Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hammerheads, mantas, and more at San Benedicto!

Hi All! Jan 30, 2015.
We have seen everything on this trip until now even what really never was suspected until yesterday! Today we were in calm waters, protected against wind and swells, the dive site of the day was El CaƱon, 7:00 am might be too early for some but there was plenty of day light to get our diving day started! Everyone was still a bit emotional after yesterday, we needed something to get that out of our system. The colder than usual 23.8˚C/74˚F water this morning helped to distract from yesterday, visibility was only about 9m/30ft, with no current at all! We were in search of hammer heads, we swam over pretty much all the area finding only 5 to 7 of them. At one point the place felt lonely, fish absent, no dolphins, a manta came to rescue us from that feeling, at the corner or cleaning station we found some fish, and of course some lobsters, green moray eels, white tip reef sharks, really no more than that! But it was a nice swimming to earn breakfast!
Surface interval was partially clouded, there were moments we enjoyed basking in the sun, and at some times it was windy.
The ocean is calling our name once again, so here we go for a second dive! It is always nice to have the stern line especially in conditions of low vis similar to just as the first dive.  Things right away started to get better, the chirping of dolphins changed our attitude, not 10 minutes into the dive we had those 6 dolphins at 18m/60ft of water coming into our area inviting us to join them and so we did, their dolphin faces always look like they're smiling and it makes you smile too! Especially when you have the time to check them out! As they left us we once again had a positive attitude as we continued swimming South East, following our trail a manta made us stop, she had time for every one of us! We enjoyed blowing gentle bubbles having her belly as a receptor, I can tell she was happy as well staying longer with us. We found more hammer heads they were there about 7 of them at 27m/90ft depth, one of them coming so close and being a slow swimmer posing for the cameras, we were attached to the bottom for minutes where we found lobster, green morays, lots of fish, life is coming back! Our dive computers said our bottom time was up, so we are swimming back to Solmar V at 18/60ft depth, the corner or cleaning station seemed to be lonely once again, but a bit away a school of Pacific Creole Fish was not moving much so I decided lets check out whats behind them.  As if the fish were opening a window they let us swim through to see what so much we are looking for... Hammer Heads! The amount of sharks was incredible! We know if we swim slow they stay, so we did, having no current at all really helped us to stay with them. Clearly in front we had about 20 sharks, we kept following them slowly, they guided us to a much bigger school... long story short we ended up in the middle of easily 100 hammer heads, we had them below or fins, in front as a wall, over our heads, we stayed there until the last possible minute our dive computer would let us! We treated them with respsect and they respond to that! Robust sharks came as close as 1.5m/5ft away they didn't fit in a normal camera lens! Safety stop on the stern line done, time to come up!
For the third dive we wanted to see them again, but underwater conditions had changed, with a funny current hitting the ridge from South West that made us change plans underwater. There was one or two here and there, its always good to have your own dive computer especially when you are distracted looking at anything could possibly swim by and alert you to come up time! We are gliding in the current doing flips, head down position, a really dark shadow in front made us concentrate on the dived again, a massive school of stripe bonitos encircled us. There were hundreds of them, with only 2 silky sharks chasing them, so a lot of fish for just two! We actually feel the warmer water they move by swimming so fast, they made us come up to even 6m/20ft depth, it seems we were the floater to hide under, the sharks slowed down the rhythm of action or killing striped bonitos.
The final dive today happened at El Boiler, more wind in this area, the west side of island had bigger swells but we still had the joy of using the wide dive deck of Solmar V to jump into the water, 2 black mantas kept us in the same spot the whole dive! The north face of the rock, of course was so lucky to say no current but heavy surge, cotton mouth jacks today were dressing black today, the brown color of the rock made stand the so yellow color of the trumpet fish, even some soft coral yellow color when normally are brown, once again the bad guy of the story shows up chasing all fish, yellow fin tuna, probably the same one from the last past few trips that found the gold mine of fish.
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata 
Solmar V

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