Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello from Isla San Benedicto, It's been a beautiful day here: Sunny, Warm, and lots of good diving!

Hello from Isla San Benedicto,

It's been a beautiful day here: Sunny, Warm, and lots of good diving. This morning we had the most colorful sunrise with bright oranges, reds, and a neon blue sky surrounding the silhouette of Isla San Benedicto. It was the island's way of telling us there were good things to come in the day ahead.

Our first dive was on the famous El Boiler. Dolphins greeted us from the surface as we briefed the dive site. As everyone prepared and watched the dolphins we had the song "beautiful day" pumping everyone up on the dive deck. The conditions in the water were quite favorable with visibility at 50 ft., 75 degree (F) surface temp. and a light surge, but no real current. As we jumped in the water we immediately had dolphins and mantas..  It seemed everywhere you looked there was something amazing. We had three mantas buzzing us while a group of 5 dolphins clicked and chirped away in front of us. The dolphins would stall in front of us with the their head up and tail down, then fall to the depths. This game seemed to bring great joy to these dolphins as they lingered in depths that brought us some
hesitation. This carried on for a good 20 minutes. In addition, we had a huge school of 200 yellowfin tuna stream by us again and again. This all happening at the same time left us breathless. Our group looked at eachother in amazement and left the water satisfied with our first great dive of the day.

Our second dive had similar conditions, but no dolphins. Instead, we had a dive filled with whitetip reef sharks and mantas. The whitetips were in their usual resting area, a ledge in the middle of the boiler at a depth of around 70 ft. It's typical to find five or six whitetip reef sharks piled on one another taking a siesta. We moved in close to watch them respire: water in their mouth, out their gill slits. They were cooperative so we did our best not to disturb them and took to the blue. There were large schools of jacks hanging nearby circling like a tornado of fish.  There were, of course, many mantas. We had no more than 5 mantas at any given time, but they kept revisiting the nearby cleaning station. As we
continued our dive, we recognized other manta individuals visiting the location. We counted at least 9 individual mantas on this one dive. 

El Boiler had been producing some great dives today so we stayed for a third. It was another great dive with sightings of countless green morays and lobsters filling almost every crevice in the rock. The mantas were there too with a grand total of 5 mantas. One manta dwarfed all the divers with a wingspan near 20ft. Wow!

We decided to mix things up a bit a had dive four at Las Cuevas. There was no current, visibility was 40 ft., and surface temp 75 degrees (F). We went to check out the boulders first looking for turtles, but instead finding Pacific Electric Rays, Green Morays, and Lobster. Then heading into the cave five  white tip reef sharks rested just inside the passageway into the big cave. We moved to the right as no to disturb them and they let us get quite close for some good pics. We made our way to the smaller cave which yielded two whitetips resting together. These sharks let us get very close and didn't budge an inch. So we observed at a
respectful distance for about five minutes before leaving them in peace. Some in the group wanted to do the caves again so of course we did. The sharks were still there and allowed us to stay in their presence for the remainder of our dive. A nice way to end the day.  

That's all for now from San Benedicto. Tomorrow, we're heading to Roca
Partida and looking forward to another beautiful day.

Until next Time,

Dave Valencia

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Day Dive Report

For our last day of diving, we chose to close this trip with one dive at The Canyon and three at El Boiler. The weather was cloudy in the morning, then it became sunny in the early afternoon.  Water temperature was 73F with the thermocline below 70ft.   We had current and surge on every dive, with 60'+ visibility.  The first dive at the canyon gave us one black giant manta, a small group of bottle nose dolphins chasing bonitos, two young silver tip sharks, and a few groups of 5-7 hammerhead sharks. Our second dive took place at the boiler and it was even better than the last time we were here!  We found octopus, a bunch of moray eels, the resident white tip reef sharks, and four friendly giant mantas that modeled for our cameras.  On our third dive, we found white tip reef sharks sleeping next to moray eels, more octopus, and two giant mantas that stayed with us the entire dive.  On our final dive we had our best visibility of the day.  On the reef we found some gigantic lobster and plenty of white tip reef sharks, out in the blue we found a large school composed of jacks and tuna had a few hammerhead.

Juan Gutierrez

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mantas, mantas, and more mantas at Socorro Island!

Our third day of diving took place at Socorro Island, and it was sunny and warm until the late afternoon when the clouds started to roll in.  Visibility was 40'+ with a surface temperature at 75F.  We had mild current on the first two dives, and on our  last dive we had a couple small waves!

We did three dives, starting at 9:am sharp.  On our first dive, we got to play with five giant mantas for the entire dive!  White tip reef sharks. On our second dive we still had four giant mantas, plus we found octopus, numerous panamic green morey eel, and two friendly dolphins hung around us during our safety stop. Our 3rd dive of the day we had three large mantas, bigger than the mantas we dove with earlier, and they gave us some AMAZING close ups!  One hammerhead shark showed up for a short while, swimming close to a large school of big eyed jacks. During our surface interval, we saw dolphins around the boat, and mantas doing numerous breaches off the bow of the Solmar V!  It was so exciting! 

All our guests had a great time today, and were impressed with our service and organization!!!

Juan Gutierrez

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Buenas Tardes from Isla San Benedicto!

Buenas tardes from Isla San Benedicto.

We had a beautiful day both above above water and below. The sun was shining, the sea was calm, and the diving was great. We started our day on El Canon. The temperature is cooling down a bit to 75 degrees (F). The visibility was good at 70' with a slight current coming from the east. As we made our way to the corner, we spotted many green morays and octopus. Once we settled in we waited for the sharks to appear. First were a few singles overhead, then about ten minutes into the dive we saw a nice group of 20-30 schooling. The approached us slowly and made their way above our group and away. The current was quite strong so we watched a while longer while a few more single hammerheads stopped by and made our way back to the boat spotting more eels along the way. Not a bad way to get the day started.

Before our second dive, we watched the local pod of 20 dolphins playing on the surface around the boat. A good omen for the dive to come. The temp. remained the same, but the current changed to a more northern flow. We headed to the corner and within a minute of starting the dive, we had dolphins! A group of 8 dolphins swam over to the group and circled us, posed for a few pics and made their way back to the blue. At the corner there were more hammerheads, but this time a bit skittish. The group made our way to the blue and the current changed yet again. It started moving the opposite direction. So we drifted in the blue, spotting a few
hammerheads here and there. After 10 minutes of drifting, a huge school of 50 hammerheads filled the blue in fron of us. They made three passes, just long enough for us to appreciate the size of the school. 
Dive three was located at El Boiler. A strong current accompamied the 50' visibility. On one side of the rock we were protected and checked out the whitetip sharks sleeping. At closer inspection of the rock, hundreds of lobsters filled each crevice. At the western end, we saw a large school of jacks. But behind the school were two mantas feeding together. They were somersaulting together in the plankton rich water. At the eastern end of the rock, we found a manta at the cleaning station. We watched on as the bright orange Clarion Angelfish jumped on to pick off parasites. 
Similar conditions were experienced during dive four. Unfortunately, no manta sightings on this one. In addition to the Tropical Flounder, octopus, Green Morays, and whitetip sharks we did have a good sightins of two hammerheads swim through a aggregation of creolefish. This is our first full day of diving and a great start of a great trip to come. 

Dave Valencia

Friday, December 9, 2011

We had a Mantastic Day!

We are headed back to Cabo, but we left a lot of bubbles and happy memories of Revillagigedo!

Our last day of this trip was so good we chose to spend all day at El Boiler and it was the right choice!  We did four dives and each one was great!  

On the first dive, we had a school of jacks, 7 giant mantas, and 8 dolphins that stayed with us the entire dive! One curious hammerhead shark swam in between the dolphins and our divers!

The second dive was even better with 5 mantas that kept our attention the entire dives.  4 dolphins swimming between mantas right next to them, and 7 scalloped hammer heads came very close!

When we dropped in for the third dive, we still had 5 mantas!  A school of over 100 panpanos and one big hammerhead looking that was very interested in us!

On our fourth and final dive of the trip, 6 mantas were waiting for us to come play with them! Everywhere we turned there were mantas!

We had a mantastic day!  Even better, “Mantastic hammering trip”

Everyone is so excited, so happy, and saying how wonderful this trip was and how their expectations were 
super exceeded.

The visibility was at least 90', water temperature was 75F, and we had some surge, but not much current. 

Juan Gutierrez

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another Beautiful Day at San Benedicto

Buen Dia from Solmar V,

It's been a good day of diving here in San Benedicto. We started things off with a beautiful dive at El Canon. The water is getting a little cooler with a surface temp. of 75 degrees (F) and beautiful visibility at 70-80 ft. Upon making our way to the corner there was a slight current heading south. This current is not ideal for hammerhead action, but we were still hopeful. Within minutes we had a small group of three hammerheads manifest from the blue. One behind the other. We had a few glimpses of single hammerheads here and there with a total of ten sightings for the dive. The highlight was while sitting at the corner waiting for sharks, we had two bottlenose dolphins show up to play. They were very friendly swimming circles around us, posing for pics, and chasing jacks. It was a great show and lasted some 15 minutes. A nice dive to start off the day.

El Canon was to be dive two. The visibility was still nice at 60', but the current changed slightly heading east. We sought out for more hammerhead sightings. The first two groups headed to a corner to the north and had a nice school of 20-30 hammerheads. They stuck around for about 5 minutes. After that is was pretty quiet so we enjoyed the many jacks and creolefish.

Dive three was again at El Canon. The visibilty was still very good and only a slight current going east. This dive was spent spotting the many green morays, fine spotted morays, lobster, and scorpionfish. We fished the dive with a gentle drift with the current to be picked up by the pangas. A nice relaxing dive.
Our final dive of the day was at El Boiler. We started the dive on the pinnacle just east of the boiler. At 70' this pinnacle is covered in life.. Jacks and burrito grunts congregate here in large schools. We also spotted two octopus hunting and a colorful tropical flounder. From there we headed to the west side of the boiler in search of mantas. We immediately spotted a huge school of a hundred or so jacks. The school surrounded us and through the school came the manta. Then another manta swam closer to join the fun. We sat there enjoying the company of the two chevron mantas and a huge school of jacks for nearly ten minutes. To end our dive we headed to the cleaning station. In the shallow area of the cleaning station there were lots of whitetip sharks, lobster, and green morays. A black manta then apparated from afar and visited us and the cleaning station. This
manta was the same one we saw earlier this week. We watched as it swam circles around the group and got cleaned by the bright orange clarion angelfish. Another beautiful day here in San Benedicto.

Dave Valencia

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Beautiful Day at San Benedicto Island

Greetings from the Solmar V,

We woke up this morning to a beautiful day here on San Benedicto Island. The sun was out and there was a group of about 20-30 false killer whales playing nearby. Hoping to catch a glimpse of them underwater, we headed into the water for our first dive at El Canon. The visibility was gorgeous at 100'. There was quite a bit of current coming from the south and the water temp was a refreshing 75 degrees (F). We headed to the corner, even though the current was not coming from the ideal direction, hoping to see a few hammerheads. In the first minutes of our dive, we were buzzed by three curious hammerheads. At the corner, a school of a hundred or more yellowfin tuna swam overhead. All the usual Jacks, creolefish, and triggers were there, but the big school of hammerheads must have been taking a siesta. We instead took a tour of the reef spotting many green morays, lobsters, and even noticed two octopus hunting in unison. At the end of the dive during the safety stop, three dolphins swam through the group to say hi and went on with their day.

Dive two was also at El Canon with a current coming from the north west. The temp. maintained at 75 degrees and the visibility was a stunning 100'+. Just below the boat we spotted more morays, octopus, and lobster. We even spotted a whitetip shark searching for a place to nap. We headed into the current a little looking for some sharks and were rewarded with sightings of three silvertips. We enjoyed the rest of our dive drifting with the current headed back to the Solmar V on the panga.

The Solmar V headed to west side of san benedicto on our way to the Boiler for dive three. On the way, we ran into a huge pod of False Killer Whales.. There must have been at least 50 individuals this spread out group. The bounded next to the boat and were bow riding long enough for everyone to get some video and photos. The conditions were excellent at the Boiler. The visibility was 80'+, temp. was 73 degrees (F), and no current. Immediately, there were mantas on the cleaning station. At first, only two, then three....before we knew it five mantas were circling. There was no need to swm anywhere else since everythign was happening right there. So we stayed on the cleaning station the entire dive.

Dive four was an encore at the Boiler. When we jumped in ther was only one lone manta circling the cleaning station. They must have gotten bored waiting for us while we were on our surface interval. So I took my group to the northwest corner of the rock. We headed into the blue hoping for something, when we saw a shadow of a huge school of Jacks. This school must have had 500 Jacks swimming in a tight school and then they swam toward us. To the left, right, and above they went, then circling. Adil, our videographer, got some great video. Then we headed slowly back to the boiler and three mantas were there on the northwest side. We spent the
rest of our dive hypnotized by each flap pf their "wings" (pectoral fins)..
It was a top day on San Benedicto.


Dave Valencia

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Greetings from Roca Partida

Greetings from Roca Partida!

What an excellent day of diving. We saw conditions improve greatly from
yesterday with 50' visibility on the first dive and 80 degrees (F) on the
surface. There was some current left over from yesterday coming from the
NE. The first dive was a shark exhibition as soon as we hit the water we
had Silvertip and Galapagos Sharks weaving in and out of the Creolefish.
There were just too many to count. The outside of the Creolefish was busy
too with a seemingly endless school of Yellowfin Tuna running by for as
long as we waited. We moved to the South side of Roca Partida where we
were treated to a school of 20 hammerheads. Some Silvertips and Galapagos
cruised with them as well. We watched as the school came around and
around. The fifth and final pass was the best as the school of hammerheads
emerged from below, some to the left and some to the right. We were
surrounded! We finished our dive with a brief look at Roca, spotting
numerous green morays and whitetip sharks. We even stopped to watch a few
barberfish do their thing and the many cleaning stations.

Dive two showed good visibility at 60'+ and a continued current, though
less, from the NE. We started our dive shallow checking out the many
ledges on Roca. This is the place whitetip sharks like to nap during the
day. A peak over the first ledge showed 10 whitetip sharks all snuggled
up. The next ledge an equal amount. The last and largest ledge had 30 or
more whitetip sharks. From there our group ventured back to the south
point to see if we could find the hammerheads again. We saw many
Silvertips and Galapagos sharks on the way. Sure enough we watched as a
group of 20 hammerheads came schooling by. They gave us three great passes
before they slowly went about their day. The current took us to the north
point of Roca and we watched as the Galapagos sharks and Silvertips
passed. Again, too many to count and a great way to end our second dive.

Our third dive was the best of the day. Visibility improved to 70'+ and
the current picked up, still coming from the NE. We started with checking
out  the ledges of whitetips many. The group
agreed before hand to go 3 for 3 with hammerheads so we went south again.
Within minutes we were on a small school of 5. We waited and a few single
hammerheads here and there, some Galapagos sharks. Then another small
school of 5 hammerheads. We made our way back to Roca, which took some
time given the current. We enjoyed the cleaning stations and watched the
Silvertips pass by ever so closely. Finally at the North  point, the
current was strong. We saw 5 Galapagos swimming in a line, then 5
Silvertips they started swimming very quickly in circles as if searching
for something hiding in the reef. We looked up and saw a school of 10
hammerheads under a bait ball of hundreds of skipjack tuna. The school of
hammerheads made a very close pass as we began to drift with the current.
The hammerheads left, but the baitball remained as we were engulfed by the
massive school. On all sides of us for the next 5 minutes the school went
around and around. What a way to end our dives here at Roca Partida.

Dive Instructor
Dave Valencia

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

San Benedicto Dive Report

Bon Dia,

We have a very diverse group aboard this week, but the majority of our
guests this week are Italian. So we are learning quickly. Hopefully, our
guests are quickly learning that the diving here in San Benedicto is

We woke up this morning on San Benedicto Island at El Canon with a dozen
dolphins swimming around the boat. Unfortunately, by the time we jumped in
they decided they had better things to do. The water was nice at 80
degrees, a slight current coming from the southeast, and beautiful
visibility at 60-70 ft. We headed towards the corner and immediately saw
hammerheads. At first, we could make out only a small group of 10-20. It
wasn't lo9ng before a constant stream of 100+ hammerheads mesmerized our
divers. We watched for over 20 minutes. We slowly headed in the direction
of the boat catching glimpses of green morays, octopus, and lobster. We
even saw a large yellowfin tuna darting nearby.

Dive two at El Canon had a lot of expectations after our first. This time
we knew where to go and the condtions continued tobe favorable. The water
continued to be at 79 degrees on the surface and this time little or no
current. At the corner, the hammerheads didn't disappoint. We had a
massive group of 100+ hammerheads pass by all our divers. It was amazing!
We enjoyed a little more time with the sharks before wearing out our no
deco time welcome at made our way back to the boat with more sightings of
Green Morays, octopus, and lobster.

We had such luck with the hammerheads at El Canon, we decided to stay for
more. Our third dive, still had great visibility at 60-70 ft. and little
or no current. We swam to the corner with a welcome from two very large
hammerheads swimmng in cirles getting cleaned by the jacks. We waited fo a
few minutes and saw another small group of five hammerheads go by. We
decided to move a little ways from the corner expecting to see more
hammerheads when two mantas glided by over head. One manta parted company
with the other and began circling our group. Soon the other two groups of
divers joined and we wacthed the manta pass everyone by again and again
for the entire dive. It was great!

Our last dive at El Canon showed an increase in current and a stark
decrease in visibility to about 10ft. We were amazed at the number of sea
urchins that we never paid atrtention to. Nearly a hundred sea cucumbers
on many different varieties dotted the ground and the number of plankton
was almost too much to bare.


Dave Valencia

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Beautiful Day at Roca Partida

Today was another beautiful day at Roca Partida. The wind calmed down and
the sun came out for a very comfortable day out here. At first light, we
were happy to see dolphins bounding in the sunrise. As we made our way to
the dive site in the pangas, the dolphins followed pursuit. Bowriding all
the way to the dive site, they seemed to wait for us to get in the water.
When we jumped in, 12 dolphins greeted us. They swam circles around us for
the first five minutes. A few dolphins stayed close, but the rest
continued on with their morning hunt. The visibility was good at 80 feet
and there was current from the north. My group let the current take us to
the southern end of Roca Partida where the Creole fish were thick. On the
outside were multiple schools of skip jack tuna. The huge schools seemed
to boil out of the blue. Guarding the school closely, were 20 to 30 silky
sharks. Then a small school of 15 hammerheads came from the blue. They
schooled with 10 more galapagos sharks. The sharks circled in front of us
three times but kept some distance. We started our ascent to our safety
stop and watched an endless school of yellowfin tuna run by us. It seemed
to last the entirety of our stop. In that school were a handful of giant
yellowfin (100lb.+). Wow!

Our second dive showed even better conditions. We enjoyed 80'+ visibilty
and less current (still from the north). The Creole fish were thickest on
the western side of Roca Partida so we tried to stay in the vicinity. We
stayed in one spot and watched the show. The skip jack tuna were swimming
erraticly and seemed to be spawning. This was driving the silkies mad and
they tried to keep up with hundreds of fish. Galapagos sharks and
Silvertips were cruising below the schools. It was non-stop sharks from
beginnig to end.

Our third and last dive at Roca seemed the best of the day. Sharks,
sharks, and more sharks. We dropped in on the Northern side of the rock at
about 95 ft. We were surrounded by sharks of all types and close! At least
20 Galapagos sharks, 30 silkies, 10 Silvertips, and countless Whitetips
continued to swim around us for the first 10 minutes of our dive. The fish
were thick too. It was beautiful. We waited for more to happen in the blue
and enjoyed the many sharks pass us by. We took our time going up and
spent lots of time examining the rock. We found at least 10 green morays,
countless groups of whitetips, and many cleaning stations. We watched
closely as the barberfish cleaned all who swam into their area. We even
watched a 7 ft. Silvertip swim through a cleaning station again and again..
I couldn't believe how close we got. The fish continued to swarm as we
started our safety stop. A group of five wahoo (20-30lb size) came so
close you could almost touch them. A perfect farewell to us from the
amazing life here at Roca Partida.

Dive Instructor-
David Valencia

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 12, 2011

This morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and dolphins!! Our first
dive was El Canon. Upon entering the water we found it quite warm at 80
degrees (F) with decent visibility of 40 feet. There was a slight current
from the south as we made our way to the corner to see if the hammerheads
were awake yet. A group of two large hammerheads were first to be spotted..
Later another group of 3 cruised by. As we slowly made our way back to the
Solmar V we watched a manta fly overhead, then one below. Before we knew
it, we were surrounded by three mantas right under the boat. We hung out
with them for the last 20 min. of our dive. As we watched the mantas
gently move by, we heard chirps and clicks. That could only be noises of
dolphins! The group was treated to playtime with 10 bottlenose dolphins.
Reluctantly, we made our way back up the ascent line watching the mantas
circle below us. We had yet another sighting of a hammerhead. this time a
small juvenile, come very close to those us doing our safety stop. Nice

Dive two was at the Boiler. The conditions were very favorable with a
slight surface current and 81 degrees on the surface. From the surface we
immediately spotted dolphins. And from the moment we hit the water it was
non-stop action. Two mantas were circling the top of the boiler, taking
turns getting cleaned by the clarion angels. We could also hear the
dolhins so we made our way to the eastern side of the rock and there were
the dolphins. First we could only make out 10. But as we got closer,
nearly 30 bottlenose dolphins were in this pod. They played for as long as
we stayed (10 minutes or so) and we started making our way back to the
rock. Upon arriving back at the cleaning station, there were now four
mantas, two black and two chevron. The boiler was also covered in fish of
all sorts and at least twenty white tips swam around the rock looking for
somewhere to nap. Up for our safety stop we went, and the mantas continued
their routine.

The first dive at the boiler was so good we decided to do the rest of our
dives here at the boiler. Dive three conditions improved to 60 foot
visibilty, with a slight current. Two mantas greeted us at our arrival
into the water. We watched and some took pics or video of the mantas at
the cleaning station. We took pics for about 10 minutes and moved on to
take a closer look at the boiler. We found five white tips taking a siesta
in a cut in the rock, at least seven green morays, and so many fish-who
could count. As we took our time doing a lap around the boiler, we had two
more mantas join us from the blue. Overhead and below, they swam  posing
for pictures. We headed back to the boat watching the mantas circle below

Our fourth dive of the day, third at the boiler, showed even better
conditions. It was so clear below 20 ft., you could see the bottom at
130ft. Mantas kept us busy the entire dive, following us on every side of
the boiler. Three manats hung out hypnotizing the divers with their gentle
strength. It was a fantastic day of diving here in San Benedicto Island.
Off to Socorro....

Dive Instructor-
David Valencia