Thursday, April 3, 2014

What a day at San Benedicto!

We awoke to a beautiful morning with a clear sky and unique sunrise.  The water temperature was in the mid 70's with 50' visibility, and dolphins were close by waiting for us to finish our dive briefing and join them in the water!  As we made our descent down our descent line, the first thing that showed up right in front of us was a chevron manta, but since there was an eastern current in the water, we wanted to focus our efforts on finding hammerheads.  We went over the ridge, and a bit deeper, less than 5 minutes into the dive, and they were already there, this time 15 hammerheads, while we waited there was saw two schools of hammerheads coming from opposite directions were merging into one larger school right in front of our eyes!  It was a very unique thing to see, because we were watching two groups of hammerheads merge into one big school of 40+ sharks while being surrounded by lobsters, eels, jacks, trigger fish, creole fish, octos, long nose butterfly fish, and more!  Although most people's favorite animals are usually the big critters, the reef really has such a variety of life and of things to see.  Our safety stop was underneath the boat taking pictures of two very curious silky sharks!
We enjoyed a very relaxing surface interval, still very clear sky and warm 78°F, mild breeze,flat ocean and whales around!
Our second dive was fun and unpredictable.  As we made our descent the silky sharks were still there, as we got closer to the rocks we spotted an octo, then a manta, and as we made our way over the ridge once again, a wall of 70+ hammerheads from a depth of 50-110 feet appeared, right in front of our eyes! Swimming all in one direction and back several times, the vis was great in order for us to see them from mid water.  In the mean time, two black mantas and one chevron were behind us demanding some attention, so it was manta time!  We had no current on this dive making it perfect.  Everyone got to pick which kind of dive they wanted, some were hanging out with sharks, other were playing with mantas, some with the reef fish, and to finish our dive a 21' male whale shark showed up, we spotted it at around 40', but it made its way to the surface, right through our divers!  We had the opportunity to swim along side it for 10 minutes before it disappeared, after all the excitement, we spent our safety stop with silky sharks.
The third and fourth dive the temp was a little bit cooler, with current from the east.  The whale shark showed up one more time for more photos, along with mantas, and a small school of 11 hammerheads,
he safety stop was made with silky sharks. And we had silky sharks beneath the boat all day long!  What a day!
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata.

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