We awoke to the calmness of our anchorage. The sun rose in an explosion of reds and oranges. The island seemed to soak up the colors and glowed in this morning's light. Our diving today took place once again at one of our favorite dive sites. It was calm on our first dive, with great visibility of 80'+, and a temperature of 73 degrees (F). We dove this site yesterday so people knew what they wanted out of it. We headed to a drop off looking for hammerheads. My group had a good sighting of 5 or so hammerheads, but the sharks kept to themselves. Dani's group headed into the blue and were treated to 30 or so hammerheads swimming around them. After the hammerhead hunt, we ascended to the cleaning station where a few mantas were already gathered. We had three mantas circling around the divers for the rest of the dive. We watched as they performed their mesmerizing ballet of flips and pirouettes for our cameras. Between dives we had some surface sightings of dolphins and humpback whales on the dive site so we were anticipating big things for our second dive. Instead of finding those marine mammals we were treated to MUCHAS mantas. We had at least five mantas at one time and many more individuals stopped by the cleaning station. The mantas were very playful and interactive stalling over divers and posing for lots of pictures! What made this dive unique was the many bright orange clarion angelfish mobbing the mantas and quickly cleaning them. The bright orange is a beautiful contrast to the black and white coloration of the massive mantas. Our third dive had two mantas at the beginning but it must have been late because after a few minutes of interaction, they said adios and swam into the blue and... The group was satisfied to turn to the reef and inspect all the life that was waiting for us! This site in particular houses so many octopus and it's rather common to observe mating, competition, and hunting behaviors. We also saw many tropical flounders, green morays, and a new sighting of nudibranchs: red-tipped sea goddess. We even saw a large school of tuna swim by a couple of times. It was a happy day of diving here on Socorro and we look forward to even BETTER diving tomorrow at Isla San Benedicto. Until next time! Dave Valencia
Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Hi guys! We are so excited about today and ready to go diving! So our first dive took place at a lesser known Revillagigedos dive site with a great vis of 70+ ft water temp 71f and some thermoclines of 69f at the depht, we felt a really mild current from north that didn't bother us, we are 5 minutes into the dive at 50ft of water, we look up to the surface and we have 2 mantas there, we are now drfting along in the current and it is taking us straight to the cleaning station which is only 40ft of water, didn't have to wait to long before 4 mantas showed up, so we spent the whole first, second and third dive here and counted up to 14 mantas along the day according to our Marine Biologists on board David and Erick! , but those mantas that don't want to go away never!! We had so much fun!! At the end of second dive we are drifting in 15ft of water safety stop and just coming out the blue and with out singing or here we go, 6 dolphins came by just for seconds, but this is not it! Also drifting one of the other groups had their own privated manta for long long time!! The cleaning station is great itself, lots of octopie, green moray eels, barber fish, trumpet fish, crown of thorms sea stars, leather bass, parrot fish, Mexican hogfish, etc, in shallow water during the third dive we enjoyed the company for minutes and minutes of a school of steel pompanos and of course a manta got into this school of fish surrounding us just like the fish, so we can tell that every dive we did was from 60 to 70 minutes of fun!! To end the day we were all taken in a panga ride with Geronimo and Luis along a beatiful volcanic wall with lots of bubbles and thru and arch! Can't miss it when you come to with us!! Gracias mother nature! Dive Inst. Daniel Zapata
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Hi folks! Today we did 3 dives at Roca Partida, but today the conditions were more a bit challenging than usual.
Going down into the realm of Roca at 7:30 am we found the Whitetip Reef Sharks just coming back to the ledges they were haunting as they always do in the dawn, everybody took all the pics possible and decided to swim toward to the blue in the search of sharks, but guess what!? All groups got involved in up & down draft currents that made it nearly impossible to hang out in the blue, so for safety reasons we decided to stick closer to the wall. We ended this dive with the Whitetip Sharks and the thousands Jacks that inhabit this “splendid” dive site, as our British divers on this trip called it. By the second dive the weird current had changed a lot, leaving us with the classic current that normally hits Roca, of course this dive was more relaxed and we could explore the surroundings of the rock with more confidence, we saw hundreds of Yellowfin Tunas that were cruising by and came to check us out as always. While we did our surface interval we had a lot of Humpback Whale action and Bottlenose Dolphins that also played with this enormous mammals, several whales were slapping and breaching close to the rock on the surface and kept us entertained and busy in taking hundreds of topside pictures and video. For the third dive we decided to hung out only in the north side of Roca where today was the only point where we found shelter, but all the action was cruising by there!!, we saw thousands of Tunas all sizes that cruised by, few Silvertip Sharks one Galapagos Shark here another one there and a five Silky Sharks that chased this school of Tunas.
Right now we are off to Socorro, we plan to checking in with the Mexican Navy in the morning and later we’ll go to visit the famous Cabo Pearce expecting hopefully to find the incredible Giant Mantas that tend to visit this site to get cleaned by the beautiful bright orange Clarion Angel Fish, and of course to have some dolphin action! Stand by for Socorro’s news...
Hasta la vista! Erick
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Hi everybody! Isla San Benedicto was glowing in this morning's sunrise. Two Humpback whales and a few dolphins floated just behind the Solmar V. That was the scene we awoke to this morning. We started our day of diving on El Boiler with beautiful visibility at 80ft., 71 degree (F) surface temp., and a strong current from the North. Upon entering the water we drifted to the shelter of the rock. We looked around all the nooks and crannies finding many green morays, lobsters, octopus, and scorpionfish. We took our time making our way to the cleaning station and finally the mantas showed up. Two chevron mantas played with our divers for the last 10 minutes of the dive. Our second dive yielded some even better action. Mantas were there straight away and we had four mantas together at one point. They came around and around revisiting the Clarion Angelfish on the cleaning station. We also were visited by a small group of 10 dolphins. The chirped and clicked with glee as they inspected our divers. The last dive of the day yielded more mantas. Not as many visited at the same time, but we had some different individuals stop by the cleaning station. It was a nice day of diving on our favorite manta site El Boiler.. Tomorrow we're off to Roca Partida to dive with the sharks. Until next time... Dave Valencia
Monday, March 26, 2012
Hi all from the great volcano at San Benedicto!! Well, today we did our check out dive at El Fondeadero, Isla San Benedico, current was almost zero from west, but the water temp really got us! 71f surface and 69f during the dive, vis from 30ft to 15ft at times, so we went diving and did 3 groups to have divers safer and confortables, a 50 minutes dive was enought to be in the water with lots of creolfish due to the plancton floating as we are descending, 12 metres down we see the rock, locky us that got to see green moray eels swimming free not afraid of us at all, lobsters and two white tip sharks, other people were playing with a big octopus, a manta for an instant of a second, time to come up! Surfacing First thing we see is our Captain Gerardo ready to help with fins and other scuba equipment! We finished the day with a great panga ride courtesy of the one and only Geronimo before watching a beatiful sunset. Inst. Daniel Zapata
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Hi from San Benedicto Island.
On our last diving day for this trip we had 4 incredible dives. Early in the morning we arrived to El Boiler and we performed 2 dives from our pangas due the sea conditions at the site.
We had the amazing view of some mantas coming to play with us, the always happy dolphins playing with our divers and a group of great Hammerheads approaching the dive site at around 100ft.
In the afternoon we decided to move back to the other side of the island to make our last 2 dives at El Cañon hoping to find some Hammerheads and silver tip sharks.
Like always in this place, we didn´t get disappointed, school of hammerheads and 7 baby silver tips sharks came close enough to our divers, making again our camera guest, David, the star of the dive with several really close up on the playful silver tips.
After the last dive, we came back with a big smile and hoping to be back in this paradise as soon as possible to enjoy this explosion of natural beauty.
We are now on our way back to Cabo San Lucas, we watched videos and photos taken during this trip and we can't wait for the our next adventure to the Socorro Islands!
See you soon
Ricardo Tamaño. Dive Instructor
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Greetings from the legendary Roca Partida. Today was another example of why Roca is one of the best dive sites around. This morning we awoke to a rising sun and Humpbacks breaching. They were causing quite a ruckus jumping and tail slapping. We even watched two humpback swim within spitting distance of the boat. But by the time we got our gear, they were diving. Still a lot of fun to see... We were met by some strong current from the south on our first dive. This created a little bit of a challenge, but nothing we weren't up for. The current created lots of fish to gather on the south point so that's where we wanted to be. We counted 10 or so Galapagos sharks, a few silver tips, and two hammerheads. During our safety stop we even witnessed a rare appearance of a mobila curiously swimming by. We knew to expect the current on the second dive so we strategically placed ourselves well upcurrent. Fortunately, we drifted into a great spot and saw a large group of 30 hammerheads straight away. They circled in front of us and below us. There even seemed to be more that we couldn't see. We spent the dive going in and out of the ever present creolefish. We spotted many Galapagos sharks, especially at around 100 ft. They were keeping deep today. We also watched in awe as a humungous school of Yellowfin Tuna happened by. If you haven't seen this before it's breathtaking. Tuna by the hundreds thunder by, some the size of a small car. They move together and look into your eyes as if wondering why you were there. We drifted to the east side of the rock checking on the many white tip reef sharks nestled together on their ledges. We even bumped into a sea turtle, which is very rare for us here in Roca. Upon surfacing from the second dive, we saw a whale breaching vrey close. So we picked everyone up and drove the pangas very quietly in the vicinity. The whales surface many times close to the pangas and we even tried to jump in with them, but they were determined to keep to themselves today.
Our third and final dive was great. We dropped into the same spot on the south well away from the rock. Literally seconds of getting in, we saw a school of 15-20 hammerheads. Their ghostly appearance allowed them to come into view and out without a trace. We enjoyed a nice baitball of skipjack tuna, as well as another huge school of Yellowfin Tuna. A lot was happening on the outside of the bait. Of course we saw some Galapagos and silvertips, but none approached too close. Nonetheless, a great day at Roca Partida. We're off to Isla San Benedicto looking forward to some manta action at the Boiler tomorrow. Until next time. Dave Valencia
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Hi everyone from the amazing Roca Partida!
Before I talk about our incredible day of diving, I have to mentinon that we woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the bow of the Solmar V with Roca as the background, what a way to start a day!
For our first dive we went around Roca starting on the east side then north and back to south on the west side,along the beautiful wall. Along the tour we encountered lots of cottonmouth jacks doing all type of formations from depth to shallow water, off the rock we also saw yellow fin tunas, a silky shark was there to say Hi all! On the north point at 90ft of water we ran into 2 Galapagos Shark, and we had dolphins for about 3 minutes! The west side always nice with those big lobsters, octopus hiding in the hard coral, lots of baby white tip sharks, time for a 3 minutes safety stop drifting along in this mild current, so nice dont have to swim at all! We had a mild current from south, water temp 73f and vis of 100ft(+).
The second dive took place on the south point, the advantage of this south point is that here we don't feel the current and we see everything coming around!! The big black jacks at Roca aren't shy at all, they come very close, sometimes they even come right up to your lens for that perfect photo! Redtail trigger fish do so too, many many of them, we also saw lots of pacific creolefish, green moray eels, and lobster too! We found a really sea urchin with long black spines and when we can find a cleverly hidden octopus, they are a joy to play with!
We were enjoying a beautiful day on board of Solmar v and almost ready to go for our third dive, when we spotted 3 humpback whales! We jumped in the pangas to get a closer look, but they disappeared before we could get much closer. On our way back to the boat, we saw birds flying over an area, so we went to investigate we went there and HAY CARAMBA!!!! Bait ball right on the surface! There were too many Silky sharks to count, plus a lot of yellow fin tunas, and mahi mahi all feeding on this ball of fish!! We spent 20 minutes snorkeling there! We had perfect conditions on all our dives!
So we are closing our diving day with a breathtaking sunset and after a day like today, we are definitely staying for another day at Roca! Dive Inst. Daniel Zapata
Monday, March 19, 2012
Good evening from San Benedicto, Today was our second day diving here. After a great diving day, we are heading now to Roca Partida. We know great diving are waiting for us there, but in certain way we all feel sad of leaving this special place where the Mantas, Hammerheads, Silver Tip, White tip, and Galapagos sharks made our 4 dives just memorable.'
We enjoyed 3 dives at El Cañon and our last dive was at The Boiler. The water temp. was around 70 degrees (F), we had 50 ft. visibility in the early dives, and more than 80 in the last 2 dives, and a slight current changing during the day from the S to the NE at El Cañon, and very nice and challenging SE current at The Boiler. At El Cañon we had two big gentle Galapagos Sharks playing around us for
more than 10 minutes, giving our divers the chance to get great photos and videos and interact with these magnificent animals. Near the corner, we were welcomed by some large hammerheads hanging around the cleaning station. Near the cleaning station we had a couple of small silver tip sharks that were very curious about one of our guests small video camera, showing their interest by touching it several times, what of course made the best footage of the day for our guest David. While we went in the other side of the site, we had the visit of a group of 5 very curious great hammerheads.
In our second dive, we had the great surprise of giant manta coming towards our group of divers and enjoying their bubbles and flashes from the cameras, making each one of our customers finish this dive with a big smile and ready for a lunch break. In the afternoon we made our last dive at El Cañon with a fantastic visibility of around 70 to 80f and of course more hammerheads moving in the area to make these 3 dives unforgettable.
For our last dive we moved to The Boiler, and we all had a great time with tons of lobsters, eels, octopus and of course the giant mantas hanging around the site, playing with the divers. After these 4 dives everybody was ready for a great dinner and to rest for some great dives tomorrow at Roca Partida. Saludos, Juan Ricardo Tamaño
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Buenas Tardes from San Benedicto, It was our first day of diving here and we had a great time! We had a touch of wind so we spent the day diving the famous El Canon. Our first dive of the day was high with anticipation. As we all know this site is known for hammerheads. Today we were not disappointed. The water temp. was a brisk 70 degrees (F), we had 40 ft. visibility, and a slight current from the NE. At the corner, we were welcomed by a number of large hammerheads hanging around the cleaning station. Also at the cleaning station were five very small silver tip sharks. This is the only dive site we see these newborns only 1-1.5ft in length. Very interesting since we do not see any large silvertips here at El Canon. While the group hung out on the corner we saw many hammerheads entering and leaving the visibility. We saw silhouettes above us in the numbers of 20 and we saw a number of small schools of 5 or so approach us closer. Always a great way to start the day. In dive two we hoped for some more hammerheads. As we arrived at the corner a large school of 50 or more hammerheads glided overhead and then swam towards us. We watched as they showed their profiles and moved in unison. We waited on the corner for more and watched on as the school swam overhead once more. Shortly after, we had a manta make a surprise stop only to continue on with its day. Of course the baby silvertips were still swimming around trying to figure out what to make of all this. Dive three yielded a hammerhead here and there. We spent most of the time spotting green morays, octopus, scorpionfish, and lobster. Everyone was happy with that since they had been wanting a chance to take some pics of those critters we had been passing by.
On the final dive of the day, the visibility had dropped off a bit and the current had changed to a more southerly direction. So we moved to the opposite end of the dive site hoping for something new. After enjoying a few playful octopus, we ran into a 8ft Galapagos shark. This shark swam around and around in the same spot, as we have been observing other Galapagos sharks in the last previous trips here in San Benedicto. We also saw it being trailed by one of the newborn silvertips, which was quite cute. Although we had a little wind, we made the best of it and enjoyed a successful day of diving here at El Canon.
Saludos, Dave Valencia
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Hi All!! from San Benedicto Island! Well, we continue with our days of diving here, although the water temp remains the same 73f we did another 4 dives, mostly at dive area called DOS HERMANOS and of course at EL CAÑON TOO! Just to star the dive here we descend to 50' of water, beautiful colorful reef, lots of marine life! The vis was approximately 60 to 80', hard coral greens and brown, endemic orange clarion fish, lobsters, green moray eels, leather bass, jacks, scorpion fish, bright yellow long nose butterfly fish, barber fish, creolfish etc. All the colors together over the reef make it look alive and very healthy and more because the contrast of a brown rocky bottom with some Grey color sandy spots, during the dives, one time we had 5 mantas in the same frame other didn't stay for too long just flying by! It could be a cleaning station for mantas! If you go a bit deeper you will find several drop off along the dive area which is where we spoted a few hammer heads, also I have to say we found this top part of a cliff where 3 to 4 good size Galapagos sharks like to hang out, they came in and out repeatedly, a silky shark came in to say "Hi" too! Between dives it is always nice to rest on board the Solmar V, but we had to jump into our wet suits again right away! A bait ball was out there calling our names, so we got geared up go, got in the water and it was amazing to have the opportunity to see Yellow Fin tuna surrounding you! ah! And some of the yellow fin tunas displayed an interesting behavoir rubbing against the tail of silky sharks. Our dive at EL CAÑON was also good, at 80' of water sandy bottom we had probably 10 hammer heads, a manta flying by and is getting usual to see silver tip sharks at one the rocks too, 75' of water, i have to say vis at the worst 20' but other areas up to 50'.
We hope you enjoy reading about our expeditions but there is only one way to make it come true, join us!!!! Dive Inst. Daniel Zapata
Monday, March 5, 2012
Hi fellows! Here we are directly from the SolmarV transmiting the good dive news for all those that are tuning this frequency.
Weather conditions prevented us from going all the way around San Benedicto to visit El Boiler, the wind has been blowing the last 4 days with a speed of 15 knots, but that was not a problem at all, because we have had great dives on El Cañon. In the first dive just going down to get the top of the ridge, we encountered a pod of about 15 dolphins that played with all of us for about 15 min before disappearing into the blue, then we swam to our usual cleaning station where we found 2 mantas that showed us their majestic dance. For the second dive we moved to the southwest side of San Benedicto and encountered the same pod of dolphins, but this time they stayed the whole dive playing and driving all the divers crazy! Some divers were dolphin style swimming others were holding on the bottom watching hammerheads and other divers were dancing with 2 mantas that have joined to the party, this was a party dive! All the celebrities made an appearance and kept us busy for long time, nobody wanted to come up and finish the dive because the action didn't stop, unfortunately we had to ascend and finish the dive because our air was low, it was a lot of fun! By the third dive the visibility have decreased to 20', but even though we had 3 playful mantas that again stayed with us the whole dive. The fourth dive we decided to stay at the cleaning station and be part of the reef to watch the juveniles silvertip sharks that the last months have been hanging around the cleaning station of El Cañon, besides these sharks the school of Burritos Grunts were swimming in between all the divers. Even though the weather conditions weren't as good as usual we had a great diving day as we always do when we are diving in El Cañon. See you later, stay tuned up for more news Erick
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Hola, March has started off with a bang and given the great interactions we had today, we're going to call March the month of the Manta. What a exciting day here on Isla San Benedcito. We had some wind today, so we stayed here on El Canon. It's a good thing too because everything was here. Our fist dive gave us a 73 degree (F) surface temperature, 40 ft. visibility, and a slight current fron the south. As soon as we entered the water we had a good look at a monster Galapagos shark. It was 10ft. long or so. It kept zig-zagging amongst the coral heads. It's curiousity gave us a good interaction. As we made our way to the receiver, we found a hammerhead here and there. I could make out a few more in the distance, but the big school was keeping itself secret this morning. We slowly drifted to our usual spot on this dive, the corner. There we saw three silver tip sharks on the cleaning station. They were circling. We started making our way around the dive site and we ran into two mantas. These mantas were quite friendly making close passes and even following us up during our safety stop. Our second dive took us in much the same direction. This time we were determined to find the school of hammerheads. We deduced that since they weren't in the blue, they must be over the sand. So we rounded the divesite. We had a few close passes of groups of two and three hammerheads. We even saw some more silvertip sharks. One manta stopped by to see how our hammerhead seeking mission was going, but didn't stick around to see the result. Finally, I saw a group of ten cross from a coral head into the sandy area. We followed closely, staying close to the ground so not to startle them. Then we saw a large school swimming directly towards us. We watched the school shuffle from in front of us to past us. The group must have been 50 or more strong. It was great. We hoped to see them once more, but instead a friendly manta swam to us and she brought a friend. They circled above our bubbles, tickling their bellies. We knelt in the sand as they brought their bellies closer and closer, making one guest have to lay down in the sand so not to make contact with the manta.
These mantas were enjoying the bubbles so much they just stopped swimming when the bubbles touched them and began to sink on the head of the divers.. Amazing! This is how we ended the second dive. Dive three was an all manta dive. We found a manta straight away. This was a different individual. Another showed up, then another. Before we knew it as many as 5 mantas circled above us. They were swimming very close to the sand and hovered above our bubbles once again. They even reacted the same way, sinking on top of the heads of a few divers. This is odd behavior, as we interact with these mantas all the time but rarely do they do this. The mantas swarmed around us and we enjoyed their presence for the entirety of the dive. All came up from the dive beaming from the amazing interaction that just took place. Dive four took us to the same site. It was working for us all day, so why change it? We saw two Galapagos sharks and as many as ten silver tip sharks. All at different times. The silvertips are an interesting find since they are all very small silver tips, in the 1.5-2ft range. They must be newborns and we saw them all over the dive site. We saw a few hammerhead silhouettes but they never materialized. Just as the dive was going to end, a manta shows up. This was a black manta and very friendly. Tickling its belly on the bubbles of all the divers as we knelt on the sand. Again this manta displayed the interesting behavior of sinking on top of a diver. So much so that one diver had to lay down in the sand. We were laughing so much our masks filled with water. What got into the mantas today? Regardless, it was an amazing start to the month of the Manta. Until next time.... Dave Valencia
Friday, March 2, 2012
Hi all again from San Benedicto island!!!
We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day during the morning and a little windy for the rest of the day we went diving 4 more times!! Our dives took place in different areas, like The famous CAÑON, EL FONDEADERO AND DOS HERMANOS, water temp in all dive sites 73f, vis from 40' and 60' at times, all day mild current from west but zero current during the second dive! For those dives at el cañon and due to the current we decided to anchor on the west side and use our descent line to 50'of water to stay safe, we had manta encounters all over the the dive area, every time the mantas did slow, full circles around us, the contrast of watching a chevron manta underneath us and the sandy bottom as background is breathtaking when you are perfectly neutral! You notice every detail on the manta, nothing moves but the manta around you!! I can't leave sharks out of this, especially not the hammer heads! We had small groups here and there, they were close to us... very close... it definitely got our adrenaline pumping! The rocks had brown sea urchins all over, lots of fish, octopus, lobsters, scorpion fish, green moray eels, flounders, jacks, etc. All the life encourages you to relax at the depth after the close encounters with the hammerheads, now let's add a few juvenile silver tip sharks that kept swimming in and out, but closer every time and we are barely breathing to let them come closer for a great Photo!! Ahhh!! I also have to say you need to turn around always keep an eye out to what's around you, because those Galapagos sharks we saw were very robust, curious and also like to come VERY close, is a good idea to have extra pair of eyes looking for things around you such as your dive buddy or the dive masters. To finish talking about el Cañon --i have to say this!!!--- 10 minutes into the dive, to be more precise the last one, we had an encounter with a tiger shark, we can really tell it was 10'(3 mtrs) in lenght, 10, 15 seconds we couldn't take our eyes off of it, probably not too much time for others but knowing how rare are to find them those second were to enjoy it and another adrenaline rush! The other 2 dive sites were great too with mantas, hammer heads on the sandy bottom, white tips sharks, giant electric rays, lobsters, octopus, etc... What do you guys think about today's dives? Dive Inst Daniel Zapata