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