Monday, December 31, 2012

Dolphins and Mantas at Socorro Island!

Hola todos!
Today we spent our day of diving at Socorro Island. While we were waiting for the Mexican Navy inspection a clearance, we had a family of really acrobatic dolphins jumping and flipping in the air, just a few feet away from our diving platform, so close that we could get wet from the splash they were making on their jumps!
After the formalities of the inspection, we went for our very first dive of the day at 11 am to Punta Tosca, where 78 degrees waters were waiting for us with 2 groups of around 7 dolphins, and 4 playful mantas that came close during our dive.
On our second dive, the mantas waited until we were ready to go for our safety stop to appear and start to play with our divers as they usually do. It seems that they wanted to give us another good reason to jump again in the water for the next dive and they definitely did!
On our final dive, the conditions were slightly different than the previous two dives, with more current and, instead of mantas, millions of fish covering the all area until where your eyes couldn`t reach anymore. Now after a day at Punta Tosca, we are heading for another journey in our trip, this time to Roca Partida.
Until the next report, in the last days of this incredible year of diving! 
Ricardo Tamaño
Dive Instructor

Saturday, December 29, 2012

We Made it!

We made made it! We arrived today in San Benedicto just in time for a dive. The conditions were great with 50 ft. + visibility and a little bit of current. We took it slow on our check out dive today taking time to explore the reef. For most divers the white tip sharks, green morays, octopus, and scorpionfish that make up our reefs are new. So we looked around and spotted all of those cool critters. During the last 15 minutes of the dive, a manta made a surprise showing and circled all the divers again and again. All finished the dive smiling and excited for more here on the Solmar V.
Here`s looking forward to more to come.
Until Next Time,
Dave Valencia

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hi there!
We all woke up at 6 30 am, got some coffee, suited up, and prepared for our early morning dive at El Cañón. We wanted to see some Hammerhead Sharks and we know that early in the morning is the best time to see them getting clean by Butterfly fish. We saw hammerheads, but they stayed deep throughout the day. Dave’s group got to see a 12 feet Tiger Shark that cruised around the drop off of the dive site, Danny and myself decided to check the left side of El Cañón but the hammerheads weren’t there either, so we all headed for the usual cleaning station with the intentions of finding the sharks there.  Suddenly a Chevron Manta passed over our heads and stayed hanging out and playing with our bubbles, we ran out of bottom time and begun our ascend to the safety stop being escorted by this friendly Manta.
After two dives, we moved to El Boiler expecting to finish our trip with some more friendly Mantas, this time the conditions were rough at El Boiler, the current was blowing strongly from the north and we could only stayed in one side of the pinnacle but it was good because we had a lots of White Tip Reef Sharks, Octopus and hundreds of Lobsters that are in the crevices of El Boiler.
After the third dive while we were drying up and getting ready for lunch, we spotted a lot of birds in the horizon that gathered together indicating the possibility of a bait ball, so we went to check conditions out and make sure that something was really going on, and yes it was! There was a bait ball in process, so we came back to the SolmarV, everybody got ready and jumped on the pangas right away but by the time we got back to the bait ball, just about everything had already been consumed, all it was left were a dozens of birds that still flew over, hoping for some fish left. All I can say is that Baitball Season just opened! Wait for Adil’s video trip report to see what a baitball looks like!
Right now we are off to Cabo San Lucas and looking forward to spend Christmas time with our families! See you guys on our New Year’s Eve Trip! 
Happy Christmas Everybody!

Erick Higuera

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's been super at Socorro!

It´s been super here at Socorro! This is our third day here on Socorro Island and we´ve been diving Punta Tosca all day. It´s been so good, it´s hard to leave. Our first dive this morning was capped off with dolphins welcoming us to the dive site. Just as we jumped in the chirped and
clicked for a few minutes and were gone. Dani´s group, however, had a dozen dolphins for the entirety of the dive. Eric and my group were together with two huge Giant Pacific Mantas circling us again and again. We even spotted a few hammerheads swimming along the bottom and one individual approached very close. The mantas spent the whole dive soaking up all the bubbles and visiting every diver. It was some of the best manta action we had. That was until the second dive. 
On the second dive Dani´s group and mine stayed shallow and it paid off. Three mantas at one time were circling all the divers for a full 60 minutes! Everyone was blowing bubbles underneath the mantas and swimming along with them. The mantas would stall for a few seconds and then slowly move on to the next diver. They followed us up all the way until we jumped into the pangas.
Our last two dives were more mellow taking time to check out the reef. We saw two mantas each dive respectively, but they didn´t interact like they did before. Instead we saw a ton of octopus, eels, and whitetips. The fish were all out hunting or gathering and we watched on as a huge swarm of convict tangs attacked the algae on the reef. It was a seemingly endless group of fish. A fantastic visit to Socorro has come to end and tomorrow we´re headed to Roca Partida.

Until Next Time,

Dave Valencia 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What dolphin action!

We started the first dive of the day at 8:00 am, as soon as we left Solmar V, 5 dolphins were already swimming around the boat, we didn’t want to wait until the dive to see the dolphins so, we all jumped to the water and snorkeled with these friendly mammals for about 30 min, it was a great start to the day!
“Let’s go back to the pangas and go for the dive” somebody in the group said, so we all swam back to the pangas and moved to the dive site, which was Punta Tosca. When we got up to the point on the wall where we normally start diving, there were more dolphins already waiting for us! We all got in the water, but this time on scuba, and a soon as we started descending, there were at least 20 bottlenose dolphins that played with every single diver for almost the entire dive, and if that wasn’t enough 4 Mantas joined to the dolphin party, all this 50 min non-stop action was EPIC! We had never had so much action at Punto Tosca! We didn’t know where to look! These dolphins kept coming back and forth, up and down, coming form everywhere! Honestly we all were excited when we got back to the surface and on board of the pangas.
In the second dive we had the same manta action that we had previously, but the dolphins weren’t around. 
By the third dive the visibility had changed a bit and we just stayed over the reef chilling out and looking lobsters, octopi, white tip reef sharks and all the reef life that one can encounter in Punta Tosca.
The water temperature still in the low 80’s and we had strong winds coming from the cold front that it’s on the way down here from Cabo. We’ll spend another day in Socorro and hoping to have another great dive day with a bunch of dolphins and mantas like we had today.
Stand by and wait for more Solmar V histories from The Revillagigedo’s!

Erick Higuera

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hola everyone! 
Back in the water today at Socorro island we did 3 dives! We took advantage of the current and explored the northern edge of the reef all the way to the end of it.  We spotted a couple of hammerheads white tips on our journey from one end of reef to the other. We saw a few mantas that didn't stay to play, but instead drifted with the current into the blue. For our second dive we spent time over the cleaning station where we found octopi, flounders, zebra eels, tiger snakes, scorpion fish, and more! We ended our 2nd dive with a pair of very friendly mantas that kept our cameras busy! 
Our last dive of the day was the best dive of the day.  The current was gone, and we found more playful mantas, schooling hammerheads, and even one dolphin to spice things up! 
We are still enjoying the warm water at 82F, with 50'+ visibility. One group stayed over the cleaning station, watching the clarion angelfish clean the mantas, not a bad way to end a day!

Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata

Friday, December 14, 2012

Greetings from San Benedicto!
Not too long ago we arrived to our destination Isla San Benedicto. We left rain behind in Cabo and arrived to sunny skies and whales breaching!!!! There  were a few whales spotted as we arrived to the island, later identified as  Sei Whales lobbing almost completely out of the water. Well our first dive was held at one our favorite dive sites El Canyon. The visibility was decent at 30 ft. and the water temperature remains warm at 82 degrees (F). Since it was our first dive, the goal was to get reacquainted with our gear and the dive site. We spent the dive checking all the nooks and crannies for green morays jewel morays, scorpion fish, and even found a handful of octo pus hunting the reef. We did see one silvertip checking us out, but otherwise sharkless on our checkout dive. It was a pleasant dive and a nice way to begin our diving here in the Revillagigedos. We are heading tonight to Socorro, hoping for some dolphins and mantas tomorrow.

Until Next Time,

Dave Valencia

Monday, December 10, 2012

We had a great two days here at Roca Partida.

Hi there Solmar fans,

We had a great two days here at Roca Partida. The water temperature remains warm at 82 degrees (F) and we endured a stiff current from the south both days. All three dives started the same from the South drifting to the north. The strong current brought countless fish at the southern end of Roca. Unfortunately, we could hover there long so we made the best and drifted. On our drifts we noticed there were more white tip sharks than ever. Everywhere you looked they seemed to be darting to a new resting spot. On dive one and two a manta circled near the north end and gave divers a fantastic manta experience. The second dive was the highlight of the day. There  was a nice school of 8 silvertip sharks that allowed a close approach. They circled between divers and allowed us to observe them closely. After the sharks, we started drifting with the manta away from the rock. The black manta went from one diver to the next. Continuing on our extra-long safety stop, dolphins joined in the fun. Just when we were going to end the dive the circled us along with the manta for at least 10 min. The manta even seemed jealous as our attention switched to the dolphins, then they were all together. It was amazing! Needless to say, we didn`t want to come up from that one. Our last dive was nice and relaxed. We took our time enjoying the cleaning stations, eels, whitetip sharks, and silvertips. We drifted away from the rock sad to leave, but happy with the great dives Roca has provided for us.

Until Next Time,

Dave Valencia

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The first day at Roca Partida was outstanding!

The First Day at Roca Partida was outstanding!
First dive in the morning and we found a southern current that made it difficult to hang out by the rock, but all our divers used a little extra effort and we could stayed by the rock for long time. At the beginning of the dive, we were just descending at the south point of Roca and 20 Bottlenose Dolphins welcomed us! Wait for Adil’s Trip Report to see these dolphins in action! Later on, we drifted towards the north point and found more dolphins that played with a Manta, while we tried to get up to where they were, we saw in the distance a huge pregnant Whale Shark that swam to us, suddenly the same Manta that the dolphins played with, went and joined the whale shark, so we got them both in the same shot! Unfortunately the whale shark didn’t stay with us for long, it just gave us a close up and then disappeared in the deep. By the afternoon dive, the current had picked up a bit more and so we did an easy drift dive along the wall, lucky us! This time a black manta showed up and stayed with us the entire dive.
We planned to stay another day in hope of finding that one whale shark or maybe a different one.
The water temperature is still in the low 80’s and a water visibility of 80'+ feet.
¡Hasta la vista!
Erick Higuera

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A great day of diving at Socorro Island!

A great day of diving at Socorro! We did 3 dives today, during the first one we had nice and strong current that made us swim a bit. We put in a little bit of extra effort for some great up-close hammerhead and silver tip encounters! While drifting along the reef we spotted mantas that stayed swimming around us and along the reef we also had the opportunity to find lots of lobsters, moray eels, flounders, etc. 
The second dive the current was very mild letting us stay for longer on the reef! Wild dolphins found us over the reef and stayed for a long while, making circles and other things around all divers! While playing with the dolphins we came upon a much larger surprise a WHALE SHARK! All the noise makers were shaking loudly to get the attention of our other groups of divers!  My group ended up in the shallow area of the cleaning station with mantas while the other groups went off to find 5 more mantas. 
Our last dive of the day went again with a mild current letting us go all the way to the end of reef, from beginning juveniles silver tips chasing our fins! That was crazy but fun! It was unusual to find so many white tips that came close for great photo ops! We also had mantas while drifting and ascending to our safety stop!

Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hola from Isla San Benedicto!

Hola from Isla San Benedicto,

Today was our first day of diving. We arrived after a very comfortable crossing to El Fondeadero, our anchorage site. We were pleased to find the water is still warm at 81 degrees (F). This is not typical of this time of year, as we usually have cooler water now. So we`re going to enjoy it while we can. This was our check out dive so we planned to keep things nice and slow. We found 30 ft visibility with lots of life. There were many schools of fish everywhere you looked. Another oddity was the amount of white tip reef sharks we have been seeing. On this dive we counted ten actively hunting the reef and swimming circles seemingly making their territories known. Many octopus were also spotted and the green morays were out free swimming from rock to rock. It was a pleasant first dive and a great introduction to diving San Benedicto. 
Tomorrow we are headed to Isla Socorro where we hope to have some manta action.

Until next time,

Dave Valencia

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A final day at Socorro Island

Hi everybody.

Today was our last diving day of this trip. Early morning, after 3 incredible diving days at Roca Partida, we arrived to Socorro Island and we had our Mexican Navy inspection, before heading to our first dive at Cabo Pearce.
The water was 82 degrees, and we had more than 100 ft visibility, with nice strong currents from the north. 
During this dive we had the visit of a group of hammerheads, some whit tip reef sharks, and one manta show up briefly.
In our second dive, the current literally disappeared and we had 3 mantas surrounding our divers for the entire dive, approaching them. flipping over and over, more than happy to play with us!
On our last and final dive of this trip, we were visited by a nice manta again, and our divers enjoyed the view of this magnificent animal. At this time we are heading back to Cabo San Lucas, and you can see the big smiles in each of our divers faces after a great diving week.
Until our next trip we say hasta la vista!

Juan Ricardo Tamaño

Friday, November 30, 2012

So much fun at Roca! An incredible 3rd day at Roca Partida.

HI folks! We had a wonderful third day at Roca Partida!

A little bit of current from south made our dive more interesting. On the south point a huge school of black and cottonmouth jacks blocked the wall from sight in some areas and it wasn't visible the whole time! It's always exciting to see galapagos, silver tips and silkies shark swimming through the school of fish not noticing we were there and then suddenly they spot us and  turn around and swim away. We spent quit a while at the south point then drifted to north a bit.  Off the rock we found hammerheads, more galapagos and silkies! We had a dive time of about 40 minutes, and for about 30 of those 40 minutes we had dolphins in front of us!  All over the rok silver tips were going crazy in a frezy for food!  Green morey eels were packed on top of each other in the crevices along the rock, and the white tip reef sharks were very active.  To seal the deal, one chevron manta surprised us and glided over our heads along with the current! We had everything except a whale shark!

The second dive was just as good as the first, but add a HUGE whale shark that slowed down  enough that she let us swim along side her! 

The third dive we followed the same dive pattern from south to north, drifting with the current, and it was just incredible as the 2nd dive, we even found the female whale shark again!  There weren't as many sharks as the previous dive, but to make up for it mother nature provide us with big schooling yellow fin tuna!  
So much fun today!

Dive Inst. Daniel Zapata

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another day in Paradise!

Hola amigos,

Our second day at Roca Partida couldn`t have been better. On our first first dive we found tons of sharks, galapagos shark, silver tip, white tip, schooling hammerhead! Tunas and jacks were everywhere and on the reef our divers took photos of lots of morays, lobsters and tropical fish. During our safety stop a friendly mobula ray came to check on us and decided to stay until we didn't have any more air and had to surface. 
The Mobula stayed around the boat so we got back in with snorkel set, everyone loved it. Second dive was very good too, a pacific manta played with the divers for a while, and smiles where all over the place. But the biggest surprise was waiting for us on the the third dive when a giant female whale shark swam right next to us!! 3 trips in a row where we've found whale sharks! It was unreal, what else can I say, it was another day in paradise!!

Claudio S. Bonato
PADI OWSI 191135
Dive Master on SOLMAR  V

HI everybody,

Here we are at Roca Partida again!!! As always, this place gave us a great welcoming with 3 fantastic dives during the day.

Early morning going to the drop in site, we had a group of dolphins near our Zodiacs, playing around, making great jumps, to tell us good morning! In our first dive we had a very strong current with a great visibility of around 100 ft.and 82 degrees waters. Galapagos, silver tips, white tips and mantas where all over the place, making the dive a unique experience, but that was just the taste of what was in store in the next dives.

For our second dive, at around 110 ft, we had a great school of Hammerheads, Silver Tips, Galapagos and Silky sharks all together, swimming across millions of fish. Tunas and Wahoos were part of this explosion of life! Water was still 82 degrees, but we started to experience the thermocline at 90 ft, dropping water temperature down to the low 70's. On the wall, we had several white tip sharks moving around and many of them still sleeping all together.This dive was something to remember. Nature was in its magnificence.

For the 3rd and last dive of the day several Mantas came to the area giving to our divers the chance to take an uncountable number of photos. But the best was still waiting to come. By the end of the dive, in the blue, the silhouette of several hammerheads sharks, at around 80 ft of water. When we approach the area, we could see a huge school of these incredible sharks, and for our surprise, they were not shy at all, and stayed around us for a couple of minutes until our bottom time and air supply forced us to go back to the surface with a big smile, and ready to stay another day at Roca Partida for some more incredible dives!

Adiosuntil the next report,
Juan Ricardo Tamaño

Back to Socorro!

Hi folks!
We all are very to happy come back to Socorro islands and are still enjoying the warm water temp which has varied between 82-84ºF. So on the second day of the trip we did 4 dives 2 of them at ¨EL CAÑON.¨ There was not current at all making for an easy dive, but on the other side of the coin, we need current to see big numbers of sharks! We saw a few hammer heads, some white tips but we had a lot of fun with 2 mantas that stayed for the whole dive. We also did a drift dive! For those that haven't done a drift dive before, It feels just like flying, very cool!! We drifted over the entire dive area and only saw more white tips with reef fish every where!
We decided to try different dive site, in search of more mantas, and one chevron male was accompanying us also for most our entire 3rd dive! 
Dive 4 was at the infamous "El boiler" to finish the day! It was fun to play with surge! So we went all around el boiler and saw hammer head, white tip reef sharks, lots of lobsters were there too, but the mantas were a bit shy. At the same time as we were diving el Boiler, we had a group of 6 divers that opted out of diving and went to snorkeling with a pod of false killer whales for 25 to 30 minutes!

Dive Inst Daniel Zapata

Monday, November 26, 2012

Checkout dive at el Fondeadero

Hey there, 

We just came back from the first dive of the trip at dive site "Fondeadero", we spoted lots of white tip reef sharks, one galapagos and one hammerhead!! There  were also lots of jacks and morays. Current was strong and that made it more interesting. Everyone is very excited about dive " The canyon" tommorrow. One of our guest is celebrating his birthday and he got his birthday song in few languages while testing a delicious bbq on board.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

We started our last day of the trip diving early in the morning at El Boiler, hoping to see Bottlenose Dolphins and Pacific Giant Mantas, but the southern current was strongly blowing and bringing up a lot of upwelling that lowered our visibility, so we quickly decided to dive back at El Cañón that never disappoints! There was an incredible 100'+ visibility and warm 82F water, the current ran from east which is the current with we always look for because the chances to see Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks are higher. And we saw a lots of them, but this time they were hanging down deep just beyond our reach, more than 140´/40 m, even though we could see them very clearly. A Couple Mantas that passed by stop and play with our bubbles for the rest of the dives, that was fun! And of course besides the big animals, we also saw tons of reef fishes and few baby silvertip Sharks that visited the cleaning station.

This was how we finished our trip and right now we are on our way back to Cabo San Lucas, we´ll have couple days off and then we´ll head back again to another Great Revillagigedo´s Islands Adventure!
Hasta la próxima!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Viva Roca! Sharks, sharks, and more sharks!

Viva Roca!

We had the last two days at Roca Partida and the rock treated us well this visit. Yesterday was great and today seemed even better. The visibility was not at its best at 60-70 ft., but the water was teaming with life. This morning we took it slow rounding the south end looking for sharks and seeing many silvertips, galapagos, whitetips, and hammerheads. This was good but we knew a big school of all sharks lurked beyond the visibility, we just needed to find them. So we took our time and made our way to the north point. It was there that we spotted a school of 20+ silvertips. But we could see shadows beyond that. So I moved my group out further from the rock where we found out what the source of the shado was. The school was more than 100 sharks strong mixed with hammerheads, galapagos, and silvertips. There was some order to it. The hammerheads seemed to prefer the shallowest part of the school, the galapagos fell somewhere in the middle, and the silvertips prefered the deepest part of all. They moved in front of us close then away. Divers watched them for more than 5 minutes trying to see how many sharks they could fit in one frame.

Our second dive had very little current and again there were sharks and fish everywhere. We moved along the wall this time observing life on the rock. We found one crack with more than 20 green morays squeezed inside. We watched all the sharks move around us as we swam around the rock. We had a nice school of silvertips mixed with galapagos 20-30 sharks get
very close to the group, but the larger school managed to elude us.

The final dive today was very nice. All divers were comfortable with the site and wanted to carry at their own pace, which was not a problem since there was no current. Everyone took their time enjoying eels, sharks, and cleaning stations everywhere they looked. One buddy pair managed to see four mobulas (mini mantas) swimming in the blue. Many of us parked right on the north point and waited. Some hoped we would see a whale shark, but instead the huge school showed up. First, they were only shadows then they  moved close and you could see all the different species mixing together. This is unique to only here seeing such a huge school of mixed species of sharks.

As we hovered there doing our safety stop a manta showed up. Just in time to say goodbye to us all. Needless to say, we did an extra long safety stop...

This was another amazing visit to our favorite dive site.

Until next time,

Dave Valencia

Monday, November 19, 2012

Every dive was full of incredible high octane shark action!

Oh Roca!

What can I say folks, what can I say?...

Every single dive was full of incredible high octane shark action, Galapagos, Silvertips and Hammerheads schooling together, it was a huge parade of about 100 + sharks that cruised the blue back and forth between the hundreds of thousands Pacific Creolefish that hang out also in the water column. And if that wasn’t enough, a 40’ pregnant Whale Shark made an appearance on every single dive!
In the first 2 dives the current was just mildly blowing and that was a good trigger for the Red Snappers that started spawning to let their eggs drift away, few Silvertips try to catch some of these Snappers but didn’t have any success.
Before the third dive we spotted birds that flew all crazy, good indicator 
that a baitball was going on, we went and check it out but all was left were several Oceanic Triggerfishes that found shelter in a piece of wood that the current was carrying in. By the third dive the current had just picked up a bit and brought up murky and chilly water but that wasn’t and excuse for us to get into the thermocline and find the same whale shark we had previously seen in the
last 2 dives.

Tonight we’re chilling and relaxing planning our dives of tomorrow,
expecting to have again the same sharky action!

Stay tuned for more Solmar V news!

¡Hasta la vista!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Hammerheads in big numbers stole the show at San Benedicto!

  Hi folks!
    What a great hobby scuba diving is!
Our first day at San Benedicto, we dove 4 times and did not have to (or want to) go anywhere else, all the action was at EL CAÑON!
    We started the first dive in 82ºF water temp and as the day went on the water warmed up to 84ºf, and vis was a consistent 60'+ with a current coming from east, our favorite direction for El Canon! Once we started the dive the current brought us lots of hammer heads in an area we called the corner, but they were in relatively shallow water. At about 75' of water we found a small school of 20 to 30 of them, and as the day went on it only got better! We were having so much fun with the hammerheads, we got caught up and almost forgot about the mantas, then all of a sudden one came flying over our heads nicely distracting us and demanding attention! White tips and silver tips were scattered all over the dive site, and a tiger shark made appearances throughout the day! 
    In between dive we spotted a bait ball, we go to check it out but mostly yellow fin tunas so we come back to scuba dive! One group started the dive from the north anchor and the other groups started on the south anochor, but both groups ran into massive schools of hammerheads in big numbers coming up from below 100' to swim over EL Canon, and they were even joined by a tiger shark!I t was unreal!! That's two trips in a row where we've seen a tiger shark!
    The last dive of the day we as a groups took different directions the ones went North got to see a friendly manta a few hammer heads and the plus of the dive another tiger shark! you may think is the same one but no it is not because of the strip patterns! the other group went south along the ridge to the corner so lucky too! schooling hammer heads again! Who could get tired of seeing this?!
    Have sharky dreams and we'll bring you our next report tomorrow!
    Dive Inst Daniel Zapata

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Night snorkeling with a baby whale shark!

Greetings from Isla San Benedicto,

We just arrived as the sun was going down, but managed to get a dive in at Las Cuevas. It`s our first day of the trip so we`re all very anxious to get into the water. The water was warmer than last week at 84 degrees (F) with visibility at 40 ft. It was a mellow dive filled with lobster, white tip reef sharks, and green turtles. All had a nice dive while getting all their gear sorted for tomorrow.

After the dive, we were getting ready for our taquiza (bbq) on the bow, when we spotted a juvenile whale shark swimming along the boat! It was already dark so the little guy seemed to be feeding on the plankton that the lights of the boat was attracting. We watched from the boat for awhile, but then realized that we could jump in! So a few of us braved the dark to get a night interaction with a baby whale shark. It was definitely a first for all of us to see one of these beautiful sharks at night. He hung out with us for 30 min. or so before disappearing into the night. We saw this as a good omen for tomorrow and the rest of the trip. Here`s to an amazing first day at San Benedicto!

Until Next Time,

Dave Valencia

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A sharktastic day at San Benedicto!

Today was a sharky day!

We started our last day of the trip at El Cañón, visibility of 70 ft+ and water temperature 79'82 F, but the current was moving like a river! Wow!! The eastern current brought up a lot of Hammerhead Sharks that we were watching coming in and out of the cleaning station trying to get cleaned by the Butterfly Fishes, in addition to the hammerheads, one group of divers had the opportunity to see a Tiger Shark that cruise on by.

We had seen a lot of hammersheads on our first two dives of the dya, so on our 3rd dive we decided to check out the hammerheads then let the current carry us for a drift dive and see what we might find! It was the right decision, while we were drifting and passing by El Fondeadero, a 25 foot Whale Shark swam by,  briefly but good enough to see it and take couple pics.

By the 4th dive we drifted again hoping to get lucky and see another whale shark, instead we found a lot of hammerheads and a 10' tiger shark made a pass by the cleaning station one last time!

Well guys, this is it for today, we had a sharktastic and amazing day to
end our first trip of the 2012-2013 season!

¡Hasta la próxima!


Friday, November 9, 2012

From a guest: "The diving today was unbelievable!"

  Hi folks! After a great day at Roca Partida, we're now in route to San Benedicto island.
    To start with we made an hour long dive, our first descent was on the east side of the Roca visiting lots of white tip sharks, we noticed current from same direction, took advantage of it and went for a nice ride, stopping on the south point were different species of fish were making a wall of themselves, for moments all those fish went back behind us at the strike of what a size of yellow fin tunas!!!! Leaving us out there with nothing else but water around us! did not have to swim much for good 25 minutes!The south point really was like a parade of sharks... I counted up to 9 silver tips, singles hammer heads, Galapagos, silkies, white tips all together but at different depths cruising back and forth! The vis was not as great as usual, as Roca visability is usually 100+ but we didn't have a problem seeing anything with 60'+ as it still let us see everything. On top of all this, add an uncommmon sight of a friendly chevron manta at the northern point of Roca, that played with us for a very long time!
    During our second surface interval our wonderful guest Anita spotted something at the distance, we go to check it out and...BINGO!!! Bait ball!!! They were a hit last season, and it's difficult to accurately describe what it's like to be on the outskirts of a bait ball. There were at least 200 silkies, yellow fin tunas, dusky shark, (only) one dolphin, and a variety of other fish fish, all feeding on oceanic trigger fish! We spent half an hour snorkeling around this bait ball during our surface interval! 
    Our entire third dive took place on the south point of the rock! a mean not even 5 minutes into the dive and already had seen a huge female whale shark! just to spice it up add once again the school of silver tips, white tips, Galapagos, hammer heads, silkies, yellow fin tunas and a world of fish surrounding us every single minute we spent under water!!
    Here a few words from Mike and Anita about today's experience!!!  "What an amazing adventure we had today! I can hardly believe everything we saw.. It was unreal!!  Over 200 silky sharks feeding on a bait ball, whale shark, hammerheads, manta ray and more at Roca Partida.  This has been a once in a lifetime experience!I'm already thinking about when I can come back again!"
     The crew is fantastic!!!   Mike: "the diving today was unbelievable...and the bait ball experience was extra special.  Thanks to the crew for taking what Anita saw seriously and checking it out.  We were all surprised and happy with what we found."
    No words for more!! Gracias folks out there for reading from us!

    Dive Inst Daniel Zapata

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A mind opening day at Roca Partida!

It was an amazing day here at Roca Partida. We woke to stunning sunrise and calm seas. Which was a welcome change from the last two days of diving. Our first dive was quite a surprise. The visibility was good at 6o ft+. (20m) and the temperature was warm at 79 degrees (F). We spent the beginning of the dive taking it all in observing the white tips reef sharks, the silvertips, and galapagos sharks. After rounding the north point, we saw a whale shark. It was 30-35ft. and swimming with galapagos sharks and silvertips. We were ecstatic. Then we noticed that the shark was wrapped in a huge line 6 inches thick. The line was wrapped fully around the midsection of the humongous shark. We were saddened because the line seemed to dig in to the thick epidermis and had obviously been there a long time judging by the damage on the skin and the amount of growth on the line itself. We saw the shark again later in the dive and it seemed like it was going to be impossible to help.

In between dives we talked about cutting the poor shark free. All had an opinion about cutting the whale shark loose: some thought the shark would freak and swim away fast, some thought it not possible to cut through the thick line, either way it would be dangerous especially if the shark was deep. Just in case our head divemaster, Dani, borrowed a knife from a guest and thought if he saw an opportunity, he would try to cut the thick line.

Dive two started with many single hammerheads on the west side. The water column was filled with so many fish when you swam to the blue and looked back, you could hardly make out the rock. We observed many silvertip sharks and countless white tips. Within a few minutes the shark appeared to my group alone. We swam close and observed the line looked like it was possible to cut. I looked for Dani, but his group was just a bit further down current and they didn`t get a close look before the shark circled away. We waited in the same spot, knowing that our spotted friends are creatures of habit, but she didn`t least right away. It was towards the end of the dive and we were waiting at 60ft. I spotted the whale shark deep, more than 100ft, which would blow the  profile of my group so we slowly swam down to about 85ft. and it swam to us. Just as we met, Dani charged from above and grabbed the line on the shark with great tenacity. He sawed away and made quick work of this impossible line. It was amazing! He peeled the line from the flesh of the whale shark. The great fish brushed them off and shed them like chains of bondage... it was free. I swam back down to pick up the line for Dani and so we could prove to the rest of the group could see that the impossible was in fact possible! It was a feeling of relief knowing that we saved this amazing creature, from this negative impact that we humans impose on animals of the ocean.

We hoped to see our newly freed friend on the third dive. Instead, within seconds of dropping in the water we saw a different whale shark. This one was coming from the deep too and swam fast. Divers swam with it as long as they could keep up, but those guys can move. This whale shark was a little smaller at 25ft. This one had scars on it`s back obvioulsy from a propeller. What is up today with whale sharks and showing signs of human impact. It was amazing, but sad to know that we humans can negatively impact these beautiful animals. That`s what makes this place so special, to be able to observe and interact with these animals and have a first-person look at such impacts reserved for television. The remainder of the dive was spent rounding the rock and watching the plethora of life here. Sharks galore, fish everywhere of all kinds. It was mind-boggling. We even had a few close encounters with some scalloped hammerheads. It was a mind-opening day here at Roca Partida.

Until Next time,

Dave Valencia

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A pod of 40 dolphins greeted us at Socorro Island!

Hi folks!

After 5 months of absence from Socorro Island, this morning we arrived at the Mexican Navy Base to check in, which took less than an hour before we moved to Punta Tosca to start our dive day.

With 60' of visibility and 80 degrees of water, we encountered in the first dive 2 different Mantas by the reef, unfortunately they weren’t in a playful mood and just cruised by to say hello. Later on as we advanced over the dive site, couple Hammerhead Sharks made appearances here and there, and 1 baby Galapagos Shark kept up with us almost the entire dive! Finally after 40 min of bottom time while we were on the way to surface we heard dolphins approaching and yes! There they were! A pod of about 40 Bottlenose Dolphins welcomed us to the Archipelago, they were so friendly and close enough to Adil (our onboard videographer) that could film them and get precious video shots. Wait for his trip video report!

In the second dive one of the dive groups found a small group of about 20 baby Silvertip Sharks that came from the deep just to check the divers up and later on disappear in the blue. Almost at the end of the dive the same pod of dolphins did its second show of the day, just imagine they were so excited to play with the divers that everybody run out of air, came back to the panga, grabbed their snorkels and jumped back into the water to keep playing and enjoying this super friendly dolphins, it was hilarious!

By the third dive, the conditions had changed a lot, the visibility had dropped  and the current was picked up a little bit this time, so we did a drift all dive along the reef, once we got away of the rocks, the visibility improved a lot, good enough to see a school of 50+ Yellow Fin Tunas that cruised by.

Tonight, the weather conditions got better and we are heading to Roca
Partida, we hope get lucky and maybe see a gentle giant, or maybe more..

Stay tuned for the first news from Roca!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On our return to Socorro we were met by 6 playful mantas!

 Hi all!! There is much excitement about our first day back at the Socorro Islands after an excellent season with Great White Shark at Guadalupe Island!
So our first morning dive took place at EL BOILER in San Benedicto due to better conditions being the vis up to 40ft, water temp 80f with no termoclines at all, guiding our 3 small groups counted with dive experience of Dave Valencia Marine Biologist, Eric Higuera also a Marine Biologist and myself Daniel Zapata Dive Instructor.  We were able to find a pair of hammerhead on the west side of the rock, about 8 white tip reef sharks, and one manta that disappeared into the blue. When we made our way back to the anchor line, there was a group of 10-12 dolphins waiting for us!
    After an excellent first dive, we decided to give el Boiler another go, and our divers were so happy with this dive site, we spent all day here! We counted  6 mantas total, a couple of which were familiar faces!  We had at one point 3 mantas playing together, and they were so playful that they wouldn't go away for anything! The mantas gave us the the opportunity to take lots of photos from all angles of mantas both the chevron and black ones, and to make the dive easy, everything happened above 50' deep! Lots of other fish around the rock invited close observation also! We finished our fantastic day of diving with lots of delicious BBQ Ribs thanks to Chef Tony!  We'll be bringing you another dive report tomorrow, so make sure you don't miss it, or you could do one better and come join us on the adventure of a lifetime!

   Dive Inst. Daniel Zapata

Monday, October 15, 2012

A windy day on the surface makes for a beautiful day to see sharks under water!

Hola facebook!
Despite wind hitting the island from the east , we had another excellent day with great white sharks! We counted a total of 6 sharks the largest of which was a big beautiful girl named "Bella," the only adult female of the day.  We also saw 3 other adult sharks, "CC" for Cut Caudal, "Mau" short for Mauricio, and "Smiles" plus 2 juveniles one of them named Johnny and the other one that has yet to be named!
    So everything happened on the surface cages, we had them coming from all directions, one of the most amazing things to watch is how after a powerful attack at the hang bait on the surface, these creatures effortlessly glide into deep water you barely see them move a fin! Many and so close opportunities to see them from surface cages that if it was allowed you could reach and grab the pectoral fin to say Hi! My name is….. So close that you can see every wrinkle on the skin that makes you wanting to know more and more about them!
Because of the wind and boat swinging on the anchor we did only two trips down in the submersible and that was it for the rest of the day! 
            We enjoyed a water temp of 71°f as well as fantastic vis. during the morning. As the afternoon started to roll around the vis. started to decrease as the sun started to go down!
Dive Inst Daniel Zapata

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It was a day to remember here at Guadalupe!

Hola everyone!

The water was a warm 71 degrees and the visibility stayed at around 80 feet for most the day with a line of cloudy water of 20 feet from the surface, that gave us a shallow visibility of 40 ft. For the majority of the day we had different individual white sharks. One, of which was the crowd favorite, Zapata. A small juvenile of 8 ft. was also made close passes and went for hang baits. Zapata, however, was the star of the day. He approached close on the surface cages as well as the submersible cages. The sun went down and divers stayed in the water not wanting this amazing day to end! Zapata was enjoying his games with our Instructor Dani on the bait line, getting everybody excited until it was dark! By then it was time for dinner so we said goodbye to our big boy,  waiting for more playing.. It was definitely a day to remember here at Guadalupe!

Until next time!

Ricardo Tamaño
Dive Instructor

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Today was the day!"

Hola everyone!!

"Today was the day!" That`s what all our guests were saying after today`s shark-tivities ended today. The water was a warm 70 degrees and the visibility stayed at around 100 feet for most the day. Not only were the conditions excellent but the sharking was non-stop all day. For the majority of the we had  four different individual white sharks. Three known sharks: Jacques, Cee-Cee, and the crowd favorite Zapata. A small juvenile of 8 ft. was also making close passes and going for hang baits. Zapata, however, was the star of the day. Zapata is a 12 ft shark whose mild demeanor makes him great for photo and video. He approached close on
the surface cages as well as the submersible cages. The sun went down and divers stayed in the water not wanting this amazing day to end. Finally, we couldn`t see anymore so diving was finished for the rest of the day. It was definitely a day to remember here in Guadalupe.

Until next time....

Dave Valencia

Monday, September 10, 2012

A great day of shark diving followed by panga ride up the coast!

Buenas tardes from Guadalupe,

We arrived to a sunny and warm day at Isla Guadalupe, and the sharks showed up within a half hour of us setting things up. We had a 12ft. male hang out at the surface cages allowing for our first wave of divers to get some great shots. This shark was quite active and putting on a good show even for those of watching from the sun deck, waiting for their turn in the cage. The submersible cage entered the water and the first divers identified three different sharks. None were regular sharks for us, all had easily identifiable markings and unique dorsal fins. We`ll see if they show up tomorrow.
We ended diving activities around 6:30 and Gero took everyone on a panga ride to check out the elephant seals, guadalupe fur seals, and sea lions closer to shore. Once they return we`ll cap off the day with a bbq on the bow of the boat. A nice beginning to our trip here in Guadalupe. 

Until next time...
Dave Valencia

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Today we found a pod of Cuvier's beaked whales, and a mako shark!

Hi Folks!
Unfortunately mother nature did not treat us very well today, we had big swells and back wash at the dive spot, so we sailed a bit south in search of better conditions.  At our new dive site, we found better conditions with great visibility, but the three sharks that we found were a bit shy, and did not want play! We did however get an extra treat when we saw a 6' long short fin mako, and while on Geronimo's infamous panga rides along the coast of Guadalupe Island we found a pod of 8-10 Cuvier's beaked whales that we followed for a little while! 
Stay tuned for more from us tomorrow!
    Dive Instructor
    Daniel Zapata.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Buenas Tardes De Guadalupe!

Buenas Tardes from Guadalupe,

It was a nice start to our first day of sharking. We quite a few first-time divers on the boat this week. Can you imagine your first dive being in a cage with Great White sharks? It`s all downhill from here. 

Well, we had sharks from the get go, within five minutes of having the cages in the water. Our first visitor was Jacques and then the Mau snuck in and stole a few hang baits . We had at least three sharks passing the surface cages for most of the day. We even had  a visit from a brave sea lion, a turtle, and a small pod of dolphins all near the back of the boat.. This may sound insensitive, but we were hoping for a predation. Once we got the submersible going divers identified five sharks underneath the cages. The sharks were making some close passes on the submersible cage. This made the submersible cage the place to be towards the closing of our first day.

Until next time...

Dave Valencia

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

4 Full Body Breaches!

  Before anything else I have to say Isla Guadalupe gave us a good morning with 2 full body sharks jumps, before our divers were in the cags!  The first one took place at 6:50 am, and the second one at 7:10am! So thoughout the day we had 2 more jumps, and the amazing thing is all the breaches happened within 20 meters of the boat!
    So for the morning and surface cages activities we had up to 4 shark (3 together at times) coming back and forth from side to side of the boat, attacking the bait from different angles also from depth to surface, vis was good up to 80ft but dropped a bit lower towards the afternoon, but we had great photo opportunities with four 9 to 12 ft long sharks and strength of this amazing and majestic  animals.
    For our certified divers, on in our sumbersible cage we had from  2 to 5 sharks at the same time. Watching the powerful animal from below offers a completely different perspective as well as some choice photo opportunities!        The last 2 hours of the day we had Mau (short for Mauricio) and Jacks in the area, plus another 3 other new sharks that we saw on our last trip! On our previous trip they unscathed, but today they all showed up with new and fresh bites, we assume fighting for territory and preys since no females have being seen this season.  Water temp ranged from 68 to 69F.
    Dive Instructor
    Daniel Zapata

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Greetings From Guadalupe!

This was our second day of shark diving here in these shark infested waters! It was a day full of excitement. The sharks were hanging out deeper today so it was the submersible cage that stole the show today. We started the submersible cage at around 9am when the sharks started to get warmed up. During those first few dives we say as many as six great whites at one time! We spotted a familiar shark. Mau, who was busy jumping at the hang baits. The sharks were coming very close to the cage. One encounter that stands out was a 12ft great white was circling very close to the submersible. It was so close you could have touched it. It swam around three times consecutively and gave us some GREAT great white photo ops.
On the surface, we had two full breaches. Both breaches were not at anything in particular and were within 20ft from the boat. Unfortunately nobody was quick enough with their trigger finger to catch those on camera, but there's always tomorrow! Until next time.....

Dave Valencia

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hi folks! Here's the latest news from Isla Guadalupe!
We had a very good day despite a slow start to the morning in the surface cages but we got rewarded for it with a full body jump! And while shark wrangling we noticed seagulls suddenly flying to another direction and landing on the surface, the reason was a predation! We are assuming a baby seal was killed by a great white shark due to little time to be consumed and only 150 yards away from the Solmar V, by the time we got to the area, there was not much left over other than  the stain of blood on the surface of the water! So we continued with shifts in the surface cages and the submersible cage onboard was a blast for divers! We had close encounters with sharks coming up and in from every where, and they were much more active! The water temp was 68F, vis did change from morning to afternoon averaging about 50' deeper than that in the submersible was a little better. We counted 6 different sharks all of which were male as is usual in August.
    Dive Instructor
    Daniel Zapata

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hola everyone on facebook! 

But this time we're saying "Hola" from the Isla Cerralvo in the Sea of Cortez! We did 3 dives today to start the trip, our first one on the south point called Roca Montana, a beautiful shallow dive from 15ft to 35ft of water, we had a surface water temp of 78f, a mild termocline, but the vis was only about 30ft with little bit of surge. After a bouyancy check we all descended on the rope to a depth of 20' explored the area for over an hour finding lots of colorful green and brown coral, octopi, tons of reef fish like moorish idols, juvenile king angel fish, yellowtail surgeonfish, mexican goat fish, groupers, diamond sting ray, scorpion fish etc. It's also a good site for macro pictures, we found nudibranchs like red cross, sedna with the assistance of our marine biologist on board Dave whom is an expert at finding them! Our second and third dive took place on the north point called la Reina! We had so much fun playing with sea lions! We saw moire reef fish, plus some barracuda, green morey eels, jacks, tinsel squirrelfish, porcupine fish, lots of slimy dog, sea tiger, bluye striped sea slug, green jacks. etc. 

Dive Instr Daniel Zapata

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Back in San Benedicto after 2 days of epic diving at Roca Partida, "we are going to miss you Roca, you rock!" Our Pelagic Life guests wanted to look for some friendly and majestic Mantas on the last day of the  trip, we started our dive day diving at 7 am in El Cañon, we headed to the cleaning corner in the quest of some schooling hammerhead sharks and some mantas, but no succeed, but guess what, one of the groups were adventurous and found in the blue a school of 20 baby hammers and about 10 silvertips also babies that schooled together, they just could watched them briefly because were kind of shy.

On the way back to the cleaning station a 20 foot black manta was already waiting for some bubbles action, and of course all the divers went crazy and everyone tried their best to get the best pictures and video possible, unfortunately we all were low on air and couldn't stay long with this friendly manta.

On the way to the safety stop we ended up wit the huge school of Bigeye Jacks that always hung out in this dive site and while the people was photographing these fish suddenly a group of 5 Bottlenose Dolphins opened a big hole into the school and started pursuing these jacks, it was great! 
On our second dive here, we did not find anything but a Chevron Manta that apparently wasn't in a good mood and didn't stay with us long.  
We did our last dive of the season in El Boiler expecting to find Mantas, but they weren’t around, we saw a massive school of all kinds of Jacks though, and the visibility was 100’+.

Well my amigos, this is all for the Socorro season, we won't be back until November for some good and hopefully pregnant Whale Shark action, meanwhile we’re going to the Sea of Cortes for our Baja Nature Cruise annual trip!

Stay in touch.

Hasta la vista..

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Roca Partida was great to us this season!

Hey Solmar V Fans
Today was our last visit to Roca Partida for this season. The rock was good to us this visit and we had a ton of fun and good diving.

Today started with a great first dive. The sharks have been most active during the morning. Fortunately, my group was first in the water. As soon as we looked to the blue we saw the big school of silky sharks that has congregated for us here this trip. This school is composed orf 100+ sharks, it's amazing to see the sharks move as a school and not individuals. So we watched as they passed a few times and disappeared. There were many other sharks here as we also saw a school of 10 galapagos sharks with 7 or so silvertip sharks. The school of silkies even came back to take our breath away as we did our safety stop. This coupled with the countless fish in the water column made for an unforgettable dive.

Dives two and three were made up of much of the same amazing recipe. Add some Galapagos, silvertips, hammerheads, white tip reef sharks, schools of huge yellowfin tuna, and 100+ schooling silkies and you have something to remember. Our guests this week will remember Roca Partida as one of the most amazing dives they have ever done. Until next time...

Dave Valencia

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hi all once again from Roca Partida!!

Hi all once again from Roca Partida!!
    Dive Instructors Dave, Eric and Daniel guiding a group of Mexican
    We had an amazing day of diving here in blue water over 70ft vis., water temp from 74F the warmest to 68F below thermocline. We had a minor current all day long from north east, but it was not bad! The 3 dives took place mostly on the north east and east side of the rock right were the current hits the rock, all the action was there! No need to swim! About 25 Galapagos sharks coming back and forth from this point several times during the dives, of course a have to mention those beautiful silver tips doing the same thing as well.  The Galapagos would swim straight at you and turn, other times they were all swimming together in one school about of 30 or 40 of them, but this is not all!! We saw yellow fin tunas in big sizes, it seems that the prefer shallow water because the warm temp! I should not forget to mention so many white tips swimming out in the blue checking us out and coming so close too! AH! Hammer heads too! Not too many but our diver were so happy to see them! So our lucky east side had everything for us today in countless Numbers of black jacks, creolfish, redtail trigger fish, Almaco jacks, cottom mouth jacks etc. Now talking more about sharks, from the first dive to the third one we had silky sharks in big numbers on each dive, over 150 of them easily!! They were patrolling the area in shallow water too! So we were never alone, the very tight school of them that made it difficult to count all of them! The third dive only about 40 silky sharks but all of the above too, really really a great breathtaking day of diving at roca! Dont you think?
    Dive Inst Daniel Zapata

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Greetings from Isla San Benedicto! We arrived to the island around 3pm in glorious conditions. The sun was shining, the sea was calm and dolphins welcomed us by bow riding along the Solmar V. We have the "Pelagic Life" group here this week so we're focusing much of our efforts on blue water interactions. So we jumped in the pangas a few miles from the island after spotting some groups of birds. We sped over to the birds diving in the water to find a baitball. This baitball had two striped marlin and a lone bottlenose dolphin. They were feeding on the last remnants of the bait as we arrived. After about 10 minutes, the bait was gone and we jumped on the pangas to look for more. We had some more luck with more baitballs, some with silky sharks, some with only bait, and another with more striped marlin and a sailfish. A good start to the week and not a bad introduction to our pelagic life here at san benedicto.
We still had one check out dive to do and found ourselves at Las Cuevas. The conditions were great with 70 ft. visibility and a surface temperature of 75 degrees (F). There was a ton of fish action in the water: jacks everywhere and even some yellowfin tuna feeding. We spotted a whitetip reef shark swimming around. We also found a skeleton. This skeleton was found by us last week for the first time. It's a false killer whale skeleton and still had meat on it. It must have been there for at least three weeks. It's intact and there naturally so it's a very rare and interesting find. We cruised around the rest of the dive checking out the caves and the many rays that happened to be around today.

A pretty good start to our week of diving the Revillagigedos. Tomorrow we're diving El Canon here and hopefully looking for some more baitball action. Until next time...

Dave Valencia

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our last day on the Solmar V was tremendously unforgettable!

Hola Amigos! 
Our last day on the Solmar V was tremendously unforgettable!

Back in San Benedicto, 7:30 am and already descending in the territories of El Cañón, 4 dolphins welcomed and escorted us all the way down to the anchor and leaded us to the hammerhead sharks cleaning station was, unfortunately the sharks weren’t there but in the blue, we saw the shadows on a distance and decided to go and check it out and of course they were there, a school of 30 or so baby hammerhead sharks were circling around black jacks in 40’ deep, I guess the 64F chilly thermocline was pushing them to stay shallow, above the thermocline. Even that they were kind of shy at least we could enjoy them for and instant before they swam away of us. During the safety stop a Chevron Manta swam by to check us out but didn’t stay long and disappeared in the blue.

During the surface interval while our passengers were having breakfast, we started watching in the horizon how the birds begun to built up the expected feeding dance, they had spotted something, we cheered up the people in going out and check what was going on out there, you never know what may see out there where the birds are going crazy, but we know that always something is going on, well, guess what?, something was really going on this time, we got in the water and this small red snappers that we have been seeing recently, gathered together at 30’ underneath the surface and maybe I don’t know exactly because we couldn’t count them, but there were at least 20 maybe more Sailfishes, few Striped Marlins and Dolphins feeding on this baitball, it was really an striking success, everybody got all excited, we could not believe what we were seeing, there just few places in the planet were this events happen, well here is one of those places, we kept coming in an out of the water for almost 3 hours being part of this mind-blowing moment!

We still have to do the last dive of the trip and the people was happily tired of swimming like crazy trying to keep up with the baitball, so we decided to go back to the Solmar V and do one more dive before to come back home, we did the dive and this time considering the big stuff wasn’t around, we just stayed by the reef taking photos and video of morays, octopi and lobsters that inhabit the crevices of El Cañón.

It couldn’t have been a better way to close this trip with this feeding
frenzy of sailfishes, marlins and dolphins together!

Stand by for video trip report!

Hasta la vista amigos!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Hola from Roca!

It was our last day here at Roca and we had some good diving. As we rode out to Roca on the pangas for the first dive we had dolphins bow riding. They didn't stick around for the dive, however, but they were nice to see nonetheless. On the north point we had quite a few galapagos sharks with silvertips, maybe 12 schooling together. We drifted to the south which was filled with fish. There were jacks, creolefish, and triggerfish everywhere. On the outside we watched as the school of galapagos and silvertips moved in and out of the bait.

Our second dive started with dolphins finally making an appearance. They were two juvenile bottlenose dolphins checking us out. They stuck around for about five minutes and like teenagers do, decided they had better things to do. So we waited on the outside of the bait and waited. Many sharks passed by, but the highlight was a huge baitball of skipjack tuna. They seemed to boil up from out of the blue and circled us as we got closer. We returned to the rock where we saw more silvertips in groups of three or fours.

Our last dive today had some heavy current, especially around the points where all the action was happening. There were so many fish and the school of sharks were there. This time I counted 20 silvertip sharks with 2 or three galapagos with them. They were approaching very close and coming around again and again. There were also some very large tuna 100 lb plus. They were rubbing against one another, a behavior we have just started to see. It seemed also that one would change colors and show stripes-this would be the one pursuing the other large tuna. It was quite a show with fish bigger than you are swimming circles around you.

Roca gave us some good diving this trip. We saw some things we haven't seen this season. Most remarkably the schools of silvertips. There were no silkies and the schools of galapagos seemed to changeover to this now mixed school of silvertips and galapagos. I can't wait to see what changes we see next week. Off to San Benedicto for some manta action.

Until next time...

dave valencia <(((><

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 1 at Roca

Hi all! From the amazing Roca Partida

    Despite the conditions due to hurricane Bud the weather has been
treating us very well at Roca! This trip we have a charter of all mexican divers led underwater by Dive Instructor Dave, Dive Instructor Erick, and myself, Daniel Dive Inst as well.
The whole day was great with a surface temp of 77F and in the low 70's with thermocline, Vis 60' and mild current from west during the morning, second and third dive mild as well from north.
The dives we did were great! Once again mother nature provided us with lots of Galapagos shark and siver tips and mixed in this school were 2 pregnant silver tips! The school of galapagos and silvertips swam from one end of the rock to the other several times during a dive, so everyone had an opportunity to observe their schooling behavior. And considering the pregnant females, hopefully we'll see a for new borns in the near future! On second dive we found about 10 hammerheads plus our many friendly white tips all over the Rock!  Out in the blue we found a school of BIG yellow fin tunas and we witnessed an interesting new tuna behavior. It was so good we're staying for another day! Stay tuned for more!
    Dive Inst Daniel Zapata

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Greetings from San Benedicto! Despite reports of a storm several hundred miles away, we had some pretty great weather and some amazing dives today..
We Started the day with two dives at El Boiler. Even before jumping in the water we had dolphins surrounding the boat. We quickly jumped in and had three dolphins zipping here and there. They seemed so excited they would go straight from 50 ft. and leapt out of the water and would come back down again. Soon they disappeared. So we checked out the many green morays, octopus, and scorpionfish. Then during the last 10 minutes of our dive they dolphins came back, this time with more dolphin friends and in a more playful mood. They swam in a tight group and swam around us many times. They were keeping a bit of distance away from the rocks in the blue, which was really nice for our photographers. The dolphins kept playing but it was time for our safety stop and they followed us all the way to the swim step.

In between dives we spotted a few mantas staying close to the surface and hoped it would be a good sign for our second dive. It started slow with my group checking out the pinnacle to the east, hoping to entice some mantas there, but to no avail. Instead we checked out more eels, octo, and scorpionfish. We made our way around the rock and spotted many creolefish away from the rock so we followed them into the blue. There I spotted 1 silky shark, then another then we saw saw a small school of 15 silky sharks come in and out of visibility. We were straying from the rock so we turned back and there was a manta leading the way. As we arrived back on the boiler antoher manta showed up and we knew our manta sightings from the surface was a good omen. These mantas played with us all for the last 30 min of our dive.

While all our guests were having lunch Dani, our lead divemaster, was sighting for birds on the horizon. He spotted lots of birds and dolphins maybe two miles away. This has been our new obsession since the baitball action has been so good. So we got everyone suited up and headed out for a blue water adventure. Dolphins greeted us as we got close to the tornado of birds. Upon jumping in, however, we didn't see any bait. Too bad...only dolphins and silkies, so we jumped in anyway. There was a marlin sighting early in the encounter, lots of silky sharks, and a pod of over 20 bottlenose dolphins. Everyone snorkeled in the blue watching dolphins play underneath among the many silkies. The longer we stayed, the more silkies accumulated. It's difficult to estimate, but by the end we had a school of over 100 silky sharks. They were acting as a school as well. They made a wall and if you held your breath and dove down, they would approach very close. They were swimming in a large circle around all of the snorkelers in the water. It's a good thing we weren't shipwrecked. 

San Benedicto was good to us today. Looking forward to another great one here in San Benedicto tomorrow.

Until next time...

Dave Valencia

Sunday, May 20, 2012

San Benedicto had one of it's incredible surprises waiting for us!

When you have to describe what we saw today, words just can't do it justice, you will have to come see for yourself!
To start the day we went to dive in El Cañon. Water around 71 degrees and visibility around 50 ft with a strong south - south east current. The conditions were the perfect combination to find a big Tiger Shark close to the Hammerheads Cleaning station, a gentle Chevron Manta and some Hammerheads hanging around in the dive site.
After this dive we decided to move to El Boiler, where we did our second dive of the day, with soft currents, clear and warm water. The highlight of this dive was the incredible school of Pacific Creoles surrounding the area and the gentle presence of an small school of Jacks. Now, when everything was going according to plan, San Benedicto had one of it's incredible surprises waiting for us.
After the second dive, coming back to the boat to have lunch we saw a lot of birds over a bait ball so we decided to take our snorkeling gear and go in a Panga ride to the bait ball to see what was going on, and A LOT was going on there.
We jumped and we found that at least 100 Silky Sharks, hundred of tunas and wahoos were feeding in the bait ball, and we where right there, with our cameras enjoying one of the mos incredible moments in nature. Just when everything was already a NatGeo moment, many dolphins came to join the party, and 8 Marlins show up too.
With all this incredible moment going on, more sharks came to the area, and we could spot Black Fin and some Galapagos sharks joining the action with the uncountable number of Silky Sharks, and of course again the dolphins and more dolphins...and when everything was just perfect, a Mobula Ray peacefully crossed through the middle action.
After that what else can you ask?? Well San Benedicto had another gift for us in our last dive. When we got in the water, soft currents and warm water made the perfect place for a huge school of big eyes Jacks with at least 7 or 8 silky sharks chasing them, making our last day in Socorro Islands quite memorable.
Now we are heading back to Cabo San Lucas with the feeling that we where in the middle of one of those special nature moments, and we deeply know that this kind of things will probably not happen again to us, so we are still having the images of the day going trough our minds and anywhere you look in the Solmar V you will find a big big smile and happy eyes.
Adios from paradise
Ricardo Tamaño
Dive Instructor