Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It was an exciting day here at San Benedicto.

Happy here in Isla San Benedicto. It was our first full-day diving at the beautiful San Benedicto island and it didn't disappoint. It was a sunny, warm day with lots of great sightings. We started the day at El Canon. The surface temperature was 75 degrees (F), a strong current from the East, and 40 ft.. visibility. As usual, we made our way to the corner, but this time because of the strong current we had to hold the grab hold of the rocks and take shelter behind the reef. On our way to the corner, we were buzzed by a manta, but it didn't hang around very long. Once at the corner, we spotted hammerheads immediately. We were front and center as a school of 50 plus hammerheads came around and around. It was so good we spent the entire dive there and drifted to our safety stop. That's the way we like to start the day on the Solmar V. 

Dive two showed similar conditions. This time at the corner, no sharks arrived. So we drifted a little further on the divesite in search. A few hammerheads showed up and even a galapagos shark made a close pass. Our group was engulfed by a very large school of burrito grunts. On the far side of the divesite we watched a single hammerhead swim steady in the current and then we drifted into the blue. A large variety of jellies like salps and siphonophores all throughout the water column. An interesting way to end dive two.

After the dive, we spotted a group of boobies, what looked like to be feeding on the surface. On closer inspection we noticed the boobies were surrounding a sea turtle as it was resting on the surface. So we jumped in the water to check it out. Underneath the surface, you could see 15 or so silky sharks bumping the poor turtle. When we hit the water, the silkies dove a little deeper and the turtle took refuge underneath the panga. The turtle allowed a very close interaction with the snorkelers in the water. Underneath the turtle, 15 silver/black pilot fish swam to keep up. We watched as the silkies circled us a some small silvertips sharks joined in. Finally, the turtle had enough and made a go for the shelter of a safe place at the bottom. The sharks, of course, pursued but we couldn't make out the ending. It was an exciting day here at San Benedicto.

Till next time,

Dave Valencia

Monday, January 30, 2012

Las Cuevas critters and the humpback whale song!

Our first dive of the trip took place at las cuevas (the caves) of San Benedicto Island.  It was nice to get in the water and feel a warm water temp of 75F with no thermocline.  We had no current, but there was a bit of surge which resulted in slightly lower visibility. We had fun diving the outer part of the dive site first before working our way into the caves. As usual the white tips sharks were ready to have their photos taken with as many as 10 in a frame.  We also ran into numerous lobsters, eletric rays, green sea turtles, and as a teaser one chevron manta showed up for a brief moment! During our safety stop we felt like were in an aquarium as we were surrounded by creole fish, and we can not forget to mention that we listened to the humpback whale song the entire dive, and the whales were singing so that loud we could feel it on our chest. Everyone still had a blast despite the sub-par visibility.
Dive Instructor Daniel

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Today was "The Sharky Day"

Hola Amigos!

Guess what?! Today was “The Sharky Day”, after having a great day in Roca Partida, we moved to San Benedicto Island to do the last diving day and finish our trip. Waking up back in El Cañón, there were already our friendly pod of dolphins playing and waiting for us at the surface, so, we kicked down the line facing a strong northeast current that was bringing up 60’ visibility of clear water with 75°F, knowing that the conditions were perfect for us because our chances to see big schools of hammerheads were high! In fact, we hadn’t even left the anchor when a group of 12 hammerheads were cruising the blue, suddenly 2 dolphins swam like rockets and we realized that were chasing a Bigeye Jack for breakfast, but this jacks are smart enough and have and amazing escape strategy that when they feel themselves that the predator is going to get them, right in the last second this jacks throw up what have eaten, it could be sardines or mackerels and distract and keeps the enemy entertained while the jacks escape.  After watching this game of the cat and the smart mouse, we finally got to the cleaning station and a massive school of 100+ hammerheads was already swimming over the reef, so we all hold on the rocks and wait for the school to swim over our heads, it was outstanding seeing a surface covered of this beautiful sharks!. Later on we spotted a galapagos shark shape like but when it got close to us we confirmed what it was an 11’ Tiger shark, that surprised one of the divers making him to drop his regulator for such a big surprise! Of course he put his regulator back in his mouth right away, it was hilarious. Back on the Solmar V and getting dry to relax and do our surface interval, one of the divers asked the divemasters what were a big group of bobbies and frigate birds doing in the horizon, we decided to grab our snorkeling gear, jumped on the pangas and went to check it out, when we got out there we found a bait ball full of silkies, about 50 sharks that were still hunting a small group of baby jacks, it was a first class adventure!

On our second dive we saw the same school of hammerheads but this time were swimming away of the reef, on the way back to the safety stop a Manta swam by and stay briefly playing with the bubbles of one of the divers.

By the third dive, the hammerheads were gone but few juveniles silver tip sharks came to the cleaning station to visit the butterfly fishes that keep them nice and clean, also we enjoyed the hundreds of Green Morays and Lobsters that inhabit the crevices of El Cañón. We are heading back to Cabo San Lucas to relax and chill out for couple days before to start another Great Wild Adventure aboard the Solmar V.

Hasta la próxima amigos!!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Roca Partida

Hola from the one of a kind Roca Partida!
Today was an extraordinary day here, starting with very blue water and easily over 100' visibility.  Wild dolphins escorted us in the pangas from the Solmar V to all the way to the dive site.  We dropped in on the north eastern side of Roca where we found at least 15 white tip sharks guarding the ledge at 50' before we made our way to the northern point of Roca.  Galapagos sharks were coming in and out of the depths along with silver tip sharks.  After we made it around the northern point onto the western side we stayed by the wall and spent our time looking for camoflauged octopus!  
On our second dive we had no current so we were able to make it all the way around the rock!  We ran into even more white tip sharks and watched as green eels  slithered their way up the hard coral wall of Roca.  Out in the blue we saw a few galapagos sharks.
The third dive we stuck to just one side of the rock this time.  The eastern side of the rock was full of galapagos and silver tip sharks at all depths!  We also ran into a few good sized hammerheads plus some of the big yellow fin tuna in the photo below! Water temp was in the low 70's with 80'+ visibility and no current at all.
Dive Instructor Daniel

Friday, January 20, 2012

What a great day here at Isla Socorro!

What a great day here at Isla Socorro!

This morning we awoke to the sun kissing the sky in an explosion of reds, purples, and yellows. A collage of colors silhoutted the welcoming Isla Socorro.

We had an amazing day of diving on one dive site, Punta Tosca. What made it even more exciting is that it was our first time diving this site all season. Our first dive greeted us with 76 degree (F) surface temp., light current, and 40 ft. visibility. Within seconds of entering the water, we had a manta. It was a very friendly manta as it made passes around the entire group. The manta even stopped and enjoyed the bubbles of more than a few divers. As we slowly drifted the wall, the manta followed and more mantas joined the fun. We then had three mantas until the dive's end.

Dive two started much the same way, as a manta eagerly awaited our entry into the water. The stronger current, moved us along the wall a little faster. We spotted a few white tip sharks and we could hear dolphins, but couldn't see them yet. We could hear the pangas zipping far overhead exciting the chirps and clicks of the dolphins so we knew they were close.. Dolphins appeared and swam zipped in front of us. They were curious this morning approaching very close. Even as we drifted from the wall, they continued swim circles around us. The highlight was one dolphin allowed one group to gently touch it for over a minute. There is a great  pic and some "gopro" footage as you can imagine. Even as we surfaced the dolphins bounded from the ocean around us and they were bowriding almost all the way back to the Solmar V.

Dive three at Punta Tosca was very nice. We drifted the wall slowly taking time to point out octopus, white tip sharks, and eels. We even spotted a few hammerheads here and there. We were surprised when a group of 60 hammerheads graced our presence. Not more than five minutes later a group of 30 or so hammerheads were seen silhoutted against the sun. Once in the panga, as many as 15 mantas were seen in the area feeding on the surface. A few jumped in to snorkel as they watched the mantas sommersault mouth wide open to feed on the microscopic plankton.
It was a memorable day here in Socorro and looking forward to more days like this one heading to Roca Partida tomorrow.

Until next time....
Dave Valencia

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It was a beautiful morning to dive "El Canon"

Hola from San Benedicto Island!
It was a beautiful morning to dive "El Canon", as we went down the line for our first dive, we had a bit of current from the north east, and because of this we had a good feeling that we were going to run into some hammerheads.  Once we got to 60' of water, we waited for a minute while playing with over 10 wild dolphin, before heading to the southern corner of the dive site.  By the time we got there, there were at least 40 to 50 hammerheads coming in and out from the deep.  As we made our way back to the boat, we saw a few octopus, lobsters, and the green moray eels were everywhere! We were entertained on our safety stop watching lots of creole fish. 
For our second dive, we had a little bit more current, so we continued with the same dive path.  This time we ran into some hammerheads, silver tips, LOTS of fish, and 3 mantas!
The third dive we did in 60' of water, and as we swam down the anchor line, there was already a giant manta waiting to play!  We decided to head north from this point, we ran into more hammerheads coming in and out that were not shy and came very close.  The manta we initially met on our descent decided to follow us on our journey north, and was soon joined by two more mantas!  We stopped swimming because we were surrounded by three acrobatic mantas swimming circles around us that wanted all our attention!  What a fun day of diving!
Inst. Daniel

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Everything checked out on our checkout dive!

Buenas Tardes from San Benedicto!!

It was our first dive of the trip this afternoon on Las Cuevas. This spot is know for it's alluring caves. There are two and can be stacked with whitetip sharks. Today we had 30-40 foot visibility, a slight current, and a surface temp of 75 degrees (F). Our dive started in the caves where we spotted three whitetips right away resting in the corner. We watched on as they brought water in their mouths and out their gill slits. As we moved out of the cave we swam around getting comfortable on our first dive together pointing out green morays, lobsters, and even a giant electric ray (whose name is misleading since they are maximum 2ft. long). Another very interesting find was a sea urchin spawning on top of a rock. It looked to us like a little volcano. We finished the dive zig-zagging through the caves and up for our safety stop. All divers came up happy to be in the water again and looking forward to more dive in beautiful San Benedicto.

Dave Valencia

Sunday, January 15, 2012

False Killer Whales at San Benedicto!

At 7 am, the sun hadn’t risen yet and the current was coming from the north, we were already diving in El Cañon’s cleaning station at 90’ watching how fabulous is that the butterfly fishes remove the parasites off the hammerheads sharks, this event happens only in the mornings, also we enjoyed a pod of about 10 bottlenose dolphins that came to the cleaning station but to chase and feed on the bigeye jacks, it was an epic morning dive!

We dove for a second time in El Cañon and we saw again a school of 20 hammerheads even without current they swam between all the divers like modeling for us, besides 5 different mantas that wanted to play with the bubble makers!

By the third dive we were back in El Boiler with a 40’ visibility and a strong north current that brought a termocline of 73°F and 3 mantas that majestically danced for us the entire dive, another splendid dive, how cool is that?

Getting ready to do the 4th dive and David spotted on the horizon a group of False Killer Whales, so instead diving we decided to jump on the zodiacs and go snorkel with them, it was a good decision to have done it because when we got out there it was a big group of whales like more than 50 individuals that let us be close enough to appreciate their beauty, everything was captured with the eye of Adil, our videographer aboard. 
Right now we’re sailing back to Cabo San Lucas and everybody is sharing their memories while enjoy Luis’s mango and strawberry best margaritas!

Stay tune up 

Hasta la vista!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Playful dolphins in the morning with schooling sharks in the afternoon!

Buenas Tardes from Roca Partida. 
It's been a fabulous second day here at my personal favorite dive spot. Our first dive of the morning started bright and early at 8am. As we moved into position on the pangas, we watched bottlenose dolphins bound in the early morning sun. The conditions looked good with very little current, 75 degree (F) surface temp., and 60 foot visibility. My group entered on the East side of Roca, as that was in the vicinity of the dolphins. Within minutes we had eleven dolphins swimming circles around us. They were very playful this morning and allowed very close interactions. Chirping and clicking, they allowed us to get close enough to touch. The dolphins were playing their favorite game of stalling mid-water, with their nose pointed to the surface, and slowly falling back to the depths. Over and over they did this in front of us as if trying to bring us with them. Needless to say, we had to watch our maximum depth on this one. Adil, our videographer, got some excellent footage of the entire episode. After about 15 minutes of play time, the
dolphins brought the rest of their pod. Thirty dolphins in total circled the group, some with very young dolphins. It was 25 minutes before they swam off into the blue. The group was ecstatic and so we continued our dive to the south point. There we noticed the creolefish were "walled-up" in the blue. This "wall" is a great spot to look or sharks. It wasn't long before I saw a single hammerhead, then the school of hammerheads apparated. They were thirty strong and made two close passes. As they swam by, everything went quiet and you had time to consider all the details that make these sharks amazing. And just as unexpected as they appeared, they were absorbed by the blue. We returned to the Solmar V with huge smiles. Everyone couldn't stop talking about our amazing first dive.

We were hoping for more dolphins on the second dive, but this dive brought sharks instead. We rounded the north point to see 10-15 Galapagos going in and out of the baitfish. Some were staying very close  to the rock, while others were making slow passes underneath at about 80ft. So we dropped in tp take a closer look. There the visibility open up and we sat and watched these 10ft. Galapagos go back and forth. There were also silvertips and hammerheads passing here and there. We moved to the west side and spotted a nice school of hammerheads. It was a smaller school of 15 hammerheads but we all still got a good look. The sharks were great, but I didn't even mention the countless yellowfin tuna. Overhead we spotted a few giants,
without a doubt 100 lb.+.

Our third dive showed some diminished conditions with 40 ft. visibility. However, we still made the best of it seeing many Whitetips, Galapagos, and Silvertip sharks. We ended the day taking pics in front of Roca Partida with our dive groups as the sunset. When we returned Luis, our steward, has already made margaritas for all who wanted. 
Until next time....

Dave Valencia

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Today was a breathtaking day according to our guests!

Hola from Roca Partida!
Today was a breathtaking day according to our guests!
For the first dive, we decided to drop in on the north eastern part of the rock, but just getting there was fun!  We had dolphins riding the waves in front of the zodiacs all the way to launch spot.  SO we get down to about 40' deep and the surge coming off of the rock instead of making it a bad dive, helped to keep the white tip sharks out and about.  There was a slight current coming from the south west, but it was not bad, so we decided to swim into it while following the clicking and "singing" from a pod of 20 dolphins! At the south western point, a lot was happening.  It's difficult to put into words the size of a massive school of black skip jacks.  We had silver tip sharks and galapagos sharks swimming in and out of the area.  For one minute we were alone in mid water with almost no fish at all, then the next second we were surrounded!
The second dive started from the south western point, and we decided to go further into the blue this time, where we saw big schools of fish and where all the action was!  We were surrounded by large schools that would part ways as we swam in the middle of them!  Shadows of near by silver tip and Galapagos sharks got our adrenaline pumping, even though we know they were only interested in the large yellow fin tuna that were close by! We were swimming along the north east wall between a lot of white tips and more yellowfin tuna, but what really stole the show was as we were enjoying 20 galapagos sharks we could see another group of hammerheads just to the south!  We got up to our safety stop towards the end of the dive, when a large school of black jacks decided to hang near us, and out of the blue came 10 adult dolphins and one excited calf that swam circles around us at lightning speed!
Our last dive of the day had a little bit of everything form the dives before, but one group led by our Dive Instructor David Valencia ran into a school of over 100 sharks composed of silver tips, galapagos, and hammerheads!  Water temp was 71F below thermocline, but the temp didn't bother anyone because of all the excitement!  Average vis. was 60'+ with a surface water temp of 77F.  
Roca was so good we decided to stay another day!
Instr. Daniel

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Today was "The Manta Day"!

Hey guys!

Today was “The Manta Day”!

Check this out folks: After spending an hour with the Mexican Navy, we moved to Cabo Pearce to start our diving day, I went down and set the anchor on the bottom of the dive site and my surprise was to see already 4 mantas!!, so I came back up to the boat and told everybody “The mantas are already waiting for us”, so everybody got excited and jumped to the water, having 75 F of water temperature and a visibility of 50’ and no current, we were welcomed by not only 4 mantas, there were 10 different mantas at least coming to the cleaning station and to enjoy our bubbles, it was outstanding!

Our second dive was even more active, we had 5 dolphins playing at the surface, when we descended the dolphins have gone but left us the same 10 mantas that we’ve seen in the previous dive plus another 5 different mantas that joined to the game, we almost had a manta for everybody!, don’t you think was hilarious!?
While some people were relaxing during the surface interval, others jumped to the zodiac and enjoyed one of the famous Jeronimo’s panga rides! So, after having our delicious club sandwich and people have taken a nap, we got ready to do our third and final dive of the day, we went down into the blue and the conditions have changed to give us just 30’ of visibility, tha mantas have gone but the wrasses gave us a complete spawning show as they always do at the dusk, we enjoyed this phenomenal event from mother nature, also we saw how the steel pompanos gather together at the surface getting ready to spend the night in the shallow reefs of Cabo Pearce.

That’s all for today folks!
Tonight we’ll move to Roca Partida.., stand by for more updates.

¡Hasta la vista!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's been hammerheads all day here in Isla San Benedicto.

Hola from the Solmar V,

It's been hammerheads all day here in Isla San Benedicto.

We started the day on El Canon. The visibility was 40 feet, with a slight current from the west and a surface temperature of 76 degrees (F). As usual, we spotted dolphins from the surface and hoped to catch a glimpse underwater. So we made our way to the corner hoping for some action. Right away we watched a large hammerhead come very close. We waited at the cleaning station and saw a few single hammerheads pass by. A manta even stopped in for a visit. Since we had yet to see a big school, we went hunting further east. That was a good move as all of a sudden we had a small group of 5 hammerheads swim through, then a manta circled us for a minute or two. Finally, when we made it to the deep area where there are three large rocks, we saw a good school of hammerheads 20 strong. It was a good interaction as they came around three times. 

El Canon remained our spot for dive two. Conditions stayed the same, with the exception of the current. Now the current was coming from the south so we changed our game plan a little. Searching again for those elusive hammerheads, we crossed to the southside of El Canon going into the slight current. As we approached the reef, two mantas glided overhead. Not to be distracted from our hammerheads, we stood watch into the blue. We saw a single hammerhead here and there, but no big school. So we kicked into the blue. Then it happened....A school of 60 or more hammerheads swam around and around. We even had them weaving through eachother and swam straight towards us before veering off into the blue. This, of course, was the highlight of the dive.

Dive three took us to El Boiler hoping for muchas mantas. The visibility was 40, there was little current, and 77 degrees at the surface. We started our dive with no mantas so we headed to the west end. A single hammerhead greeted us as a silhouette of a manta passed overhead. A good sign. We followed the creolefish (baitfish) in hopes for some sharks. On the outside of the fish we found hammerheads. One after another they swam by. In front of us, behind us. Two mantas joined in the fun. It was exciting to have so much diversity of life surround us. We made our way to the cleaning station and to our amazement, three mantas were already there taking turns getting cleaned from the clarion angelfish. Then another manta joined the group, and another, before it was over we had six mantas at once on the cleaning station. Everyone got great pics and video. 

Conditions had decreased for the last dive of the day. Visibility bordered 30 ft. So we tried our chances on the west side again. We had a good look at a hammerhead and had two mantas approach us and circle, but went about their business. We spotted a few hammerhead silhouettes, but nothing close. So we headed to the cleaning station and got a great interaction with a manta. This particular manta circled us and the would stall pectoral fins wide open and on its side so you could really contemplate its 20 ft wingspan.

Another great day of diving here at Isla San Benedicto. 
Dave Valencia

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hey out there!! Join us for a great adventure!!

Hola from San Benedicto Island, at Las Cuevas Dive Site!
It was a really nice and warm day to start a great trip!  Water temp was 73F with 40'+ visibility, absolutely zero current, we did a full dive circuit going from one cave to another a few times and everyone loved it!!  We actually spent time in each cave just watching white tip reef sharks approaching us which happened several times.  Once we were out of the caves we spotted three different green turtles throughout the dive.  It's always fun to see creole fish suspended in mid-water just like in an aquarium.  Then something else got our attention, and three dolphins decided to stop and hang out for a quick minute before heading off.  I turned around to check on our divers, they were waving and calling the dolphins, and the dolphins turned around and came back!  Continuing with the dive, we ascended to a shallow area of about 30' and spent some time enjoying colorful reef fish swim over the brown and green coral.  We found giant electric ray hiding itself under the sand, as to not be noticed, and the spiny lobsters were "friendly" and came out to say hi!  A lot of them!  So we were getting ready to finish our dive with a nice 3 minute safety stop (still with zero current), and we were surrounded by creole fish.  When we were back on the Solmar V everybody was smiling after a great first dive!  
Hey Out there!! Join us for a great adventure!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Roca Partida Rocks with the Solmar V!!!

Roca Partida Rocks with the Solmar V!!!

Today we had an awesome day at Roca, with more great weather!  he weather was sunny with no wind, under water the conditions were just as nice!  The water was a warm 75F with slight current and 90'+ visibility! We found a lot of great action both above the water and below! We had a bunch of sharks, dolphins, tunas, whales, and a school of false killer whales! The weather was sunny with calm conditions

We made three dives and they were all amazing!  Every dive we had at least 70 sharks around our divers! We counted about 20 hammerheads, 15 galapagos, 12 silkys, 10 silvertips, and plenty of white tip reef sharks patrolling the north and south corners of Roca!  We ran into a HUGE school of yellow fin tunas on every dive, plus a lot of jacks, wahoos, and  bonitas swimming together, we felt like we were inside of a natural aquarium!  

Between dives, we had a bunch of dolphins jumping around the Solmar V, and we saw a few humpback whales breaching near by!  We jumped in the pangas and got our guests close enough to take a few photos.  After our 3rd dive, we saw in the distance a large pod of dolphins, so we decided to jump in the pangas and do some snorkeling with them!  But when we dropped in, to our surprise we found a big pod of over 40 false killer whales!  We had an incredible time and swam with them for over an hour!  It was sooooo good!  Everyone is so thankful for the great new year conditions provided by mother nature!

Juan Gutierrez

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best Regards from Roca Partida!

Hola from Roca Partida!! Another day with great conditions, not only below the surface, but above too with flat ocean and no wind at all! 
Our first dive started with 60-80' visibility, 73F and no current!!  The first half of the dive took place in the north western area of Roca Partida.  We were surrounded by lots of creole fish, as we reached a depth of 90', we spotted 4 galapagos sharks and right behind them a big school of yellow fin tuna! Divers were having a blast watching them at depth, then we headed south west, and a world of fish was awaiting us!  Black jacks, creole fish, more yellow fin tunas,  and patrolling the point of the rock were more galapagos and silver tip sharks!  What a great dive!
When we were getting ready for the second dive, a pod of bottle nose dolphin came close to the boat, so many of our divers decided to snorkel with them while another group did the dive.  
The third dive was just as good as the first!  We were on the same side of the rock, with great conditions!  We always had a couple of hammer heads close by at around our depth, but we could see more a little bit deeper.  As we were watching the sharks at depth away from the wall, we were suddenly surrounded by a gigantic school of fish!  We were in the center of a big school of BIG yellow fin tuna.  Back on the wall, we found spotted moray eels, white tip reef sharks, bright orange clarion angelfish and red tail triggerfish!
Best Regards from Roca Partida!