diving is amazing, but its moments like this that really makes me really remember why I do the things I do.


We have had a few amazing days out on the water.  I appreciate every single second that the sun is out, and the seas are calm.  Being able to cruise around the Sunshine Coast and go diving is incredible.  We have had some breath taking sunrises.  Especially today! As I crawled out of the crew quarters, I looked out the port side and it was black.  And I mean, black.  The stars and the moon were still high in the sky.  Next, I look off the starboard side and literally gasped out loud.  There was this streak of orange and pink and violet in the sky.  Yes the diving is amazing, but its moments like this that really makes me really remember why I do the things I do.  It makes me no longer feel the need to complain about being awake that early on a winter morning. (not that I complain much anyway)

DM- Janice

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The coming days are going to be Swell.

Dumais 4

Back on the Swell, and this time in my hometown!  The sunny Sunshine Coast, and believe it or not it was sunny!! What a beautiful day to be on the water!

Full boat of mostly returning guests, a returning new hostess and Captain Tim is back onboard..  Its gonna be a great few days! Oh wait no, the coming days are going to be “Swell!”

DM: Janice

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I am sure that after a few weeks of this I will be tough as nails! Strong arms are coming!

Boucher 3

So, I mentioned earlier that tough training is good training- but boy did I not expect an anchor to be that hard to get out of the water! Phew!! I am thankful that the chef fed us lots of protein and carbs this morning! I am sure that after a few weeks of this I will be tough as nails! Strong arms are coming!

The crew are great!  We have a new hostess this trip- and at least this one remembers my name! haha.  The last one kept calling my Renee! Ah, bless her.  She did take care of me though.   The Chef is great!! Keeps my belly full.  I cant believe how much food I actually eat, and it does not seem like I am gaining any weight.  If anything, my pants are getting bigger.  But as mentioned earlier and my strong arms, my shirt sleeves are getting tighter!

The Mate is full of entertainment.  He is always happy and singing and always wants me to join in.  I did only once and the guests complained of a sea gull making strange noises.  oops.  Guess I will just sing in my head.

It was a swell day on the swell!!!  (those jokes will never get old)

DM- Janice- not Renee.

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We hope the Swell can stand as an encouragement to those of us that are reaching the end of a season. Pause, set your intention and make sure you whoop and holler


We’ve been saying allot of goodbyes lately. Being the Swell’s last season on the coast as a dive vessel, these moments present themselves quietly and provide good reason for pause. The Swell is a special thing. She’s provided a unique window into the layers of life that are an integral part of our coast. For the those that have been on board you know exactly what I’m talking about. Waking up to icebergs drifting on by, dancing with a Giant Pacific Octopus, or finning over an ocean floor covered in life are some of the moments that have been a regular part of life on board the Swell. I realize that I’m beginning to speak nostalgically, even whimsically, about the my experience on board the Swell, but take this not as an unapologetic plug but rather as a crew member who’s reflecting near the end of a unique opportunity.

In part, I’m speaking towards the opportunity of joining our guests on a dive and being one of those exuberant faces that surface from bellow. Whoops and hollers often fill the decks of Indie as divers high five and recall the highlights of the dive. It’s almost as if there’s a silent excitement that builds underwater until it’s released in a chaotic chorus of “did you see” and “amazing dive!”

I think the manner in which we approach people and the circumstances in front of us begins to change when we realize things are coming to an end. We become aware, almost intuitively, that the end often marks an experience more than the beginning. So, perhaps this blog, albeit brief, can stand as an encouragement to those of us that are reaching the end of a season. Pause, set your intention and make sure whoop and holler in between.



Nautilus Swell

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I feel lucky to have called the Swell my home for the past year or so and look forward to continuing my diving in our gorgeous local waters!

Dumais 3

My last trip aboard the Nautilus Swell has come to a close. I started working aboard the vessel in 2013 as a Hostess and since then I have traveled from Alaska to Mexico diving with sealions, great white sharks, moray eels, wolf eels and people from all over the world. I have been Hostess, Deckhand and Divemaster. With a few more calluses on my hands from my last contract as Divemaster and a couple hundred more entries in my dive log, I disembark with a boatload of memories, experiences and friends. It is sad to leave the Swell but I look forward to seeing her ply the seas for many years to come and to continue to be a source for many more adventures for people from all over the world.

My fondest memory of working aboard the Nautilus Swell is a tough one to narrow down, I have had so many experiences above and below the waves but I would have to say it would have had to be on our last trip down from Alaska. Our guests were a mix from Germany, the UK and the USA, Divemaster Leeanne was also out on the trip and that day Captain Tim decided we would dive Watts Narrows. Watts Narrows is a fantastic divesite because most of the time the tide rips in an out of the narrow passage bringing nutrients rocketing through for the filterfeeders to gorge on. The fields of tubeworms, acorn barnacles, anenomies, various soft corals and sponges provide excellent habitat for a huge array of life. From tiny delicate grunt sculpins to colourful tank-like Puget sound king crabs, the neighborhood created by vacant acorn barnacles provides accommodation for thousands of decorator crabs, neudibranchs, decorated war bonnets, mossy headed war bonnets, gunnels and much more. Giant pacific octopus are part of the vibrant community and always a treat to see. Leeanne and a couple of our guests found a local GPO, one was that keen to welcome the newest creatures to the neighborhood. At one point it leaped off the reef to catch Leeanne on her leg, her shriek through bubbles and her reg had me clearing my mask with mirth. The GPO clambered curiously and harmlessly over her leg then let go to attach itself to Jorne’s camera, it was a fantastic photo opportunity but Jorne had the only camera and it looked as if he had an octopus scooter it had so thoroughly engulfed his set up. Finally the GPO grew bored of us strange, awkward creatures and casually minced over the reef in search of tasty morsels. I always feel in aw and honored when giant pacific octopus choose to interact with divers. These creatures are intelligent, curious and vibrant. I always keep a respectful distance and never facilitate contact with underwater creatures but sometimes they decide to contact us. This was one of those experiences and it made the trip. I feel lucky to have had the chance to share underwater space with them on so many dives and observe them in their natural habitat. The ride back to the Swell the guests were sharing their perspectives on the dive, laughing and joking. We zoomed through the narrows surrounded by lush green rainforest coastline, over velvety blue-green waters and through low lying clouds that tickled the trees and kissed the water, the sun glimpsed at us from behind saturated clouds and I felt the vastness of our vibrant world in that moment.



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It is my second week aboard the Swell- and boy am I having a swell time!!  

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Training has been tough, just the way I like it.  Learning the operations in 45 knot winds last week has made me prepared for anything- well almost.   There have been long hard days, days where I think I am gonna lose it.  But as well there have been such amazing days that I am thankful for being here.
Everyday is a learning experience both topside and underwater.  New sites, new people and new lingo!!

So far, so good and I cant wait for more!

DM: Janice

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Magnifique ! Great diving! – Pierre, Canada

Dumais 2

Incredible! The food aboard the Nautilus Swell has been the best I have had on any other liveaboard! There has been so much variety. Amy the hostess is the best we have encountered on other boats, she works very hard. It is the crew that make this trip so memorable for us. The crew work so well together, they are a great team and have fantastic chemistry. Tim is a very good captain. He is so open, he is serious but very relaxed it seems and is always willing to explain a dive site or help you put on your fins! Tiare is a great dive master! So knowledgeable and always happy. Jordan is a good first mate as well.
-Lise, Canada

The diving we have done aboard the Nautilus Swell is new everyday. Everyday I feel more comfortable underwater and I see more things. My underwater magnifying glass is getting alot of use, it lets me see all the little things I have never seen. Each dive I learn something new and I see something I have never seen before. I love discovering new things and the water isn’t even that cold!
– Sylvie, Canada

Everything has been great! -Myrium, Canada

Best crew ever! The dive master is suberb, and the chef is great! Magnifique!

The rooms are always so clean! I feel spoiled everyday.
-Sylvie, Canada

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As a comparatively new diver my eyes are beginning to adapt to the world below.


The kitchen Window and an Underwater world Four years ago this September, my world had a drastically different appearance from the cool blues and greys of Browning Pass. I was an art student at Ryerson University in the heart of downtown Toronto and I had arrived on the heals of the G8 riots in 2010. It was an exciting time full of new beginnings and the anxiety of letting go. After seven years working in the sail training industry I had made the decision to swallow the anchor, leave the west coast, and pursue my passion for photography at Ryerson University in Toronto.


Through a series of events that suspiciously fell into place I found myself in a charismatic, victorian style house in chinatown. My accommodations resembled everything that an artistic, metropolitan household might. The ambient smell of patchouli, the black santa on the mantle piece and the revolving door of woollen dressed roommates all seemed to pleasantly add to a certain je ne sais quoi.


In the mornings I’d sit by the kitchen window with a fresh cup of tea and slowly start notice my new surroundings. The funny thing about that window however, is that every mornings it was different. It’s not that things had changed but rather that I would continually see something new. As an art student my eyes were changing and I was starting to notice things for the first time all over again. Texture, form, colour, and above all light stood out at me.


In a way, diving on the west coast has been a lot like sitting by that kitchen window. As a comparatively new diver my eyes are beginning to adapt to the world below. At first Darcey island appeared to be an arrangement of barren, somewhat colourful rocks, yet as I slowed myself down and took a step closer I noticed hundreds of small crabs covering those rocks. They’d scurry and shuffle with an apparent urgency as if my sudden presence brought some terrible foreshadowing; perhaps I project. But even Browning Wall could go by in a flash if I didn’t remind myself to slow down and notice things for the first time all over again. Life, in it’s multitude of layers, is right there in front of you and the only way to get it is to slow down.



First Mate aboard the nautilus Swell

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