Friday, March 13, 2015

Tiger shark, humpbacks, friendly mantas, dolphins, and more on our final day at San Benedicto!

We are back at San Benedicto for our last day of diving! 
At the surface we had a very clear sky, not a single cloud around, the pale orange color or a sunrise at 6:35 am denotes a perfect round sun!
So definitely the surface conditions at El Cañon were so good, there was zero current, zero wind, a nice flat ocean surface, with a water temp of 24.4˚C/76˚F, vis from 12 to 18m/40 to 60 ft during the first dive! In the 60 minute dive, among other things we had the opportunity to perfectly see a 1.8m/5.9ft long tiger shark! (GREAT SHOT FOR SOLMAR V PHOTO CONTEST) Not so shy swimming along, although it didn't stay for long, for a short time it came close enough to almost count all the stripes! Out of the water it was almost throwing a party for many being the first time in their lives to see one of them, we joined the celebration! More time on the same dive, hammer heads sharks were spread out, the most we counted together were 8, with a few here and there! So it was helpful a no current in order to explore the whole area of El Cañon finding 2 mantas, they stayed for a brief time with us to say Hi, swim around us couple of times before they left.  The safety stop happened at the descent line surrounded by lots of Pacifc creolefish, big eye jacks, trigger fish, juvenile black jacks, and more!
The surface interval came along with lots of dolphins in the dive area in addition to the humpbacks!
We couldn’t wait to go in the water for a second dive, so we went ahead of the dive schedule and jumped into the water once again! We were all excited for dolphins, dolphins, dolphins! A really mild current from East brought a layer of green water preventing us from seeing more than a hammerhead here and there, in the end no dolphins, but that's understandable! Mother Nature can bring lots of good things but other times not so much, it was time to go to other dive site!
El Boiler for our third and forth dives! Amazing visibility, over 30m/100ft, from the surface we were able to see the ocean floor! We spent 60 minutes on each dive with 3 to 6 mantas the entire time, chevrons, black ones, males, females, they were all so playful! The West side of the rock was adorned with lots of big eye jacks in shallow water, at times swimming off the wall hanging out there swimming in circles, we actually got in the middle, they didn’t mind so we are surrounded by a wall of fish, white tip sharks also active swimming over the green and brown color of the hard coral.  At el Boiler there is a very healthy reef, the lobster were not shy either, but as we feel sun angle changing toward the sunset trevally jacks are really active hunting swimming over the reef, they look so friendly to every other fish but we witnessed how fast swimmers they are when it comes down to hunting, chasing, non-stop detecting any weak fish, a red tail trigger fish became fast food! We actually saw the jacks swallowing it, the last part of the poor trigger fish we saw was open mouth sticking out of the trevally jack! Beautiful images we have in our mind from this dive ending up on the surface obviously adding to it the blow of two hump backs whales in front of us! A big thanks to "Crazy" Luis Godinez for a great job on keeping an eye on us while diving!
We also did snorkeling just to see if we were lucky with whales near Los Morros by El Boiler area, 3 times we got in the water, 3 times we saw them! There were actually 4 whales including calf, a big thanks to Geronimo for great timing on whales, so the question still remains on! Who were the luckiest on the snorkeling? Was it the guests because they saw whales or Geronimo because he got kisses from all the girls after finding whales!
    Dive Inst
    Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

An unforgettable experience at Cabo Pearce!

Today was a great day of diving at The Socorro Island! The divesite Cabo Pearce allowed us a very nice encounter with the Pacific Giant Manta (Manta Birostris)! On the first dive the current was strong to moderate from North to South. We went down the descent line and we began in the shallow of the lava flow, which start in the shore and goes deeper, before going down to the 90 Ft. / 27 m where the current was mild. After exploring the deeper area we progressed to shallower water until we got the 50 Ft /15 m. We followed the wall and we've been looking for the Clarion Angel Fish at the cleaning stations. These fish are always waiting for the Mantas to come to clean them and sometimes they like to clean divers as well! That actually happened today, adding extra fun for our divers.We've been going from south to North and after a couple of minutes exploring the area, the first chevron manta Chevron was coming from North to South swimming to us. It passed very close to us, but was a little bit shy and did not stay for long. Slowly we returned to our original heading to find another Manta Chevron circling around the descent line until we completed the safety stop. This was a good start but we hoped to see more on our next dives.  The water temperature was very nice 77 Fº/ 25 º c  and the visibility was 80 Ft /24 m, very comfortable for a long day of diving!  At the surface the weather was a very nice 78 Fº /26 º C, it was a sunny day, perfect to hang out at the sun deck watching the humpback whales in between dives.  On the second dive we had more Mantas in the shallow water from 50 ft. /15 m to the surface.  They were close to the little pinnacle near the shore, the chevron manta was there at our right and from the left the bottle nose dolphins came very close to us!  The Dolphins were very very close looking at us, playing with our bubbles, and one mom was swimming with a baby dolphin beside her!  More Mantas arrived, and they were very nice to see! Swimming up and down, going to the surface and turning around the cleaning stations which made Cabo Pearce one of the better dive sites in the world! And one of the favorite sites at the Revillagigedo Archipelago!  If the second dive was better than the first morning dive, what can I say about the 3rd one? It was incredibly to watch mantas all around! It was the perfect time for all our divers to have a close encounter with this magnificent animal! We can say that during the day we had 6 to 7 mantas at Cabo Pearce but most of them joined us this dive, giving to all of us a superlative view of what nature means!  The mantas were very kind to divers and they liked to go to the blue and return to play with the divers! It was euphoric taking pictures and videos and blowing bubbles on the bellies of the mantas. Once aboard the Solmar V, everybody was happy!! And on top of this more humpbacks whales came very close to the boat! A mom with a baby, splashing the surface with the dorsal fin, and showing their tales!  After lunch, we got ready to go diving again, but with a little bit more current this time, we went across the current to the different cleaning stations. When we reach a new cleaning station it was perfect to rest a little bit while waiting for the mantas to come.  While waiting for the mantas to show, we focused on the small stuff, like tropical fishes, lots of barber fish, Moorish idols, Pacific trigger fish, parrot fish, trumpet fish, white tip sharks, and flounders.  We explore some more into the blue to try our luck. Once in the blue and on the way to our safety stop; we found another chevron manta, and 3 hammerhead sharks showed up into the blue to remind us that diving at Cabo Pearce always is an unforgettable experience!
                                                                                               Ignacio H. Leyro
                                                                                                Scuba Instructor

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Humpbacks, dolphins, a juvenile whale shark, and even a sea lion at Roca Partida!

Hola amigos! 
Here's the news from our second day at Roca Partida!
We started the first dive at 8:30am, with the same conditions as yesterday, 26C/79F and a beautiful crystal clear visibility of 100’/30 m plus!
Our initial plan was to look for the school of hammerheads that we had seen yesterday, but this time we really wanted to see them up close, so we really put an effort in the quest finding of these beautiful sharks! Previously knowing that the sharks were possible going to be in the south east side of Roca, as soon as we reached 100’/30 m we immediately saw some glimpses of them at 130/40m at least, we approached to them carefully and patiently because we didn’t really want to miss the opportunity of seeing them right up to our faces, so the idea was not to scare them, anyway, luckily for us they turned to our way and an started coming up shallower and towards us, this time they really gave us really good close-up passes to everyone before heading back down deep and vanishing into the deep blue. Time to come back to the rock and see what this amazing pinnacle had for us today. On the way back to the south corner, we spotted finally a huge school of bonitos that were being chased by some Silky Sharks, we tried to keep up with them but were swimming way too fast. When all these tuna relatives passed by, behind them a pod of eight bottlenose dolphins showed up and hung out with us for the last 20 minutes of the dive. During our safety stop we spotted the unusual visit of our friendly female sea lion that rested calmly on the surface. By the way, this Sea Lion has been hanging at Roca Partida for the last 4 months. The closest point form here where there sea lions is Cabo San Lucas; so this sea lion has made a long way away from home to be here, who knows what reasons brought him up to here?
We got picked up by our panga driver “Crazy” Luis and took us back to the SolmarV, on the way there we saw several blows of few humpback whales here and there. The other divers were on the other panga were close to some of the whales and didn’t miss the opportunity to get in the water so they all jumped back to the water and saw a momma humpback, her calf and an escort together with the same dolphins we had previously seen in the beginning of the dive.
On the second dive, the three group of divers leaded by Danny, Nacho, and myself, we all went off the rock in the blue to look for hammerheads one more time, however, this time the sharks were way to deep, well beyond our maximum depth. We gave up and didn’t keep wasting time at deep, we returned to the rock and to our surprised a 14’/4 m juvenile whale sharks was swimming up from the deep and went all the way up to the surface! Basically all divers hung out with him for the rest of the dive! Everyone had incredible opportunities to video and photograph this baby gentle giant!
The third dive was quieter; the visibility had got a bit murky later on so we decided to spend the dive hanging at the pockets were all the piles of white tip reef sharks are, we were really hoping we could see the same friendly whale shark again, however we weren’t so lucky this time to catch a second sight of him. We did see galapagos and silvertip sharks here and there and a few couple hundred pound yellow fin tunas that cruised by looking for some fish to catch!  Well folks, these were today’s news from Roca Partida. Tonight we’re leaving this epic rock and going to Socorro Island. We’re looking forward to seeing more dolphin interaction at the capital of the friendly dolphins and of course to seeing also the majestic flying carpets getting cleaning at the best manta cleaning station in the archipelago….Cabo Pearce!
Thanks for tuning in, nos vemos en la próxima!
Erick Higuera

Playful dolphins and lots of shark action at Roca partida!

A windy morning, partly clouded, lots of energies on the air, choppy surface but the underwater world was so serene! Black jacks were welcoming us as we started descending, lots of white tip sharks on the ledges moving their tails left and right in slow motion due to surge, it's always fun to see them! At times heads out to sea other times tail sticking out, saving energies, they have a nice brotherhood, they don’t mind being on top or under, the windy morning brought lots of dolphins into the area! From the surface we are still enjoying  whale season, as early as 6:00 am we had one blowing so hard for fresh air just off the Solmar V, the singing was very loud underwater, today we had two different singers audibly entertaining us today! This morning the whales singing and dolphins chirping made us wait on the East side of the rock, we can tell they were so close and it was only a matter of time... Fish surrounded us their formation shattered by the fast pass by of a yellow fin tuna, silky sharks made their appearance several times, they seemed curious about divers. One or two silver tip sharks as well were in the area, a bit deeper and shy to come closer to us.  Dolphins were still teasing us, we know will be a lot easier to see a dolphins than a whale so we all don’t want to leave this area, underwater conditions were mild current, from South, water temp 25˚C/77˚F, Vis of 18 to 27m/60 to 90ft. We drifted slowly north and came back south, finally no more teasing us! Dolphins made their appearance in a big group, at least 25 of them breaking into smaller groups, since we are 3 groups of divers we had dolphins for all, swimming slow giving us the time to take lots of pictures! The usual position they adopt was there, belly up, slow free fall, blowing some bubbles inviting us to go deeper, while other dolphins were crazy swimming fast encircling divers, they came back several times to play more, a mother and baby were together the entire time showing to the little one hunting techniques. So curious they are, the interaction we had was great, they were swimming so close that they almost let us touch them but the perception of distance they have is magnificent, our safety stop happened drifting slowly accompanied by silky sharks.
The surface interval was still windy but not for whales, they continued doing all sort of thing trying to impress females in the area, lob tail slapping, half jumps, hanging upside down belly almost out of the water hitting the surface of the water with both pectoral fins at the same time. 

Our second dive the current decided to change direction, from East to west which made us also change our plans underwater, we went all around the rock, checking out every single shark station, another group decided as well to go find hammer heads, not so lucky until the end of dive, when we found than 50 sharks.
The third dive the decision was made… go find hammer heads and come back to swim more around the rock, and so it was just like that, the first time they showed up was at 30m/100ft, second time a few minutes later in deeper water 36/120ft aprox, more than 50 hammer heads swimming circles in the same spot, so we were just above then, unfortunately they went deeper.
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dolphins and mantas at El Boiler, next stop Roca Partida!

Hi Everyone!!
Today was a wonderful day of diving at the Boiler! At the beginning of the 1st dive we heard the sound of the dolphins playing coming from the southern direction. We went to look for them and were at the corner of the Boiler when the first bottle nose Dolphins showed up, running behind the trevally jack fish! They really have been hunting them, while the fish were running away in a race for life!  The temperature of the water was very nice, 77 Fº /25 Cº, and the visibility was like 80 Ft / 24 m all day.  We were watching the Dolphins in this area when a chevron manta ( Black and white ) arrived, but on this dive the fun belongs to the Dolphins! They were everywhere, swimming up and down, vertical, like 30 of them around the Boiler and around the divers who were amazed with all this beauty! We turned the corner from south to the west, we moved along the Boiler at our left and the Dolphins to our right.  Turning the corner we found another chevron manta, that was out in the blue a little bit indifferent with our presence. We then continued moving north when a big Hammerhead appear at the limit of our sight along with a Silky Shark that was curious about us.  At the northern point we found a massive school of trevally jacks and lots of dolphins again coming up from depth, passing in between divers, and hunting in the shallow at the step which is at the 30 Ft /9 m. The winners of our 1st dive, no doubt were the bottle nose dolphins! 
The second round goes to the Mantas, which decided to participate lot more during our second dive! When we reached the first step located at 30 ft/ 9 m we watched a wingtip of a black manta saying "Hi!" Calling us across this rock formation, then it moved south, where we found a little bit more current and more mantas than the previous dive! 4 Mantas were swimming around, 3 of them chevron and 1 black manta playing there, for the entire dive!  They were very playful, very kind with divers and they seemed to enjoy our bubbles on their bellies as they always do. The black manta was at the 60 ft/ 18 m, but finally they were moving in to the shallower area from50 ft/15m to the surface. On our 3rd dive we had the same 4 mantas that we found before, and we went straight to the little pinnacle located in front of the Boiler.  There were plenty of tropical fish like Moorish idols, trumpet fish, Grunts in a small school at around 80 ft/24 m. We crossed the Boiler and we had current from the east, then we stayed at the northwest area protected from the current and the chevron mantas appeared with all the intention to demonstrate that the Boiler is by far the best location in the world to watch them! All these mantas around showing themselves with all the glamor they have and few of them with bright orange clarion angelfish all over them. This fish is characteristic of this area and is the only fish which cleans the mantas. Usually they create a beautiful contrast for all the photographers and videographers! Our last dive was the better way to say goodbye to the Boiler before we leave to Roca Partida. The wall on the west was the easiest place to start; we followed this entire wall until we see the white tip sharks on a small ledge.  Once at the southwestern point we watched a beautiful school of trevally jacks, when a Manta Chevron joined us from the blue! We stopped at this corner and the manta was there for a very long time without moving at all. We headed back north, where we have lots of Pacific creolefish around and leather bass groupers, and at the end of our dive another chevron manta came up from depths to say goodbye until next time! The current was stronger and was the perfect time to complete our safety stop.  All the divers had lot of action during all the days dives, and all this action was accompanied by the music of the Humpback Whales! They seem very happy singing all day long underwater and breathing and blowing air at the surface, for the delight of all of us on another sunny day aboard the Solmar V!

Ignacio H. Leyro
Solmar V
Scuba Diving Instructor

Monday, March 9, 2015

Diamond stingrays, electric rays, white tip reef sharks, and lots of reef fish at Las Cuevas!

We’re back in business!
Today was the first day of this now Solmar V adventure, we checked out dive at Las Cuevas in San Benedicto. 4:30 pm and we were all set ready to start this new adventure!
Dive gear ready checked, dive computer checked, dive buddy checked, buoyancy checked, cameras ready, so action!
We encountered at Las Cuevas 50’/15m of visibility and a water temperature of 25C/77F.
In the first cave we found several White Tip Reef Sharks that rest peaceful on the bottom, and lots of Glass Eyes, Soldier Fishes and also Surgeon Fishes adorned the cave as well, of course the roof of the cave was covered of dozens of Spiny Lobsters walked all around the roof.
We moved to the second cave and along the way we found dozens of Diamond Stingrays that chased each other, it was an unusual event, and therefore we don’t normally see them at this dive site. I guess they were trying to mate, saying so because the chase of each other.
On they way back to the anchor line, we spotted few Electric Rays that hid buried in the sand.  This is how our checked dive got up to its end. While we had our awesome opening trip barbeque at the anchorage side of the island, several Humpback Whales were spotted surfacing near by the boat and others were breaching like if they were all happy to having us back in their home.

Our plans for tomorrow are to start diving at 7:00am at El Boiler, considering that the last trip ended on a good note at El Boiler with dozens of friendly dolphins and mantas, so we don’t want lose time and start having fun right away!

Thanks for tuning in. Stand by for tomorrows news!

Hasta la vista my friends!

Erick Higuera

Monday, March 2, 2015

We had an excellent day at Cabo Pearce at Socorro Island!

Today we had an excellent day in Cabo Pearce at Socorro Island, the water temperature was 75f/24C and the visibility was around 30ft/10m a bit murky but we still had awesome dives.  We got in the water at 7:00am and the dive started a bit slow but we did see lots of clarion angelfish so we were wondering where the mantas were maybe it was just a bit too early for them because at the end of the dive they showed up about five of them getting cleaned and being very playful. As soon as we got out of the water lots of dolphin showed up so we decided to snorkel with them everybody got a close look at them until we were all tired of swimming and ready to go back to the boat to have some breakfast.
On the second dive we found the mantas right away there were five of them around and all of the sudden a pod of eight dolphins passed by this time we saw them underwater and all the divers got to swim with them. After that we headed over to the cleaning station a school of hammerheads was passing by about thirty of them.
On the second and third dive there were only two mantas still they were very playful and there were lots of schools of fish around jacks, creole, triggers and others, but the highlight here were the songs of the humpback whales. They were probably moving around a lot and with the low visibility was hard to find so only two of the divers saw them but all the time we could hear it extremely loud like if they were right next to at some points you could feel your whole body vibrating it was amassing in some moments even a bit scary.
Now we head to San Benedicto again this time to dive El Boiler on our last day of the trip hopping for some good manta action as usual stay tuned!

Thiago Mendeonca
Dive Instructor

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Day 2 at Roca and the humpback whales were all around us!

Hola amigos!

Today was our second day at Roca Partida and it had a great start! The humpback whales were all around us and the sea was so calm that we could see them even if they were far, we saw them swimming around, breaching out, males competing for females, baby humpbacks learning how to breach, it was a great show to watch!

On the diving side, the water was as still as it was yesterday 75F/24C, visibility of 80 to 100ft/24 to 30m and a very mild current coming from the east-northeast. Our first two dives were quite slow lots of creole fish and jacks but not many sharks others than the white tip reef sharks that as always were all packed on those little crevices around the rock and a school of about 60 hammerheads that made their appearance by the end of the second dive on the south west end of the rock at about 120ft/36m, before we headed out to our safety stop in the blue waters as we listened to the humpback whales singing. Today this rock surprised us once again!...after 2 slow dives on our third dive the action did not stop, we dropped in and as we descended on the east side of the rock we notice some sharks swimming in  deep water so we went down to check them out and for our surprise there was a bunch of them! 4 big Galapagos sharks and 2 silver tip sharks started swimming around us and the thousands of creole fish, then a silky shark showed up and joined the show before we decided to go out into the blue to follow a big school of black jacks waiting to see some hammerhead action, and our patience was rewarded, after a few minutes of following the jacks a few hammerheads showed up from the deep waters, probably 4 or 5 at the beginning, and then the whole school of about 30 came up to 140ft, too deep for us to go closer but still a very nice view from the top! After enjoying that for a few minutes we headed back to the rock to check out the ledges where the white tips lay down, we took a few pictures and video and headed out into the blue again, hovered at about 60ft/18m for a few minutes right in the edge of this gigantic school of creole fish and suddenly they all disappeared, in less than a second that huge cloud of fish left us hanging in the blue waters when we realized that yellow fin tunas were hunting, we saw them passing by in front of us and going deep and then 4 huge tunas showed up! They swam right in between the group of divers, changing colors and looking for a prey, it was awesome, I even screamed trough my regulator a big woohoo, and my divers laughed haha! Anyway, a great great dive to finish our diving in Roca Partida. After the diving 2 groups of divers went whale watching on the zodiacs and now we are all heading to Socorro Island where we plan to dive “Cabo Pearce”, so stay tuned because there is a lot more action coming!

Hasta la vista!

Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor