Friday, January 31, 2014

Our second day at Roca was even more exciting than the first!

Our second day at Roca was even more exciting than the first! All 3 groups went in  different directions, my group decided to go more into the blue on the South East end to look for hammer heads which we did found some that were in very deep water. I can tell you the vis. was great that we could see the sand patches on the bottom, water temp remained the same 77 ̊F/25 ̊C, another group was also having a great time in shallower water on the west side with a black manta for minutes and minutes, the third group descended on the North point! It was fun and taking lots of shots of some Galapagos shark, last but not least I cannot forget to mention that our safety stops were packed with lost creole fish, red tail trigger fish and even some beautiful and shimmering yellow fin tunas!
Dive Inst

Daniel Zapata.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sharks down deep and yellow fin tunas on our first day at Roca!

On our first day at Roca Partida, the water conditions were calm with 77°F/25°C and a bit colder below the thermocline below 60’/18 m of 75°F/24°C and a 70’/20 m visibility.  This time the sharks were hanging out below our reach, they were too deep probably around 170’/50 m, we pushed the limit of our maximum recreational depth and the sharks were still deep. We assume there must be another thermocline at that depth that is keeping the sharks deep; anyway we could still watch them from a distance. Most of the White tip Reef Sharks were swimming all around the rock, giving us the chance to take great video and pics.
Even though the sharks were too deep in the first 2 dives, by our third dive the conditions changed a bit and as always the Hammerheads showed up gathering together with Black Jacks at only 80´/25m.  Yellow Fin Tunas were cruising by the surface close to the rock, hopefully for the next trips, more tunas will start coming by the rock. The weather conditions are still good, so we’re staying another day at Roca Partida.
Stay tuned!
Hasta la vista!
Erick Higuera

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Playful mantas at San Benedicto!

We woke up this morning in San Benedicto; the first dive site of the day was “El Cañón”, where we found nice weather conditions, the water temperature around 74ºF, 50 foot visibility and a little bit of current, but nothing bad.  The first island friends to come to say hello were a group of dolphins, one of our guests counted 12 dolphins, but another scuba divers on the other side of the canyon, counted more than 20 and these dolphins were chasing a group of tunas. We continued the dive and once we got close to the bottom, a couple of white tip sharks were waiting for us.  Hidden on the rocks we found two octopuses and a big fat green moray eel swimming around that were ready to be filmed. When we headed back to shallow waters, a giant manta showed up for the amusement of the group staying with us for more than ten minutes! After breakfast we dove again in “El Cañón”, and right at the beginning of the dive some of our guests saw a hammer head shark out in the blue and latter on a white tip shark swimming around and almost at the end the giant manta came back.
For our third immersion we did “El Boiler”. On this dive site we had the same water temperature and visibility, the current here was less than the first dive site. Right at the beginning two giant mantas were swimming around, everybody went crazy with the cameras trying to get the best shot, but remain respectful with the mantas as always. The giant mantas stayed with us for a long time playing with the bubbles of the divers. Other divers saw some white tip sharks resting in one of the rocks, and took some great photos of them. After lunch, we had the last dive of the day on the same site. We went down and around the rock, there were sharks swimming around the rocks, but few people noticed them as we were focused on the playful giant mantas, and had a phenomenal opportunity to take pictures and video. When we finished the loop the first giant manta came to us and after five minutes or so, the second manta showed up. We had plenty of time with them again, so the scuba divers took more video until some of them ran out of batteries on their video cameras!  Everybody were very happy for the first full day of diving, talking about it and watching the videos and pictures before and after a nice dinner made by our excellent chef Tony. Now it's time to rest and recover the energy for the tomorrow’s adventure.

DM onboard the Solmar V

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A warm welcome from a friendly manta during our checkout dive!

DIVE REPORT JAN 18th, 2014
Our first dive of the trip, a fun check out dive! Our 3 small groups covered the whole area of EL FONDEADERO (mooring area), enjoying lots of lobsters, green moray eels, and scorpion fish.  We spotted giant electric rays on the bottom, and we just took our time to explore every rock and crevice along the dive site and take in all of the tropical fish swimming around!  As we made our way to the anchor line, a Chevron giant manta made us stop swimming while it kept us company for more than 10 minutes.  The manta was so graceful and swam so rhythmically reminding us to slow down and enjoy our time spent underwater!  After the manta fun, we continued making our way back to the ascent line, and as we got to the line the manta showed up once again, and swam circles just below us! Water temp was 77F with 60'+ visibility and no current at all. We surfaced just in time to enjoy the beautiful orange sunset and filled ourselves up on a delicious mexican BBQ on the bow prepared by chef Tony!  Dinner, Solmar V style!
Dive Inst

Daniel Zapata. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mantas, dolphins, and more on our last day of this trip!

    January 13th
Our last day of the trip started nice and early with a little bit of wind for our pre-breakfast dive. A pod of dolphins was swimming near the Solmar V, trying to hurry us to get ready and get in the water. The visibility was clearly affected by the big swell around San Benedicto and as we went down the stern line it was looking quite foggy. This factor resulted in just one of the groups seeing the dolphins as the other two enjoyed playing at the other side of the pinnacle with a couple of very friendly mantas. After breakfast the wind had increased considerably and we had to set the stern line loose and continue diving off the pangas instead for the well-being of everyone. For this second dive, people continued exploring the area with the company of a school of small tuna, and some nice schools of jacks. Two of the groups wanted to explore further out and headed North West for a deeper itinerary where they came across some hammerheads at about 30m deep.  On the last dive everybody wanted to take it nice and easy so most of the time was devoted to group photos with manta background and a couple of hammerhead sharks came out of the blue to check out what was going on. On the way back the pangas had the cold beer nice and ready to celebrate the end of these fantastic days of incredible encounters with all their favorite wild animals here in the Pacific Ocean.
DM on board Solmar V

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We started our final day at Roca with breaching humpbacks!

Dive Report Jan 12th,  2014
This was our final day at Roca Partida so everyone was hoping it would be a good one. The morning started off with some whales breaching close to the boat during the dive briefing. The swell had picked up over the night which made it a little more difficult getting in and out of the inflatables, but it was still very manageable. The water temperature was in the high 70's for all the dives during the day and the visibility on the surface was over 60', both temperature and visibility dropped a little down at depth. All the dives had current and because of the current, there was a lot to see. The first dive there was big yellow fin tunas chasing small bait fish with the sliver tips, silky’s and Galapagos sharks patrolling not far behind them. Hammerheads were seen but stayed pretty deep at 35 meters plus. For the second dive everyone seemed keen on trying to find hammerheads so most divers went out to the blue looking and were lucky enough to see a good school that came a little shallower at about 25 meters which gave everyone a chance to see them a little closer and take a few photos. The third dive was a nice relaxing one with most divers staying around the rock and enjoying the sharks and schools of fish that were there everyone seemed to have good last day at Roca Patida!
DM onboard the Solmar V    

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 2 at roca brough hammerheads, Galapagos, silky, and white tip sharks, plus whale watching during our surface intervals!

3 more dives here in Roca? Siiiiiiii por favor!! The water temp was in the high 70's, we had over 100' visibility, and there was a little bit of current but it wasn't bad at all. 
In general I can say we were covered every corner of Roca searching and found everything we came to see! I am glad to say first thing we saw this morning really near west side of the Rock is mama and calf hump back whale!!!
We did dives into the blue with the idea in mind to find schooling hammer heads (which we did), at first they were in deep water 40m, we watched from above as they slowly made their way up to 27m deep, our reward was they came up to us to a depth of even 27 m swimming in half circles in front of us! So close we counted around 60 hammerheads before returning to the rock to find the white tip sharks having a party with all of them out off the ledges swimming. The East side was our place for safety stops, and was not bad at all watching big yellow fin tunas changing colors while chasing bait fish, plus the lobsters are getting really big here.
Other dives we stayed just in the north end of the rock to see at least Galapagos shark schooling with some hammer heads! Shallow water was so relaxing doing safety stop surrounded by so many creole fish and of course silky sharks not too far away!
Our surface intervals were also enjoyable watching humpback whales around the area, some males displaying strength with big jumps and tail slapping to attract females in the area. The season of humpbacks has just begun!
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata.

Monday, January 20, 2014

First humpback sighting of the season, plus a pair of whale sharks at Roca Partida!!

   January  10th
Last night we headed to Roca Partida a Little worried about weather conditions because apparently the wind was picking up and getting a bit rough during the day.  Luckily the sunrise came with little wind and the current didn’t seem too bad at all. As Dani was going over the general dive site briefing some divers interrupted and pointed over the starboard side, the first humpback whale of the season had just made her appearance breaching a few miles north-west!! The excitement was in the air obviously, so we hurried out to the site in the pangas, group by group. Just 1 minute has past into our dive  and a 4m whale shark passed by only few metres away, and the divers could not believe it!  After the big shark disappeared into the blue we started to see some hammerheads and Galapagos a little deeper but coming up towards us. We thought the last group had missed the whale shark but just a few minutes after a second one came to us out of nowhere, this time a medium size adult! As we explored again the east side, more hammerheads keep coming by together with some silver tips and more Galapagos, there were so many sharks the divers didn’t know which way to look. Slowly making our way up to our safety stop and a third whale shark came from north, very curious it came very shallow to check the divers closely. Everybody was totally satisfied but hungry for more. The second dive seemed like it would hardly get as good as the previous, but the whale sharks were still wandering the rock, making pass after pass. This time we decided to check out the west face of the rock, and we were immediately rewarded. We swam into the blue a little bit and a few silky sharks followed by a couple of Galapagos, seemed to just be clearing the way for the big school of hammerhead sharks coming on parade. Back to the rock the whale sharks kept coming for more.  After lunch and a comforting siesta the wind was then blowing strong but the current underwater seemed ok. Again the sharks surrounded us several times, schooling hammerheads a little deeper were also seen and some of the groups enjoyed some quality time with a giant manta, not to mention the spectacular school of striped bonitos seen over the south end of the rock. The soundtrack of the dive couldn’t be better, humpbacks singing not far from us. All and all, the day had everyone immensely happy. Let’s see what tomorrow has in store for our excited divers!
DM on board Solmar V

Sunday, January 19, 2014

El Boiler was hot with mantas with as many as 8 in one frame!!

We spent the whole day at EL BOILER doing 4 amazing dives! We started our day of diving with a colorful sunrise, and our guests started to hit the water at 7 am on the dot.  It is difficult to describe every dive in details but believe me when I say we had mantas all day from beginning to end.  The first dive we saw 2 giant mantas a little away from divers, in addition to white tip sharks, lobsters, flounders, Jacks, scorpion fish, octopus, etc. All the little critters were there!
The second Dive we did not have time to look at the rock itself since we had at first only 3 mantas but then a few minutes after they kept coming and coming until the point we counted 8 of them in the same frame, chevron and black ones, males and females! So we had mantas all over us! Every place you looked around you had a manta coming at you! No swimming was necessary, if you just stayed still, and blow your bubbles before you knew it you had a manta cruising over your head! The whole day the north east side of the dive site was the spot to be.  During this dive we counted a total of 12 different ones among ones we know from before! It was absolutely crazy! 
Third dive we had (only) 7 Mantas! Swimming underneath them blowing bubbles was a breathtaking experience even for our seasoned travelers that had not had this kind of interaction with friendly giant mantas at least not until today!
Fourth Dive only 5 Mantas! Doing all sort of thing with our divers, and they formed a Manta Train of 4 to 5 mantas chasing each other gracefully swimming!
The conditions could not be better today! Vis was nearly 70' with water temp in the high 70's and no current.
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dolphins, mantas, sharks, and more on our first day at San Benedicto!

January 7th
After a top notch check out dive the day before, everybody was feeling excited and ready to explore “El Cañon” and the dolphins were waiting for us to hit the water. Our early morning dive started slowly, and as everyone made their way down the ascent line, the water was calm, in the high 70's with over 50' visibility!  It took a few minutes to get used to the lack of light at such an early hour though.  We could hear the dolphin heading in our direction even if we couldn't see them right away, we could distinctly see a few silhouettes in the blue coming towards us. In a few more seconds they were everywhere, the further out we adventured into the dive site, the more dolphins would come and check us out! A few hammerhead sharks came then out of the blue, and the interaction was fascinating.  We were surrounded by sharks and dolphins so much so that the dolphins bumped against the sharks and scared them away!  Our post-breakfast dive revolved around several chevron mantas over the cleaning station of El Cañon, and the most adventurous hurried out over the sandy area on the opposite side of the dive site where the current was hitting stronger.  After a few minutes cruising off the reef, one, two, then five, and finally about 25 hammerhead sharks showed up heading eastbound. In just a few they had passed were gone, but we could hear our divers screams of excitement at the spectacular ballet of nature they had just witnessed. The last dive we all decided to start the dive in opposite areas to cover the whole south bay, so two groups were dropped off the pangas while a third one went off the Solmar V. We all headed different directions, some went as far out as to El Fondeadero, an adjacent dive site, at about 20/25 meters (70/90 feet)of water where many eels, octopus and diamond sting rays can be seen, others went out into the blue and saw a manta, some silky and hammerhead sharks too. It was a great day of diving again, all our guests were excited about the diversity of life and interaction they experienced which left them with a clear idea of what the marine life at San Benedicto can be like!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Our first checkout dive of 2014!

Dive report Jan 6th,  2014
We arrived at San Benedicto earlier than expected thanks to a tail wind we had along the way. This meant that we had more than enough time to do a check in dive at the El Canyon! Everyone one on the boat was eager to get into the water.  The conditions were good, the water was a little bit choppy because we had some wind but once we hit the water there was no current at all. The water was 79F with over 50' visibility.  As we made our way along the Canyon we were greeted by two sliver tip sharks which seemed to hang around us most of the dive along with a few white tip reef sharks. As we made on the way back to the boat to do our safety stop a giant manta passed right in front of our divers, everyone was very excited to see this friendly manta and was a perfect way to start the trip!I have a feeling that we will be seeing a lot more mantas in the days to come.

Friday, January 3, 2014

First day of 2014 at San Benedicto Island couldn't have been better!

First day of the year at San Benedicto Island. Could not have gone better! We spent the whole day diving "El Canyon" with at least 4 mantas on every dive along with some close encounters with a few hammerhead sharks and some occasional juvenile silver tips! Water temp was 78F and with 50' visibility!
Claudio Bonato

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wishing everyone good health, great diving, and the best of the best for 2014!

Sometimes Nature just shows us a little of its beauty. Today we spent our dive day at Socorro Island.  We did our morning dives at Cabo Pearce, and on the first dive one the dive groups saw 3 mantas that just cruised on by, while the other two groups decided to go up to the end of the underwater ridge in the quest of that big school oh hammerhead sharks that we've been finding lately! We didn't find as many hammerheads as we were hoping for, but we did run into 5 hammerheads that appeared out of the blue and then disappeared just as quickly.  On the second dive the visibility dropped a bit, but that didn't stop us from finding a manta over the cleaning station! After checking in with the Mexican Navy, we moved to Punta Tosca where we finished our dive day with more hammerheads!
Tonight, we had our delicious dinner of end of year cooked by our awesome chef Tony. Everybody enjoyed the party and we all wished our best wishes to everyone. One of those wishes was to start the new year 2014 with amazing dives!  Right now we're heading to San Benedicto to look for more manta madness and encounters with dolphins, hammerheads and baitballs!  Stay tuned for more adventures of the new year on the Solmar V! As we look back upon the past year of diving, we are grateful for the phenomenal experiences we have been able to provide our guests and we're looking forward and excited about the diving to come! We rang in the new year wishing everyone good health, great diving, and the best of the best for 2014! 
Happy New Year everyone!
Erick Higuera