Thursday, January 31, 2013

It was a full scale manta attack!

Greetings Solmar Fans!
We had a full day of diving here in Isla Socorro filled with some great sightings. We spent the entire day here at Cabo Pearce.
Our first dive showed some of the best visibility we have ever seen here. You could view the whole dive site which is quite large with easily more than 100 ft. visibility. There were a few mantas around but they weren't in a very playful mood. There were also a few hammerheads spotted, that stayed a little deep. It wasn`t until the second dive that the mantas really showed up. It was a full-scale manta attack. There seemed to be mantas from all directions. I counted five at one time and at least 10 individual mantas checked in at the cleaning station. We had mantas of all sizes and even had a little mobula following one of the Giant Pacific Mantas. It was an unforgettable dive. Our third dive, however, was the highlight. The mantas were there, although not in great numbers. Whatever was lacking in numbers of mantas was made with dolphins. Dolphins dove down to us and swarmed us taking out attention away from the mantas. It was amazing to have mantas and dolphins and divers all in one experience. The last dive had a couple of mantas and I'm sure they must have been exhausted from the exciting day! So we spent more time examining the reef octopus, scorpionfish, flounders, and eels. It was a relaxing dive, and a heck of a day.
Until Next Time,
Dave Valencia

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The whales are here at San Benedicto!

Hi all! 
The whales are here at San Benedicto! We are very excited about trip #9! We did 4 dives starting with el FONDEADERO. There was a mild current that allowed us to drift along the reef enjoying the 77F degree water. 
White tip reef sharks were swimming all over the place which kept our cameras busy taking photos! We explored the reeef and found many lobsters, green morays, giant electric rays, and tons of fish over the reef.  We didn't find any mantas on our first dive, so we decided to move to a spot where we knew there was a good chance we would find them.
We moved to El Boiler and found a little bit of everything! The first thing we noticed right away was a much improved visibility from our previous dive site! We ended up spending the rest of the day here with more little critters!  On the south west point we found a hammer head shark, then we drifted alongside 4 dolphisn with the current coming from the south!
After a great day of diving we were pulling away from our dive site after our 4th dive of the day, and a mama humpback, her baby, and escort humpbacks swam right over the dive site! They joined the party a little bit late, but it was still fun to watch them jumping and tail flapping from the pangas! Now we are off to Socorro island!
Dive Instructor
Daniel Zapata

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our first day of the trip has started with a fantastic display of nature!

Wow! What a day!

We have a nice group of multiple nationalities on board this week from Russia, USA, UK, Belgium, and Spain. Today is our first day of the trip and it has started with a fantastic display of nature. We arrived to Isla San Benedicto around 4 pm after a day of preparation. As soon as we could see the island the magic began. Dolphins appeared and began jumping and bow-riding allowing everyone to enjoy the excitement. It was nearly a half hour of dolphin time and then we had four humpback whales blow no more than 100m off our port side. We watched but kept moving along to our destination. Four more humpbacks were floating on the surface as we arrived near to the dive site. They were blowing, but no jumping. It was starting to get exciting. We all started putting on wet suits and waiting for our briefing when a tremendous amount of birds began to circle. They started attacking the surface of the water and there was splashing from sharks and yellowfin tuna which meant....BAITBALL!!! 
So we had a group meeting and explained the situation: we could a) do our check out dive OR b) do a baitball session. There was no hesitation and everyone piled into the pangas. We made our way to the action and it looked very good. We followed the safety protocol we have developed for bailballs to make sure things were ok for our guests and asked everyone to drop in and stay near the panga. It was unbelievable! There was a flurry of large yellowfin tuna as well as silky sharks, galapagos, and blacktips. It was all we had hoped for and more! The action subsided and we hopped out and decided to circle around in the pangas allowing the sharks and tuna to continue to feed and we would jump back in. It worked. As soon as we motored away, the tunas were breaching the surface like rockets and the dorsal fins of sharks were everywhere. This is what we wanted so we jumped back in and the action was on again. We did this a few times until everyone had their fill of baitballing and headed back to the Solmar V happier than ever. As we arrived back and we started to laugh and discuss all the excitement, Humpback Whales started breaching as the sun was setting....Perfect!

Until Next Time,

Dave Valencia

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our final day was the best!

Our final day was the best!  We woke up very early in the morning planning to dive the canyon but visibility wasn`t good due to a swell. So we had to move to the Boiler and it was the best thing that could happened to us!  There were mantas were all over, 3 giants at the same time interacting with every diver plus some dolphins that were showing up now and then. Now heading back to Cabo, time to share experiences, photos and videos onboard.

Claudio Divemaster.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mantas on every dive at San Benedicto!

Hello from San Benedicto
Today we`ve been diving in San Benedicto Island. We stayed at El Boiler all day long, and the four dives we had here were just unique. When you come to El Boiler, you expect to interact with Mantas, that is what EL Boiler is known for. Well today the divesite gave another reason
for it`s reputation. Each single dive we had one or 2 mantas playing with our divers for more than an hour!! Chevron and Black mantas mixed with some occasional hammerheads, made for a great day. The water temp. was 77/75 degrees, and visibility was around 90+ ft for the morning dives, and around 50 ft for the afternoon ones. It was a mild current coming from the NW all day long. Now we are anchoring at El Cañon where we will spend the night and start tomorrow early morning our last diving day of this fantastic trip!
Until the next report!
Ricardo Tamaño
Dive Instructor

Thursday, January 24, 2013

We had a great day at Roca Partida, everyone got the chance to interact with dolphins and we saw lots of galapagos shark and silvertips.  Another cool thing was to see big tunas chasing its prey, and we found a lot of action at north point. We also found lots of jacks, big rainbow runners and wahoos. 
During our surfaced interval we got a cool visitor right next to the SolmarV, a humbackwhale and her calf! Some of our guest had the chance to jump in the water with our resident underwater photographer, Eric Higuera, to get some photos, see below!
Tomorrow we go for more mantas and hammerhead in San Benedicto!!!!!
Claudio Divemaster.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Playful dolphins and schooling hammerhead at Socorro Island

Hi there!
We did our first morning dive at Punta Tosca hoping to find our friendly female dolphin that loves to be pet by divers. While we weren’t lucky enough to find her this time, on the second dive we found four other dolphins that really got excited when they found us! One of them stayed with us 30 min of the dive and suddenly 3 more joined to the game, also we got to see 2 mantas that swam by next to the dolphins!
During the lunch we did our typical navy check in, what this time we were lucky, we took only one hour to do it. We moved to Cabo Pearce to do one more dive and finish another dive adventure on The Solmar V. The visibility was  40’ and a chilly thermocline of 73 F/ 21 C, even though we had the chance to find a massive school of hammerhead sharks that cruised by the reef! Tomorrow, we plan to dive at the famous Roca Partida! Let’s see what it offers us this time!

¡Hasta la vista!

Erick Higuera

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mantas, dolphins, hammerheads, tiger shark and more!

Hola from San Benedicto!
Today we had our first full diving day at El Cañon. We started the day with a couple of mantas and dolphins playing at the surface, while we were getting ready for the first dive! As soon as we jumped in the water we saw a couple of hammerheads down deep, near the cleaning station on the south end of the dive site. With our divers we waited at that spot, and we were rewarded by a group of 10 sharks coming close to our guests, giving them the opportunity of taking great photos, and even get even some "face to face" action. Silver and white tip sharks came to join the party, and finally our guest of the day, a Tiger Shark made it`s appearance in the action. Water Temp was 77/75 the current was mild/strong and the visibility was around 60 ft.
For our second dive, we had pretty much the same conditions, and we could see different groups of Hammerheads, some on the south east, some in the south west, and a couple over the sandy bottom. By this time of the day we were wondering about our friends, the Mantas, and they showed up at the surface again, near the boast, so our divers were able to jump in and snorkel with it while waiting for our 3rd dive. For the afternoon dives, we had 100 ft visibility and the water temp. was the same, but was almost no current at the site, although, the hammerheads and the tiger shark were still there! One of the groups had the chance to swim in the middle of a 30 + sharks school in the north east side of the area in about 60 ft of water. San Benedicto gave us a great diving day, and tonight we are heading to Socorro Island to have another great diving day. 
Until the next time, good bubbles for everybody
Dive Instructor

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dolphins, mantas, and a glimpse of a humpback!

Hola Solmar V fans,

We awoke at Isla Socorro ready to check-in with the navy but they told us to go for a dive and come back later, so we did. Our diving day started at Punta Tosca. When we arrived so did the dolphins! They jumped around the Solmar V  waiting for us to get in the water! So we loaded the pangas and dropped in. The dolphins played with us for the entire dive.  Zipping around from diver to diver and playing their favorite game of stalling and sinking. That`s when they stop in mid-water and wait for you to get close enough and they drop away to deeper water. They did this over and over again making all of us very happy divers. Our group from Turkey had a special interaction with an even friendlier dolphin that allowed them to gently stroke it for nearly five minutes. They got some great gopro footage and pics. The rest of the groups drifted while mantas gathered and circled, four in the end of our safety stop. But we managed a total of seven different mantas on the dive. Not a bad way to start the day. Our second dive was another show stopper. Along the wall two groups were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a humpback whale. It didn`t stay for long but long enough for them to catch a sight of a lifetime. All the groups ended up on the shallow side of the divesite and had a run-in
with some friendly mantas. There were four in total and two were especially receptive to divers blowing bubbles underneath it. We all took turns approaching the giant manta and blowing bubbles underneath while the manta would stall motionless. It was quite exciting for everyone. Our third dive had some strong current. It kept us near the wall where we spotted a few white tips, lobsters, and eels.

The diving today was great and were hoping for more here in Socorro tomorrow.

Until Next Time,

Dave Valencia

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rough Conditions at Roca

Our day at Roca Partida was challenging! We had a bit of wind all day and some larger than average swells, and is a reminder of why Socorro is an advanced dive destination.  Water temperature was about 77-78 F and a strong northern current brought up green water with a limiting our visibility, but even so, there were a lots of whitetip reef sharks everywhere, swimming between all of us without caring!
On the first dive, we had the opportunity to dive and play with a pod  of at least 20 bottlenose dolphins that hang out the first 15 min of the dive, wait for Adil’s 5 min video trip report and check how much fun we had with these dolphins! Besides the dolphins, Dave and his group found a huge school of hammerheads, could see them only from far away though, these sharks were beyond their reach, at least at 150’ deep! By the third dive the visibility got a bit poor, about 20’, but as soon as we dropped at the north point, several Galapagos and Silvertip sharks hang out there, they kept coming back and forth and getting so close to the divers that the ones with cameras had the chance to capture great pictures, everybody else left great memories!
Far away from the rock we could see a huge school of yellowfin tunas swimming in the blue. Unfortunately because of the conditions we decided not to stay another day at Roca another day, now off to Socorro Island! We're hoping for better conditions and amazing dives at our next stop!
Stay tuned!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We didn't need to look for mantas, they were all over!

We had a great day at San Benedicto!!! On our first two dives at "El canyon" we got mantas and hammerheads for everyone! But the best were the two last dives of the day at "El Boiler." The first one with mantas, and some silvertips. Second dive was the best, 3 giant mantas at the same place during the all dive, there was no need to swim at all. They kept coming to us playing with all the divers we literally didn`t need to look for them, they were all over. Everyone is very happy and tomorrow we expect to have more happy faces because we are heading right now to "Roca Partida". 
I feel sorry for all those that can not be on board with us. No worries, there are more trips to come!

Claudio, Divemaster.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Beautiful conditions at San Benedicto

We made it!!! We arrived here at Isla San Benedicto just a few hours ago to a setting sun and beautiful conditions that made our day. Everyone had been anxiously awaiting to get in the water and we made a good dive here at El Fondeadero. Visibility was not bad at 30 ft. (10m), but there was lots to see. Starting the dive with sightings of white tip sharks along with eels and octopus in cracks. We even got to see two giant pacific electric rays, which aren`t very "giant" by the way. We finished the dive with a black manta swimming circles right next to the ascent line. We played for awhile and made our safety stop while the manta came back again and again. That`s the way we like to start our trips and we are anxiously awaiting more to come. Now for a barbeque on the bow....

Until Next Time,

Dave Valencia

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hammerheads and dolphins at San Benedicto!

Hola todos

We spent our very last day of our new years trip at San Benedicto island.  In the morning we did two dives at el Boiler where we found a BIG school of hammerheads, silky, and silver tip sharks.  
In the morning we did 2 dives at El Boiler, and we could enjoy a big school of Hammerheads, Silky and silver tips sharks. Of course, the dolphins came to join us in the dive, giving our divers the chance to get some great close interaction with them!
Water was 77F with 90'+ visibility and very mild current. 
We moved sites to el Canon for our afternoon dives, and we had a great time with several groups of hammerhead sharks that made very close passes by our divers!.  Visibility was slightly lower than at el Canon, which made it even more exciting when a hammerhead would appear!  It might have even been a bit surprising for them too! This was the last day of our new year's trips, now heading back to Cabo San Lucas, and we can not wait for the next great Socorro adventures!
Ricardo Tamaño
Dive Instructor