Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A little current and a lot of action on our first day at Roca!

The crossing from San Benedicto to Roca Partida went nice and easy over night, so we started the new day as planned and began by checking conditions. We did not take too long to realize the current was pretty strong as the sunlight came upon the rock. The surface, although not too rough did not look the most inviting either, we knew it was going to be a demanding dive for our divers and we briefed them of the conditions so they would be prepare for anything. As soon as we dove down we could already feel the surge, even though we kept our distance from the wall. The current was fairly strong but that was no surprise and we dealt with it as good as we could, surrounded by lots of jacks, green moray eels, and huge lobsters in the cracks of the wall that seemed to be as curious as any of us. A few galapagos sharks could be seen at times within the current and after a while fighting against it, we just let go over the west, more sheltered side of Roca. Water temperature at 25C, 77F, blue and clear, sometimes as much as 40m, 130f.
For the second dive we decided to try something different, and drifted from the out in the blue towards the dive site, so we would save some air and make for a longer dive. It worked perfectly, not only airwise, but also in terms of fish to be spotted! We found more galapagos and lots of massive tunas parading approximately 300' from the rock. At the end of the dive, our very experienced panga drivers took us for a spontaneous tour following a big pod of dolphins, to see how friendly this pod might be! Very friendly they were, both pangas dropped their cargo of enthusiastic divers armed with fins, mask, and snorkel, and soon everyone was surrounded by about 20 bottlenose dolphins. The friendly dolphins swam back and forth checking this bunch of humans out as they had their chattering, it is unintelligible to us, but meaningful no doubt! After lunch as we were almost ready for the last dive, a whale and her calf suddensly started braeching again and again less than 100m from the stern of the Solmar V! They came closer and closer, so we decided to get in the pangas and try to snorkel with them, after a few attempts, the captain called on the radio to inform that we might have a bait ball off the starboard side of the Solmar V! He was right! We headed in the direction of the bait ball, when we got there we jumped in carefully, trying not to scare the fish involved in the show, and soon we were filming and taking photos of over 30 sharks frantically feeding on the bait ball, and soon some individual sharks came around to inspect our divers! Keeping our distance we enjoyed this marvelous act of nature. As the bait ball seemed to wind down, one panga went to the rock for the dive, and the other stayed behind to see if the show was going to continue. They then decided to do their dive out in the blue, watching the action surrounding the bait ball, and got over half an hour full of feeding sharks and tuna, this action packed event put a smile on all of our divers faces! We're hoping tomorrow the current dies down, for day 2 at Roca!
Adrian Belinchon
Divemaster on board
Solmar V

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