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.