Friday, April 17, 2015

Black tip, Galapagos, silver tip, tiger, and whale shark on our first full day at San Benedicto!

Hi All! April 16, 2015
    Good atmosphere of enthusiastic divers this morning.
    A partially clouded sky, air temp 24˚C/75˚F and just a mild breeze in the area, the dive site EL BOILER was affected by a mild current from South keeping all the fish on the same side of the rock, as usual Pacific Creolefish were accompanying us along the rock, they were very active by the way due in part to all the nutrients in the water. Close to the bottom 33m/110ft Big Eye Jacks were making circles on the same spot, white sandy bottom shaped in sand dunes, some white tip sharks swimming just above it made a nice contrast inviting to go deeper, we are suspended at 24m/80ft we see the bottom so clear and up the surface, all around us its just blue water, so we let go from the area of current drifting covering West side, two mantas just found us! They did not stay for too long, below us lots of bi-color parrot fish were doing what seemed to be a mating behavior, toward the end of the dive one of the previous manta became extra friendly with all divers, immersed very well on all and every single thing of the dive time goes by fast while a hump back whale didn’t stop singing, very loud at moments.
Our surface interval was about 25˚C/77˚F air temp, thin clouds sort of blocking sunlight, by the bow of Solmar V was the perfect place to warm up, great view watching boobies landing there and a Manta jump out of the water, at the distance still 3 hump back whales visible, dolphins just arrived!
Mother Nature brings unexpected life in a short time!
On a second dive the amount of current decreased almost to cero letting us cover more area of EL BOILER, Hammer heads were not around but instead a Galapagos and Black tip shark kept their respective distance from divers. A very mild drifting into west side brought the really close encounter between our videographer and a tiger shark, for some diver it looked like a juvenile whale shark of about 5m/15ft in length, but it obviously wasn’t! The stripes tell! So if he could he would have touched it! We spent short time in the blue to find sharks, returning to the rock we were immediately followed by 5 mantas loving our bubble, everyone had the opportunity to swim along with them, at the same time mantas kept looking for divers to blow more and more bubbles, the interaction was as good as mantas doing a sandwich with divers in a vertical and horizontal position, two lonely hammer heads showed up below the manta action for a short time! Still mantas gained our attention once again, a school of Big Eye Jacks surprised us by swimming a bit faster than normal and out of control just like anything could be chasing them, white tips sharks did its part as well keeping other divers occupied taking close ups.
The gracefully swimming of mantas kept most of us interested even at the safety stop by swimming by repeatedly just under the descend/ascend line, a male hump back whale made the dive unforgettable with its constant singing/vocalizations, dolphins were absent underwater today although they did a bit of chirping.
So nice to be submerged and get to the point to feel the life underwater, everything that you are surrounded by, fish, sharks, mantas, eels, lobsters, etc.
A third dive was just like that! No current at all, vis 30m/100ft, so the blue water kept catching our curiosity to go farther every time on the West side, and do the -----Hope for something!---- which brought to us a Whale Shark of about 7m/21ft long approx… not really friendly, but it counts! The manta fun continued for as long as until end of the dive, meanwhile we kept an eye on the blue water hopping for the whale shark again, it did not come back again! Mantas moved to the North side of the rock which was convenient, safety stop line was just above us, Black and chevron mantas have been so playful today! In a competition the black ones would take the first place today!
Our final dive today number 4, I can describe it as a Manta Festival, everything happened on the West side, we had 7 to 8 mantas together, for as long as 60 minutes, bubbles everywhere, mantas all over the place! Divers extremely happy swimming under the mantas, above mantas, alongside, eye to eye contact! As huge as the mantas are 4 to 5m/ 12 to 15ft you could almost put them on as Mexican sombrero, they are barely above your head, they want more bubbles, at the same time they are sinking you to deeper water, that tells how much mantas enjoy when we blow bubbles on their bellies, most of the Mantas were different on each dive! How things can change, we also had mantas chasing divers for more bubbles, sadly no hump back whale singing any more made the dive so silent, a silver tip shark seemed to be out of place not knowing where to go among so many mantas, divers and bubbles.
        Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

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