Saturday, February 28, 2015

Humpbacks and hammerheads at Roca Partida!

Hi All! Feb 27, 2015
It was an excellent day to be diving at Roca Partida! We are not in the water yet and it looks so blue! Air temperature 25˚C/77˚F, the sky so clear, no wind and the amazing hump back whales still around!
Our first dive started at 8:30 on the East side, as quiet as the morning but lots of big eye jacks  and white tips, blue water here means a visibility of at least 30m/100ft, water temp came back to be 25˚C/77˚F.  A mild current took us to the southern area along the wall having as a back ground the so loud singing of whales that made us keep looking in to the blue water hopping that this huge shadow of a whale will come out to make itself visible, it didn’t but the singing was still in our heads! At a depth of 30m/100ft we had a combination of green and blue water, it was nice to feel a bit colder water and see also 7 Galapagos sharks that were hanging at this depth, kicking slowly just to stay in the same area 4 silver tips came by as well, here is where the current turns around and all jacks are embracing the rock facing the current making a vertical formations! Creole fish did the same thing retracting towards the rock because 2 yellow fins tunas are in the area! We decided to play in the current a bit to see what we see, it was worth the try because a school of 40 to 50 hammer heads were just there not even too far from the rock, current didn’t stop obviously so soon we had to seek for the wall protecting us against it, the West side was slow in action, still nice blue water, but fish were in the current.
The surface interval was interesting with whales! A couple of them were very interested in surfacing right next to the Solmar V, we saw them coming straight towards us slowly taking their time letting us guess that they really are coming, jumped into the water, their last breath before they went under was just 15m/50ft away from us, water being so clear helped so see them perfectly for 15minutes before coming up for more fresh air! So close that the spout so loud, deft steady for just seconds.
Our second dive was nice and relaxed, white tips are faithful to the rock, always there, no matter how many pictures you have taken of them, you still want more, they have something inviting you go for more pictures, current did the same took us around the rock, just a few Galapagos shark and fish.  We were still enjoying of a beautiful sunny day, nice air temperature, whales still around, so u think lunch time or whale time!
Many decided to go looking for whales on the third dive, others opted to scuba dive.  The snorkeling was really worth it, about 3 times we dropped in the water to snorkel with them, and each time we did was when they needed to come up for fresh air which was about 15minutes, they were hanging around at the same depth each time, 18 to 21m/60 to 70ft of water. The female steadily hovering, not moving a fin, the male was in a vertical position barely away from her, almost touching her with grooves, so they both doing a ‘’ T ‘’ figure! The Male had to constantly move his tail and pectoral fins ever so slowly open to keep up in position for as long as female stayed there, other time the same ‘’ T ‘’position, sun light rays penetrating in angle, hitting their massive body. Since we are away from the rock some silky sharks were coming up from the depth curious about what’s happening on the surface! Silky sharks around something else can be as well, in fact between the surface and whales a massive school of striped bonitos were covering or almost blocking our view, so we actually behave on the surface not splashing water with fins or hands, that could be one of the reasons they stayed longer with us! The celebrations to end the snorkeling was to eye witness and hear the jump full body out the water and the noise of splashing an amount of water.
While diving had also something remarkable! Current still there from East, lots of fish, white tips and on the south West Point a bigger school of hammerheads as many as about 80 individuals, their dive was done, mission accomplished successfully! Then they catch up with us doing the last part of the snorkeling being also able to eye witness from the zodiac the full jump out the water.
    Hopping for more excitement tomorrow at Roca….
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

Friday, February 27, 2015

We are back at San Benedicto, and what a way to start the trip!

We are back at Revillagigedo and what a good way to start the trip! Yesterday evening we got to San Benedicto Island and this morning we were ready to start diving at el canon. The water temperature was 75f/24C and visibility around 60ft/18m witch was perfect for four dives there! The first dive was the one with the most action, there was mild current but at El Cañon that is good because there are more chances to see hammerhead sharks that way. First we went down to one of the cleaning stations on the edge of the canyon and there were around 20 hammerheads passing in front of us still not that close after 10 minutes of seeing that we started to hear some dolphins and as usual as soon as we heard them we looked a bit and there they were six very playful bottle nose dolphins, they stayed around for a bit until a school of jacks passed by and then they were more interested on breakfast time than the divers! Then it was time to start getting shallower and right before we were going to do our safety stop a school of 25 hammerhead sharks started going around in circles underneath us at 40ft/14m so we extended the dive a bit and when it was time to try to do our safety stop again a giant pacific manta showed up and finished the dive with us!
On the rest of the dives we had lots of hammerheads all day long schools of twenty and thirty, big schools of jack, whales singing, a sea turtle and even one big tiger shark. El Cañon was going off and to end the day just as the sun was setting a baby humpback whale started breaching right next to the boat!
The weather was really good today and it seems like it’s going to stay that way so we decided to head off to Roca Partida to see what waiting for us there!
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Once again we leave the islands with the same feeling of wanting to come back!

Today was our last day of the trip and once again we leave the islands with the same feeling of wanting to come back. We woke up in San Benedicto and started with two dives at El Cañon, visibility was about 40ft/12m and temperature 75f/24C. As soon as we hit the water for the first dive you could hear the dolphins but at first we did not see them so we made our way up to the cleaning station on the edge of the canyon too see if the hammerheads were there, there were no hammerheads but we saw four bottlenose dolphins, the were not so playful with us but that was ok because they were two adult ones teaching some juveniles how to hunt some hacks witch was truly amazing to see. After the dolphins left we moved to the other side of the canyon were we saw the hammerheads three of them very close and the rest of the school maybe about  ten outside the canyon in deeper waters. On the second dive we did not have so much action until the end of the dive were we had one big chevron manta going around us for the last fifteen minutes.
As the visibility was a bit low and we heard a report that on the other side of the island at El Boiler the water was very clear we did our last two dives there and it was awesome with very clear water around 80ft/24m visibility. There were lots of mantas, at one point we had six of them with the group of divers at the same time and they were interacting so much that at the end we managed to get a group photo with twenty divers holding a flag from their dive shop in Germany with a manta right on top, it was a perfect way to end the trip. Now we head back to Cabo San Lucas with very calm waters making it a very smooth ride, hoping to get there tomorrow and prepare the boat for another wonderful trip out to Socorro islands next week.
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Friday, February 20, 2015

Dancing dolphins, friendly mantas, and hump back whale song at Socorro island!

Hello again!

So we left Roca Partida last night and headed to Socorro Island, the crossing took us about 8 hours and it was very smooth. This morning we woke up next to Socorro island with a very calm sea, sunrise was spectacular as it always is on this islands and as soon as we had sun light we went into the water in Cabo Pearce, our dive site of the day.

For our first dive we had a water temperature of 75F/24C, a visibility of 60ft/18m and a quite strong current coming from the north so we went on the pangas to the north wall to make it easier to descend and go into the dive site with the current, so we dropped and as soon as we looked down we had a chevron manta right underneath us, it didn't stay to play, it only kept swimming so we headed east along the wall, we got to the cleaning stations but no mantas... so we went up the rocks and down on the other side to protect us from the current and went to check out the south wall, when we got there we could hear a very very loud humpback whale singing! It was probably very close, but we could not see it, so we stayed there waiting for mantas or the whales, but we got dolphins instead! First 2 bottle nose dolphins came to play with us, they were very very curious and went around the whole group and then started kind of dancing with each diver one at the time, after about 5 minutes they left and a few minutes later they came back, but this time there was 5 of them! Even better! So the dancing kept going on for another 20 minutes! Dolphins will swim up and down around the divers, they came very very close to us, and you can see how they look at you wanting to interact, they are just such smart animals, anyway after the dolphin dance we look at our gauges and obviously we where low on air so it was time to start coming up. Once back on the boat everybody was still very excited and two of the divers could not believe what just happened, they were crying because it was a dream that came true for them.
On our second dive the action was for the mantas, we spent most of the dive on the 80ft/24m cleaning station looking at 3 mantas, 2 chevron and a black manta, getting cleaned for 12 clarion angel fish, they would come and go come and go while we were just holding on to the rocks to avoid fighting the current and again listening to the humpback whales sing, they were so loud at times that we really thought that we would see them but that didn't happen =(.

For the third dive we had to only go down the descent line, kick a few meters away from it and right there we had a very very friendly chevron manta that stay with us the whole dive, it would go from one diver to the next one looking for our bubbles, it would get so much bubbles that it would sneeze from time to time, but after that it wanted more, so it kept us all entertained for about 50 minutes! Just amazing to play with this ocean giants!

On our last dive we had some more manta action and a very very very loud humpback singing, so loud that we even went into the blue looking for it, but we had no luck, but  anyway we enjoyed the singing!

Now we are leaving Socorro island and heading back to San Benedicto where we will have our last day of diving of this trip, so stay tuned!

Hasta la vista!

Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Today we completed our second day of diving at Roca Partida.

Hi Everyone!!
Today we completed our second day of diving at Roca Partida. Early in the morning was amazing to watch the first Humpback whales of the day playing close to the Northern and Southern tips of the Island and not so far from the Solmar V. Of course the hope was to see them underwater while diving, but this time they hid from our divers and instead they preferred to accompanied us for the rest of the day. A couple of them liked to jump out of the water to the enjoyment of all the people aboard.  The weather was nice and warm, not very hot, and the sun gave us a break for a couple of hours when the clouds came in. We started our first dive on the East side of Roca Partida and we went straight to check the ledges located at the 46 ft. /14 m, where the white tip sharks like to rest. There were plenty of them and even the babies white tips sharks were there. We continue going down to reach our maximum depth of 90 Ft. / 27 m, and the first Galapagos Sharks appear right in front of us swimming around the North area, where the current was a little bit stronger and it brings lots of marine life all around, including big eye Jacks, pacific creole fish, pacific trigger fish, trumpet fish , few pelagics like wahoo, more Galapagos Sharks all around and mixed with them white tips Sharks swimming out of the ledges. The water temperature was very nice 75 fº/ 24º C from the surface to the bottom doing a 5 mm wetsuit very comfortable to wear for this waters. We kept the position at North because more Galapagos Sharks showed up, and specially one of them was really big for the enthusiasm of all the divers. We were  diving this area when a couple of Pacific Giant Mantas joined us, until we finished the dive! They were the kind Manta Chevron Black and white, they were very curious and playful with our divers. For the second dive the current was strong, especially at North and South, then we began at the East side one more time, where is more protected from the current. The plan was to move at north, but we changed our mind when we found like seven Galapagos Sharks going at South, we swam with them and we found big schools of amberjacks fish, mixed with cottonmouth jacks and trevalley jack fish. We stayed there and from the southeast we moved to the north to find more cotton mouth Jacks, more Galapagos, white tips and a silvertip shark.  From the North we turned to the west but most of the action was happening from the north to the southeast, then we returned. When we returned, the current was more challenging adding fun and more, much more marine life than before! When we passed the corner, the current was less, then was the perfect time to take pictures and videos of the white tips sharks resting at the ledges. On top of them and very close to the rock was a big school of amber jacks. The visibility was very clear, 80'/24 m to 100' /30 m. At last of the dive we moved from the Southeast to the Blue because we kept the expectation to find our Humpback Whale, but we weren’t lucky as days before but instead they liked to approach to our vessel to say hi during our surface intervals.  After the second dive we took a surface interval and was the perfect time to enjoy the lunch which was prepared by our Chef Antonio, who served a tequila lime chicken with vegetables. Before our third dive we watch the Humpback Whales all around the Solmar V, showing us the tail, blowing air, and swimming around. When we entered the water to do our third dive, we found out that most of the marine life was moving at South, then we headed at south with all the Galapagos Sharks, big schools of amberjacks, big eyes, even a big yellowfin tuna was looking for the smaller fish. Our third dive was very relaxing, no current at south, then was the perfect time to stay there, with all this wild marine life all around us. To finish our last dive we move from the southern tip out into the blue, so we swam trough the blue on the way to our safety stop the Galapagos sharks followed us from depth and we began to say goodbye to Roca Partida, when a Pacific Giant Manta showed up out of the blue!  When this Chevron Manta (Black and White) disappeared in the immensity of the sea, and we have our boat on top of us, we had the feeling of waking up, but it wasn’t a dream! In ours divers hearts we knew that was a divers dream made real with our vessel, the Solmar V!
Ignacio H. Leyro
Scuba Diving Instructor

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Underwater we found bottlenose dolphins, galapagos, silver tip, silky, and white tip sharks, plus a manta... During the surface intervals we found humpbacks!

Today we woke up at Roca Partida, the ocean was a bit choppy and the sky was cloudy but still it is always good to be back here and see this tiny rock in the middle of nowhere it reminds you of how big the ocean is and how much life can be created with just a little bit of a shelter!
The morning started with a sighting of some whales next to the rock, which got our hopes up for a possibility of seeing them underwater again, but unfortunately after that they got a bit further away from it the rest of the day. I guess you can’t always get lucky but that is the beauty of nature.
We did 3 dives with water temperature of 73f/22C, visibility about 70ft/21m and a consistent mild current from north east. On the first dive there was pod of around 10 bottlenose dolphins that kept passing by us and playing around the whole dive. Today the sharks got a little bit shallower than the past few trips there were lots of very big Galapagos and some silvertips cruising by in between 40ft/12m and 80ft/24m. There was also one black and one chevron manta around the rock during the day. And of course the usual residents of Roca white tips, lobsters, jacks and triggers.
Even though the wales were not close enough to the rock to see them during the dives we could still hear them sing and see them out of the water so we decided to try to snorkel with them during the surface intervals. We had 4 encounters with them, in one we saw 4 humpback whales together and they seemed to be males fighting each other maybe to see who was going to be the lucky one to get one of the females that were around. When we were snorkeling with the whales there were always lots of silky sharks going around in circles very shallow underneath us.
In the afternoon the wind calmed down a bit and the ocean got a bit smoother so we decided to stay one more day here and see what surprises Roca Partida will have for us tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What a trip! We closed with lots of hammerheads, friendly mantas, and more at San Benedicto!

Hello again!
Last night we left Socorro island after going through the navy inspection and headed towards San Benedicto island to have our last day of diving of this great trip.
After a very smooth crossing with very calm seas, we woke up next to the great volcano of San Benedicto, a nice breakfast, suit on and off we went on the pangas for our first dive at “El Cañón”. We had a mild current coming from the south-east, water temperature of 75F/24C and a visibility of about 60ft/18m, because of that south-east current we decided to go check out the south east cleaning station, so we dropped on the sand and swam out to the rocks on the edge of the site at 80ft/24m, where we positioned ourselves and waited paitently, after not even 5 minutes sharks showed up! A school of about 25 hammerheads came swimming down the wall at about 110ft/33m and slowly made their way up circling right in front of us, we did not move and kept waiting as they slowly got closer and closer, once at 90ft/27m they swam with their bellys almost touching the rocks and headed up the wall straight at us! It was so cool! We just sat there and almost stop breathing so they came closer ha! Some of them turned right on our face and swam out again, but a group of about 6 hammerheads did not care and kept going in between the groups and on to the sandy area, to find the other groups that just dropped in the water. This kept going on and off as they swam away from us and then back again, they passed about 3 or 4 times in front of us, there could not been a better way to start the day!
For our second dive current stopped, as we had some big swell and waves were breaking on the point the visibility dropped down, this time it was about 30ft/10m, on that dive we decided to go check out the other side of the site looking for mantas, at first we did not see much, until we got to the east cleaning station where some white tip reef sharks were swimming around, then a huge solo hammer head came by on top of the rocks, when we got to the end of the site a huge chevron manta came from the deep and started swimming right on top of the group wanting to play, so we started swimming bellow the manta and blowing bubbles on it belly, it seem to enjoy it and kept going from one diver to the next one, while this was going on 2 hammer heads came to check us out, at first they swam very close but then they turned around and swam straight at me...then about a meter/few feet away they turned again, so kept playing with the manta and tried to make her to follow us to the sandy area to see if she would push us down on to the sand as some playful mantas do, and it came with us, once on the sandy area our videographer Adil got underneath it and crawled on the sand as the manta swam about a meter/3ft off the sand, it look so neat, everybody was taking pictures and video of that, then the manta left and we started drifting with the current into the blue when the manta showed up again but it was time for us to start coming up. As we ascended we found a couple of hammer heads swimming around and right at our safety stop 3 silky sharks came by, chasing a little school of fish!
For our third and fourth dive we moved to “El Boiler” due to the low visibility at “El Cañón” and it was a great decision! The water there was a lot better, visibility was about 70ft/21m! So we set the stern anchor and went down looking for the mantas, first we had 2 chevron mantas right off the back of the boat, but we wanted to see if dolphins showed up, so we swam to the west side of the site where we hovered and mantas came to play there, we had 5 different mantas, 4 chevron and 1 black, they kept coming and coming for their bubble bath, after a while of playing with them we went to check out the south and there we found a huge school of big eye trevallies and right underneath them at 80ft/24m there was a big curious hammer head swimming around in circles, we got close to it and it didn't care so we stayed, then another 4 hammer heads came swimming from the deep close to the sand and started circling the same area but closer to the bottom, this show kept on going for minutes, after a while the 4 closer to the bottom left and the curious one stayed, but then it was time for us to get closer to the boat to go up to our safety stop.
On our last dive we had more hammer heads! This time about 12 of them swimming close to a school of jacks on the west side not too far from the rock, so in between them and 2 chevron mantas kept us very entertained for the whole last dive of the trip.
What a trip! We were very very lucky, our guests got to see everything they wanted to see, hammer heads, galapagos sharks, silver tip sharks, mantas,and even whale shark AND humpback whales! And all this of course on board of the Solmar V.
See you next trip!
Hasta la vista!
Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

At Socorro Island we found schooling hammerheads and friendly mantas with humpback song playing in the background.

Hi All Feb 10, 2015.
We continue our trip with phenomenal weather, with a gorgeous sunrise starting just before 7:00 am!
The ocean surface couldn’t be any better, visibility was enough to see San Benedicto from here, 40NM/74KM, the dolphins were already here, it was a very peaceful and beautiful morning, air temp 24˚C/75.2˚F.
The Solmar V is in position ready to start putting divers in the water, dive briefing did not take too long, but the 7 second long spout from a hump back whale distracted us, she was hiding just 15m/50ft away from us then she floated herself needing fresh air rising out of the water from head to dorsal fin, the force of spout, the sound of air pressure of a live mama exhaling it’s body can’t describe it, you got hear it, to live and feel the experience!
So everybody rushed to jump in, the vis here in Cabo Pearce didn’t make it possible to see it, only 7 to 12m/22.9 to 40' max, and since there was a current from South we took advantage of it and decided to go look for hammerheads. This morning was very generous, it didn't take too long to find a school of about 30 hammerheads ranging from 8-10' long! The secret to being successful was to move the least amount possible in order to have them come as close as 4 to 5m/12 to 15ft away! At first they were barely shadows in the green water, then it got really better, all those sharks coming out that water transitioning from shadows into powerful animals, coming straight at us before slowly turning in front of all divers, really don’t want to move or blow a bubble to keep them the most possible in front but as slow as they showed up they swam into the green water again leaving the expression on everyone underwater one of success!
Dolphins were not as interested today, not many in the area as well, maximum 6 individual showed up early in the morning and late afternoon, good timing! They arrive, we are out the water enjoying of a gorgeous flat surface reflecting clouds.
For the rest of the day we made 3 more dives, our encounters with mantas was excellent! Despite lower vis, no place, no corner of the dive area without mantas, at times up to 6 together, those moments with cero current we had the opportunity to explore the reef from beginning to end, of course mantas following us all the way!
More Hammer heads were randomly here and there, white tips as always laying on the bottom saving energies for the nightly feast, the 12m/40ft deep cleaning station got attentions as well, lots of barber fish came to stay, Pacific creolefish were also active feeding on lots of nutrients drifting in a shifting direction current, it is green water for divers but rich and beneficial to fish.
Hump backs were still around, they are now keeping a distance from us on the surface, underwater that distance seems diminished by the sound travelling so fast that make you feel they are just an arm away! Harmonious vocalizations, sharp, intensive, sound waves hit you on the chest, can’t describe it more! There are things you have to experience by yourself!
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata 
Solmar V

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Another amazing day with a lot of humpback whale action!

Another awesome day at Roca Partida! It is hard to find words to describe how wonderful our day out here was, everything was just perfect we are all very grateful for the show that Mother Nature gave us today and at the Solmar V for making it possible for us to be here!
We woke up to another very calm day again, smooth ocean, no waves, no wind. Since the sun came out we started to see whales everywhere, close to the boat, around the rock and at the distance of course the question was, are we going to see them underwater again?  So we got in the pangas and headed to the rock, when we got close to it the whales were far away so no one was really expecting to see them on the dive.
The water once again was about 75F/23C and visibility about 70ft/21m. The dive started on the north side of the rock that had a massive cloud of jacks, creole and steel pampanos and at the bottom of it about 100ft/30m at least 10 galapago sharks and a couple of silver tips going around in circles. From there we headed south passing along the white tips on the east side and following the jacks, which seem to have a relation to the hammerheads. The jacks took us to the south part and there were the hammerheads!! A big school of at least 50 of them most around 130ft/40m and some were getting shallower to our level 100ft/30m. Then all of the sudden a big cloud covered the sun and when we looked up there she was again!!!! Big mama whale!!! After taking a breath she went down in front of us and just stopped there letting all the divers get close to her for about 15 minutes. And when we thought the dive couldn’t get better IT DID! A male came by started swimming around her and the mating ritual started the dancing and singing was amazing! All this with big tunas passing by, as our bottom time started to finish and we wanted to give the whales some privacy we finished the dive. We were all glad to see that this wale was ready to give another try to having a baby and we hope to see her back with it next year.
At the surface interval the whales were also putting on a show! Lots of groups breaching, some of them very close to the boat it was hard to decide where to look at. We went for the second dive thinking that it was going to be hard to top the first one, this time we started at the south side of the rock and saw the school of hammerheads again right away. The songs of the whales were very loud so we decided to get off the rock and try to look for them and once again we saw the big mama whale but this time she passed by quickly, still we kept swimming to see if we were going to see her again. After a while we thought that was it so we starter to shallow up and when we were at 40ft/12m we saw another whale just sitting there, this time it was a different female and guess what is also let us came close to her and once again another male came and stayed dancing right next to her the divers saw it for about 20 minutes petty much until they were low on air and after that from the surface snorkeling for another 10 minutes. On the last dive we saw the school of hammerheads again and some tunas passing by.
The day ended with a beautiful sunset and some great whale watching from the boat with at least 8 different groups of whales, maybe more, doing lots of breaches while we waited for our barbeque to be ready even after it got dark we could still listen to the whales breathing and breaching close to the boat.
Now we head to Socorro Island again with calm seas planning to do four dives at Cabo Pearce tomorrow, everybody is excited to see what comes next since this trip has been amazing so far.
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Monday, February 9, 2015

Some time underwater with mama humpback!

Hello Hello!

Last night we left San Benedicto island and made it all the way out to Roca Partida. The crossing was 9 hours of very smooth seas and this morning we woke up next to the rock ready to go diving and see what the rock had for us!

After breakfast we were outside and spotted a lot of humpback whales all over the area, we could see the spouts everywhere and the hopes of all the divers was to find at least one of them underwater.

Being back at the rock brought also a bunch of mixed feelings, as last time we were here we had the orca attack on the baby humpback, and the question was...will we see whales on our dives again? We knew it was very hard, as there were no calves around, only adult humpbacks, but we did keep our hopes up!

For the first dive we went in the water, visibility was very good, about 70ft/21m and water temperature of 75F/23C, descended on the east side of the rock where we found a lot a lot of fish, creole, jacks, and trigger fish formed a huge cloud that was hard to see through, so we went looking for sharks and at the beginning there was no action, until we swam to the south east corner where we found our sharks! 7 galapagos and 4 silver tip sharks were swimming in circles at about 130ft/40m, so we took a look for a few minutes and then we headed up towards the ledges on the east wall where all those curious white tip reef sharks lay down, but before we got there, as we were ascending a chevron manta came to visit, came swimming from the north and checked us out! Swimming very slowly and gentle right next to us and then disappeared into the blue, so we continued our way to the ledges and man those ledges were full today! There was about 20 sharks on the big ledge at 40ft and other 10 or 12 on the smaller ledges, we stopped, took a lot of pictures, watched them pushing each other to get a better spot, which to be honest is quite funny, and then we swam north, went around to the west and then up to the safety stop.

Once on the panga, while we waited for the rest of the divers to come up, a humpback whale came up to breath very close to us and guess what it was the same humpback whale that had her baby taken away by the orcas! The first thing we did was smile, we knew something good could happen, because it was THAT whale that let us into it's private space twice already and it was also getting quite close to the rock.

Once on the boat we kept an eye on that whale as we were filling tanks and we noticed that was spending quite long periods of time close to the rock on the south end, then going to the north for a short time and coming back to the south. We were also thinking that maybe she is still looking for her baby, which is sad, but also we noticed that she had no escort this time, what could mean that she already mated and might be coming back next year to give birth in our Mexican warm waters at Roca Partida! Either way, we were ready to go again and she was still around, so we got on the pangas, dropped down on the south end and at first the place looked empty, but suddenly we saw our videographer Adil waving like crazy and then we knew what we were about to see, YES! Mama humpback was coming! She was diving down from the surface and it stopped right at the same depth we were around 100ft/30m and she sat there, still, looking at us and inviting us to get a little closer and get those shots we wanted. We could not believe it, that whale is just amazingly friendly! She stayed with us about 20 minutes just sitting there and letting us enjoy her presence, then a black manta came swimming in between the divers kind off trying to get our attention, but yeah right, we had a humpback whale sitting right infront of us, I mean come on! So after trying it went right to the whale and swam on top of it like saying “Well I don't care, I will be in the shots too” Then mama humpback went up to take a breath and we saw how she disappeared slowly into the blue waters of this magic rock that always surprise us!
The manta stayed and entertained us for the rest of the dive, which was great as we drifted a long way off the rock, but who cares!...we saw mama humpback again!

For the third dive of the day mama humpback wet off the rock and this time we enjoyed the presence of few yellow fin tunas, 4 Galapagos sharks and tons of white tip reef sharks to finish another magic day of diving off the Solmar V.

And now at dinner time guess who's the main topic? Yeah, mama humpback!  Divers can not believe what they saw today, everybody is very happy and we are staying another day in Roca, all the other boats are gone and we have all to our selves, so lets hope for mama humpback to be around tomorrow!

Stay tuned!

By the way i think is about time that we name this friendly whale, any ideas?

Hasta la vista!

Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Whale shark, mantas, dolphins, sharks, lots of reef fish, humpbacks, and more on our first full day back at San Benedicto!

Hi All! Feb 07, 2015.
The volcano Island, behind a great sunrise as bright as a picture can’t describe!
7:00 am seems a little early for a dive, but you know what they say early birds get the best! or should I say early divers get to see the best?
Setting the back anchor at El Boiler was not bad this morning, an encounter with a 5-6m 15-18' long juvenile whale shark made it a fantastic job!  We spread the world during our dive briefing, and the rush to see it was on! For many divers it would be their first time seeing a whale shark, so as we were descending on the stern line it was already there around 10m/33' of water, it was very curious about the rock, swimming slowly as we made our way to the north western side of the dive site!  Giant mantas were there too, so as the whale shark swims away, the giant mantas stay to play!  In the small area we had a combination of mantas, whale shark, and some hammerheads!  With all the big eye jacks in the area, we know dolphins can't be far behind! We were playing with the mantas when the whale shark showed up again, and without any warning mama dolphin and baby stopped by for a little while to say hello, and here again came the whale shark!  It was all over the area, shallow, mid, deep water with lots of Black Jacks sort of rubbing against it's head.  A big number of striped bonitos were chased by a silky shark near the Solmar V, we had very pleasant water conditions to spend a bit more than an hour with this male whale shark.  Visibility was around 18m/60', with no current at all, and a water temp 24.4˚C/76˚F. A Galapagos shark was also part of the dive on the edge of the rock in 90' of water, the safety stop happened on the rope as we watched mantas and a whale shark swim by!
We had an amazing surface interval! It was so sunny, great for a suntan, in a range of 300m/985ft from Solmar V we spotted 3 hump back whales. One is doing jumps out of the water the other 2 are just swimming along we think, lots of boobies sitting on the surface of the water were interrupted by probably 12 dolphins, a hump back came in close to the dive area so we were all excited at the chance of seeing one or three.
We know how graceful mantas are, they have the tendency to stop swimming right in front of us sort of checking you out then begin swimming again, making eye contact also, and this second dive was all about mantas! To be more specific 8 of them, wing spam ranging from 4 to 5m/12 to 15 ft, there was no place to go around the rock where we didn’t see a manta! The whole rock was so busy with lots of fish, Moorish idols, Pacific creole fish, jacks, blue fin trevally, almaco jacks too! Bi color parrot fish, green morays, white tip reef sharks, and more! To make the dives even more enjoyable, our visibility improved to around 30m/100ft, the North East side of the rock was fantastic with as many as 5 mantas at the same time!
Surface interval more sun so watch out for sunburns!
The interaction between scuba divers and mantas is very strong via bubbles, we could go from East to West side of the rock blowing bubbles on the bellies of mantas, they swam over our heads at the same speed! Everything was great until yellow fin tuna rushed to hunt fish making them retract to the rock seeking protection, mantas and sharks are related we know that, so swimming along with them they took out of rock area literally they left us out there, not to worry considering a school of about 30 hammer heads that kept our attention for minutes, then back to the rock to play with more chevron mantas, going around the rock once more during this third dive the hammer heads showed up!
During our surface interval the whale shark came back to swim around Solmar V, good timing because it was time for our last dive today.
So our last dive happened to have whale shark, a silver tip shark, lots of playful mantas, current from South, the school of stripe bonitos once again, lots of hammer heads on the West side so it was worth the swim.
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Mantastic was the way we closed this unforgettable trip!

Mantastic was the way we closed this already incredible and unforgettable trip, diving at El Boiler! 
On our last day of the trip we dived at El Boiler all day long doing all the four dives. In the 7AM morning dive, the visibility was about 50’/15 m and a water temperature of 75 F/24 C and no current at all. We headed to the west side of the pinnacle looking for some friendly Mantas but no sign of them, however, we spent sometime taking photos of the hundreds of lobsters that inhabit this incredible pinnacle. Then we moved to the south of the reef and there they were! Initially a chevron manta made her first appearance and went right after one of the divers bubbles, got her bubble massage and moved to another diver, that is when 2 other Mantas showed up to be part of the sparkling party, too. The dolphins hadn’t arrived yet.
The second dive of the day and 5 Mantas, 2 super friendly black ones and 3 chevron awaited already at the north of the pinnacle, then we heard the dolphins approaching and yes they were coming! 10 dolphins cruised by and only two of them this time stopped to acrobatically swam around us before taking off and disappeared in the blue. After the dolphins took off, we spent the rest of the dive with these 5 friendly Mantas.
The last two dives of the trip were full of non-stop manta interaction and lots of swimming under giant mantas that never got tired of our bubbles, in fact because all of the 18 divers from this trip had gathered together in the same spot to played with the mantas, created a huge curtain of bubbles that made the mantas even more excited to be there.
That is the way the mantas should be treated all the time, with good practices, codes and respect, so for sure they will respect us back and treat us the same way we do to them.
This is how we ended the dive adventure of this EPIC trip!!
Stayed tuned for the next trip adventures with the Solmar V Team!
Hasta la próxima!