Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dolphins, hammerheads, and more on Day 1 at Roca Partida!

Hola amigos!

Last night after the navy inspection in Socorro island we sailed off to Roca Partida, after 9 hours of navigation we got to the rock, anchored and waited for sunrise to get into our wetsuits.

By 7:45am everybody was on deck, suited up and excited to see what the rock had prepared for us!
After the dive briefing we got on the pangas and off we went to explore the rock! After an easy back roll entry we were in the warm water, 77F/25C, and started descending on the east side of the rock and first thing we noticed was the great visibility we had, about 80ft/24m, when we got to 40ft/12m we went to check out the ledges were the white tip reef sharks lay down and it was crowded! About 15 white tip were there laying on top of each other, after a few pictures there we swam north and when we got to the north end it was full of fish, huge schools of creole and trigger fish, jacks and more white tips swimming around close to the rock, so we went off the rock in between all this fish and into the blue, after a couple of minutes we heard a familiar sound...bottled nose dolphins! We heard them and we started turning around but no sign of them until suddenly here they were, a pod of about 25 dolphins showed up in little groups at the time, and that's when the fun started! Dolphins were going up and down, swimming around the divers, while divers were trying to keep up with them doing their dolphins style swim, what a picture! It was just great, everybody was so excited and dolphins kept coming and coming for the rest of the dive, in total we spent about 30 minutes with them! While all this was going on we had a little school of bonitos swimming closer to the surface and a silky shark chasing them, we didn't know which show to watch, but at the end we decided to keep playing with the dolphins! By the end of the dive after a little break of no dolphins we started drifting south and on the way we found more dolphins! This time 3 of them came by to check us out, while some huge tunas cruised at about 60ft/18m looking for their morning pray, then it was time to surface, so safety stop and back on board the Solmar V.

For the second dive we went down on the north end of the rock, and again we were surrounded by thousands of fish, we were expecting some shark action but there was no big sharks, others than the white tips, so after waiting a few minutes there we headed south, on the way we found a few schools of jacks and more and more white tip reef sharks. By the time we got to the south west corner we felt a little current coming from that direction, so we went into it to see whats it  could bring us, and after kicking away from the rock a few meters we had a school of about 50 hammer heads swimming at 100ft/30m, they were doing their classic pattern in circles and we followed them for a few minutes! It was just awesome!

On our third dive we decided to go look for the hammer heads again so we went down on the same south western corner where we saw them earlier, this time we got to 100ft/30m and no sign of them, we had to kick farther out into the blue and at about 120ft/36m, there they were, a smaller school this time, but still about 30 of them! As they saw us they started going deeper and we followed on top, but then they were to deep to take a good look so we turned around and started heading towards the rock.  We didn't have to kick far before there they were again! They came very close this time and 2 of them actually passed right next to one of our divers!  We had a few more minutes with them and then headed back towards the rock. On the way back we spotted a silver tip shark swimming under us and right after a school of bait fish being chased by a silky shark, but that was not all, when we got back to the rock, we swam south and there we found three huge yellow fin tunas that were on the hunt of some smaller fish, they swam right next to us in a very slow motion and then disappeared. So to resume not many sharks close to the rock, but great schools of hammerheads and tuna action! Stay tuned because we are staying in Roca Partida for another great day of diving!

Hasta la vista!

Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor

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