Saturday, February 9, 2013

Two unforgettable days at Roca Partida.

Two unforgettable days at Roca Partida. 
This morning began with a momma and baby humpback whale breaching off the bow. We watched on as the baby seemed to enjoy practicing his breaches. They seemed to be frequenting the South side of the rock so we hoped they might visit us with a swim-by. Instead we were witness to thousands of creole fish and red-tailed triggerfish filling the water column. There were sharks everywhere. Countless galapagos, silkies, silvertips, and of course whitetips made their way through the mass of fish. There were of course yellowfin tuna in abundance on the outside of the bait constantly zipping by. At depth we found a huge mixed school of galapagos, silvertips, and hammerheads. It was difficult to count, but in the neighborhood of 75. They schooled around my group a few times and slowly followed along the rock. As the sharks moved around us a Giant Pacific manta made a surprise visit. For the remainder of the dive we just hovered and enjoyed all the abundance of life swimming before s. 
Between dives we had, again, the opportunity to jump in with the momma and baby humpback whales. The baby was playing while momma layed motionless at 30-40 ft. She watched just in case things got out of hand and after 10 or 15 minutes she decided they would move and relax elsewhere. We followed along on the pangas and jumped in swimming with them twice. The baby made very close passes with everyone and then would dive back down to momma, taking shelter underneath her enormous pectoral fin. Then the baby would peek out and come back up for another play and do it all over again. Of course this left all our guests blown away from the incredible interaction we just had and it goes without saying everyone wore a smile today.
The second and third dives were just as good as the first with lots of sharks moving through the bait fish. We found schools of hammerheads on every dive and often times found them mixing with other sharks. On the last dive we had spotted yet another manta. This is rare for us to see
mantas at Roca Partida. We always have sightings in large numbers at San Benedicto and Socorro, but mantas in Roca have been rare. Not long after the manta swam by on our safety stop we caught a glimpse of the humpback momma and baby swimming by. It was very lucky and it was only for a few seconds but it was an invitation. So we put our dive gear away and came back out in the pangas one more time and swam with momma and baby. They allowed us to get very close and I have to say mommma was very tolerant. But we watched as the baby clumsily swam around us and then swam back to momma again and again. This is how we ended our time at Roca Partida. As the sun rays peaked through the clouds this evening we waved good-bye to Roca Partida and we take away some of the most amazing experiences of our lives. What an incredible two days! 
We start our day tomorrow at San Benedicto looking forward to experiencing more of this special place.
Until Next Time,
Dave Valencia

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