Sunday, June 22, 2014

We couldn't have asked for a better end to our 2013-2014 Socorro season!

What a way to close the last trip of the season with 13 different Mantas and a 10 foot whale shark at El Boiler!
Arriving back to San Benedicto at 6:00 am and realizing that the water conditions had changed a lot since the last time we're here when we did the check out dive. The visibility had improved a lot and the water had warmed up to 78F/25, definitely a big difference. Anyway, we started the last day of the trip diving at El Cañón, since we were having the dive briefing, about 5 dolphins awaited for us alread! This time there was a new member in the pod, a little cute baby dolphin that was kept among two adult dolphins just to be protected from predators. This time we weren't lucky with Hammerhead Sharks, however, besides the dolphins, we saw 3 different Mantas and one of them hung out around the divers basically for the entire dive.
We moved to El Boiler the test our luck there, and we were very lucky, on the first dive as soon as we descended down the anchor line, 12 Dolphins escorted all of us from one side of the pinnacle to the other, close to 15 min were spent swimming with dolphins. Later on they took off and disappeared in the blue. The visibility and water temp had improved in El Boiler as well. After the dolphins went away, the rest of dive was completed with 4 Mantas that kept coming back and forth to one of the "steps" of El Boiler just to enjoy the typical bubble massage.

The second dive in El Boiler was after lunch, by that time 4 more Mantas had arrived to the dive site to be participants of the cleaning session by Clarion Angelfishes. 
Fourth and last dive of the season and the visibility dropped a little but it was still good enough to see the Mantas coming by and position ourselves to give them bubble massages them right over our heads. While we watched how 3 Mantas dance in a majestic and synchronized move, a baby male Whale Shark made his appearance and swam in between the Mantas just to stop by the top of the pinnacle! This baby whale shark was just swimming in circles coming back and forth to around the anchor line, all we did was hang on the line to avoid get blow away by the current and enjoyed the parade of 3 Mantas escorting the spotty shark for a brief moment, and last but not least while we watched the whale shark 6 Dolphins cruised by the reef.
Some of the divers that had returned back to the boat and didn't see the whale shark during the dive, spotted it from the surface and had the chance to jump back to water and snorkeled only with this friendly giant that didn't want leave the dive site.
Such a great way to finished the last trip of the Socorro's Islands Nov 2013-June 2014 Season, it could not have been better!

My friends, we did incredible dives in this fall-winter-spring season, thanks a lot to all those divers that were part of these incredible adventures with the SolmarV! Now we´re looking forward to going to Guadalupe Island for the Great White Shark Season, hopefully we´ll see you there! Hasta la siguiente temporada!
SolmarV Dive Instructor
Erick Higuera

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Roca Partida, day 3!

Today the water temperature was 78F/26C. The visibility was approximently 60 feet/18 meters. We saw countless creole, striped bonito, Black Jacks and Big Eye Jacks. Also there were gigantic yellow fin tuna which were busy hunting the jacks, and did not come very close. There were several species of sharks, such as silkies, white tips, Galapagos, silver tip, and two hammerheads. My fellow divers were able to catch a glimpse of several dolphins that decided to hang around and enjoy the attention from the divers. We saw two Silky sharks, swimming swiftly around us, one chasing the other trying to escape a potential mate. The female had bite marks on her body. We also saw three mantas, two of them were doing a 360 in the water beside us. One Black and one Chevron. There was one giant lobster hanging out in a shallow cave, and last but not least there were big wahoos at the beginning and the end of our dives eyeballing us as we dove past. All in all, it was a very good dive day. The End!
Until next time, peace and all that is good...~Lou Ellen Davis :)and
Pablo DM onboard

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friendly dolphins, several species of sharks, bait balls, and more on our 2nd day at Roca!

Roca Partida Second Day! 
At 8:30 am, we were already descending for our first dive, within the first 20 min a huge school of bonitos were escorted by dozens of Silky sharks had herded the school into a baitball, we tried to keep up with them as long as we could until they vanished into the blue. At that point we realized we had drifted away from Roca, so there was time to end the dive, on the the way up to the surface a pod of 6 dolphins encountered us and who would've guessed it!? Our Socorro Dolphin friend that loves to be pet on her belly made her appearance! We could not believe it, we all 8 divers had the "once in a life time" opportunity to take turns and pet this incredible wild animal! Unbelievable! Wait to see Adil's video trip report!

Our second and third dives were spent by the north point of Roca basically hanging out the entire dives among the hundreds of hundreds Whitemouth, Black and Bigeye Jacks that are always there and silky, silver tips, white tips and Galapagos sharks that kept coming back and forth by the point. We saw also 3 different Mantas that enjoyed the our bubble massages, only for a brief moment though.
At the end of the third dive in the afternoon, a group of about 20 Yellow Fin Tunas that weight several hundred pounds each cruis by the surface scaring all the creolefishes.
The weather conditions are still good enough to stay for another day, and also, the hammerheads haven't showed up yet, so we're determined to find them tomorrow!
Stayed tuned for the next SolmarV adventures!

Solmar V Dive Instructor

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Day 1 at Roca Partida was top notch!

On our first day at Roca Partida where we did three dives. The conditions here are much better than Socorro or San Benedicto. Blue water, 60ft/18m visibility and warmer temperature 78F/26C, the current was coming from Northeast but it was soft, so we had the opportunity to move around the rock looking for big animals. On the first dive we saw a Pacific Giant Manta and a Mobula Ray along with Galapagos, white tip, silky and silver tip sharks. The big school of Bonitas were on the south side of the rock, with some silky sharks following them.
On the second dive we saw a group of seven or eight silver tip sharks, and again the school of Bonita but now on the north side of the rock, where tunas, sharks and wahoos were chasing them, it was spectacular to see the tunas hunting the little fish. We saw sharks everywhere on this dive.
For the last dive of the day two mantas were around the rock and six white tip reef sharks were very active, one of them hunted a fish and the rest of them started to follow him maybe to take his part of the catch. The best part of the dive was when we saw a juvenile whale shark, he was very friendly because he passed by just a few inches from Armando, one of the divers onboard the Solmar V! Today was the first time some of our guests have seen a whaleskark, so we can say we had an excellent day of diving onboard the Solamr V!
Tomorrow we will dive again in Roca Partida! But tonight we are enjoying to see a lot of silky sharks swimming around the boat hunting the fish attracted by the lights of the boat, we counted more than twenty at once!
Pablo DM onboard

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hammerheads, dolphins, and mantas at Socorro Island

The conditions at Cabo Pearce at Socorro Island were pretty much the same as in San Benedicto, definitely the storm Cristina removed the surface waters and these were replaced by deeper and colder (71F/21C) water full of nutrients which trigger a massive bloom of plankton that now we know is surrounding both San Benedicto and Socorro Islands. Due to these plankton blooms that show up sporadically, the Archipelago of Revillagigedo is rich in diversity and abundance, for sure in within the next weeks, the feeding season will start for Mantas and other species. Even though the visibility was low, we saw at least 8 different Mantas that got cleaned at Cabo Pearce, we did 4 dives and in all of them we had Mantas company. Only in the first morning dive we had the luck to see a pod of 5 dolphins that herd a school of Yellow Fin Tunas cruising by the ridge of the reef.  The northern strong current picked up in the next three dives without stopping, however, we used the chance to drift towards the end of the reef finding a small group of about 10 Hammerhead Sharks and few Galapagos Sharks that swam by mid water.
Tonight we're heading for Roca Partida, hopefully the conditions will be better in senses of visibility, anyway, at Roca we always expect the unexpected, like in the last trip, 5 different whale sharks, several Mantas and tons of fishes.

Stayed tuned for the next adventures with the Solmar V folks!
Hasta la vista!
SolmarV Dive Instructor
Erick Higuera

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Unusual conditions on our checkout dive at El Boiler

We arrived to San Benedicto island around five pm. The idea was to do the check out dive in "Las Cuevas" but because of the last storm passed over the Archipelago a few days ago, the visibility was too low to get our gear finely tuned. We decided to dive at "El Boiler" because it's deeper there, we could have better conditions. The water temperature was around 73F/23C and the visibility wasn't the best, 20ft/6m. Still we were very excited and happy to dive after 25 hrs. of navigation.  As always El Boiler treated us well, we saw two Pacific Giant Mantas, one chevron and one black; they stayed with us all the time moving around from one group of divers to the other, so the people could take some pictures and video.  We came back from the dive happy because we saw mantas on our very first day. Now we are having a mexican bbq at the bow watching the sunset and relaxing because tonight we are heading to Socorro Island, where we are expecting to see more mantas some dolphins and maybe better dive conditions.
Pablo DM onboard

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mantas and dolphins in the morning at Socorro Island, during the afternoon the spot to be was the cleaning station!

Today we arrived to Socorro Island and we did four dives. The water temperature was 80F at the surface and 78F at 40ft/12m. The visibility on the first two dives was around 60 ft and for the afternoon dives the current picked up a little bit bringing murky water, the vis was 40ft more or less. In the morning dives we saw mantas and dolphins, the mantas stayed with us all the time and for moments we had five of them surrounding us. Because of the manta action, for the afternoon dives we stayed close to the cleaning station to see the mantas and the Clarion angel fishes interacting. Everybody was very happy today taking pictures of the mantas and the reef fishes. Now we are having BBQ at the bow made by our chef Tony. Pablo DM onboard Solmar V

Monday, June 9, 2014

An exceptional day from beginning to end!

We had an exceptional day from beginning to end! 
Once we started our descent on our first dive, we got down to 30', only 20 seconds into the dive and I turned around to see a whale shark right behind us!  The gentle giant was about 21' long with a wall of brown and green coral, lots of fish, and the rock as the background for a great picture, it was a beautiful picture of the underwater world in that moment of time! We had repeated opportunities for great shots throughout the day! We started looking for some hammerheads, it took some swimming but we found a school of 20 of them, we waited patiently and watched as they swam a half circle in front of us.  There were a lot of white tips, and a huge bait ball of trip bonitos being followed by some silky, Galapagos, and silver tip sharks, on top of all of this action we had over 100' visibility!
On our second dive, it took about 3 minutes before the friendly whale shark found us, but this time it returned with a giant manta friend!  We wanted to find more hammerheads, but we spent as much time as we could with the whale shark at about 20-30' of water.  Galapagos, silky, and white tips were swimming around the rock as usual, and because there was no current we were able to do a relaxing dive cruising around the rock!  Later on in the dive the whale shark along with two mantas this time, made another appearance, many pictures were taken!  Part of our surface interval was snorkelig with a 30' whale shark.  
We finished our 3rd dive with lots of fish making a wall formation along the western side of the rock, on the south end we found hammerheads, yellowfin tunas, and a big whale shark at depth that we think was the same one we were snorkeling with!  We ended our day with a gorgeous sunset behind Roca Partida!
Dive Inst.
Daniel Zapata

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Today at Roca Partida we had an spectacular day of diving!

Today at Roca Partida we had an spectacular day of diving! We started at seven am because we wanted to see the animal in action and it was the right choice!  On the north eastern point of the rock all the action was happening! Galapagos, Silver tip and Silky sharks were there chasing some striped bonito fish!  After that, we drifted south that was the best call. We saw a big school of hundreds of striped bonitos swimming closely together with yellow fin tunas and silky sharks hunting them! Down deep, around 120' we could see schooling hammerheads.  
For the second dive we went again to find the school of striped bonitos and because the sharks and tunas were hunting them, the fish were more active and in one moment we were surrounded by them, hundreds swimming around us with the sharks following them! Lots of hammer head sharks were there too, but in deep water. We continued going south and going around the rock towards the end of the dive a whale shark showed up! When we came back to the surface the panga driver told us that there was another whale shark swimming close to the Solmar V, and he dropped some of the divers there to snorkel with the shark.
After lunch we went for the last dive of the day, hopping to see the whale shark again. We jumped on the northwest side of the rock and because the current picked up, we decided to drift south and that was the moment when we saw the whale shark again! We were waiting on the south side when the two whale sharks passed by one behind the other, a male and a female! After a while they came back but now the male came from east and the female from west, she was more friendly with us because she stayed longer and the divers had the chance to follow her and take pictures and video!
Saturday was amazing with all the marine life that we saw, tomorrow we hope Roca Partida will share with us more of her beautiful marine life.

Pablo DM onboard

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Life underwater is very good here at Roca!

We are always excited about this dive area, the ocean surface was very pleasant, on top of that water temperature was from 81°F to 78°F, current from NW made the dive very interesting all day with fish going crazy in a feeding frenzy! There were lots of Blacks Jacks everywhere, cotton mouth jacks turning black from being silver color, sharks were also there, they felt the feeding frenzy of fish and got very excited!  We did not have to swim, we were just amazed at how close the sharks were from our divers, silkies, Galapagos, silver tips, hammer heads and white tips made our dive unforgettable! Roca is not usually a place for mantas but we were pleased to see 3 mantas throughout the day, 2 chevrons and a black one. Yellow fin tunas as big as 150lb were also hunting in shallow water, it is not easy to get them in frame for a good picture because the swim so fast but we tried! Silky sharks  chasing schools of bonitos is also a big attractions here, there was so much action that our guests will have plenty they could enter in the Solmar V photo contest! Everyone had a great day of diving and are excited about day 2 at Roca Partida! Life underwater is very good here at Roca!
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata

Friday, June 6, 2014

We had a "Mantastic" day on our first full day of the trip at El Boiler!

We had a "Mantastic" day on our first full day of the trip at El Boiler!  We all thought that the marine life activity was going to be a bit different since the Hurricane Amanda passed by the archipelago, but actually the conditions did not change much.
Jumping in the water early in the morning and everything was quiet, made us think that all the animals have gone. 5 minutes before ending the first dive and the first Chevron Manta showed up, but it was time to get out of the water.
Later on about 10:30 am we got back in the water to do our second dive and there they were, 5 Mantas that welcomed all of us to hang out for pretty much the entire dive! On several occasions we had 4 Mantas in the same frame! While some divers hung out with the mantas, others were entertained by a pod of 10 Bottlenose Dolphins around the corner!
The next two dives were great in senses of Manta action, at the end of the day after all four dives, we realized we had seen 13 different Mantas! At least 13 were identified and maybe one more, too, we had up to 5 mantas in the same shot on a number of occasions!
The water temperature was around 77F/24C on the surface and below 50’/15m under the thermocline the water was 75F/23C, the visibility was in the 70’/20m and we did not have to deal with any current at all!

Tonight, the weather looks good for Roca, so we’re moving there after dinner.  Stayed tuned for the Roca’s news!
Erick Higuera

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Rays, silky sharks, and sea turtles at Las Cuevas!

Today Wednesday we arrived to San Benedicto around 4:30 pm and did our first dive in “Las Cuevas”; the check out dive. The visibility today was good, 60ft/18m and the water temperature 78ºF/26ºC. We had good action today, a couple of silky sharks swimming close to the surface; some white tip sharks on the reef, sting rays of different sizes and little electric rays on the sand! We also ran into three green turtles and the best part of the dive when we saw a big school of yellow fin tuna of different sizes passing by.  Now at night close to the boat the silky sharks are swimming around and dolphins are here also catching flying fish for dinner. We hope tomorrow morning we can see the dolphins when we go for the first scuba dive of the day!
DM onboard

Sunday, June 1, 2014

We continued our trip with amazing weather conditions and beautiful sun rise/sets!

Cabo Pulmo this morning! So we continued our trip with amazing weather conditions, the Sea of Cortes is known for beautiful sunrises, sunsets and flat ocean. Our first dive of the morning took place at El Vencedor, wreck diving although you do not find the shape of a wreck any more but we did find schooling fish are something that keep your attention focused at all times!  There are other things like green morays, even some nudibranchs, but the highlight of this dive site is the bull sharks! They like this place resting on the shallow bottom, at only 50ft! If you wait patiently they will come to you, we repeated the same wreck two times this morning every time successfully finding bull sharks! While waiting for them to appear you are surrounded by lots of garden eels, they are so cool! But you have to stay on your toes, because they can approach you without warning, and before you know it you'll have missed your photo op! Surface water temperature this morning was 80F and at depth 75F, Vis with about 40ft and no current. The other dive we did was at El Bajo, always a place surrounded by lots of fish, the reef that sits on 60ft/18 max sandy bottom, and we had the same ocean conditions.  At this dive site, your bottom time is never enough, sea turtles, groupers, snappers, green morays, zebra eels, sting rays, parrot fish, hard coral and soft coral from begining to end so this place combines all in one, in our return to Solmar V first time we saw a mahi mahi actually hunting for a fish, both of the fish jumping out of the water, one hungry the other trying to escape from the predator that was hot on it's tail!
Dive Inst. 
Daniel Zapata