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