Monday, June 22, 2015

Adios to Socorro until next season!

Hola amigos!
We stayed at Socorro island for our last day of diving this trip and we decided to dive “Cabo Pearce” again, as the swell was hitting “Punta Tosca”, the other dive site on the other side of the island.
We did 4 dives here and the mantas did not disappoint in any of them! Even if the conditions were not ideal, 23C/73F and a constantly changing visibility of 25ft/9m to 50ft/15m, mantas and the clarion angel fish at the cleaining stations made sure we were entertained the whole day! They didn't just get cleaned they also played with us A LOT!  To the point where we had to swim away to get rid of the mantas that kept coming over and over like little puppies for their bubble massage and when they decided to take a break of the cleaning show and our bubble massage for a few minutes then the white tip reef sharks, octopuses, peacock flounders, diamond stingrays, green morays, zebra morays, all the different kinds of reef fish, other sharks like juvenile Galapagos, a couple of hammer heads and even some playfull bottle nose dolphins took over and made sure the underwater show kept going the whole day!
What a great way to end the trip and our 2014-2015 Socorro season! Now we head back to Cabo hoping to be back in Socorros soon, but in the mean time we take good care of the boat on the dry dock this coming July and then, from August until October, we'll go have fun up in Guadalupe island cage diving with the GREAT WHITE SHARKS! Can't wait to be face to face with those beautiful animals!
We'll write to you soon!
Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Friendly mantas and dolphins at Socorro Island!

Today we dove at Cabo Pearce in Socorro Island, we were afraid the conditions were going to be like San Benedicto but this was not the case!  The water temperature was 74F/23C and the visibility changed a lot throughout the day.
The first two dives we got some clear water in some parts of the site up to 60ft/20m visibility and in other areas a bit less. There was a very strong current so both dives in the morning were just holding on to the reef for most part and then drifting into the blue, while we were hanging on to the reef two hammerheads were going around on top of us and just out of the reef some silvertip sharks hovering on the current. A small pod of dolphins passed by but it was hard to catch up with them in the current, at the end on the drift some mantas passed by to check us out. After the second dive we could still see the dolphins on the surface so we got closer with the panga and did some snorkeling with them.
For the third and fourth dive of the day the visibility dropped a to about 20ft/6m and green water came in witch was not so good but on the good side the current stopped and about eight extremely friendly mantas showed up and everybody got some manta action! They were getting cleaned on the cleaning station and also enjoyed playing in our bubbles. Tomorrow is our last day of diving of this trip and also the last day of diving of the Socorro season, we heard news that San Benedicto still has sub par conditions so we are planning to finish here at Socorro hopefully with many mantas again!
Thiago Mendonca

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Drifting with the current at Roca Partida!

Hola amigos!
Today the diving at Roca was great! We saw once again lots of silvertip and Galapagos sharks that lined up to face the ripping current that was hitting Roca all the day!
We managed the current perfectly, we just had to hang out by the wall and enjoy the sharky parade of 15-20 silvertips with few Galapagos as well. If we couldn’t stay hanging on the wall in one of the dives, it didn’t really matter, because all we did was to drifted along the pinnacle and cruised through the thousands of whitemouth jacks and hundreds of black jacks that covered the whole rock. Once we were drifting away we were also intercepting massive schools of yellowfin tunas that constantly passed by!
The only dive that was a bit different the other two was the first and morning dive. Because of the strong northeastern current the visibility had dropped and cooled down to 74F/23C. Also these unusual and strong current created several “washing machines” at both the north and the south points, so we didn’t have other choice but to spend the entire dive in the west protected side of the rock. It was worth it however, as 5 super friendly dolphins that came out from the murky water surprising to all of us and hanging out for a little bit playing the typical mimic game!
I can say that in senses of amount of fish and sightings of sharks, these last three days we spent here at the best single dive site in the world were the best of the all season!
This is how Roca said goodbye to us! We are leaving tonight and as you know this is the closing season trip and we are planning to come back till the fall!
Hopefully Roca will be eagerly waiting for our return with some epic action in store for November!
We plan to leave tonight and go check out the conditions in Socorro at Cabo Pearce, the best manta cleaning station in the Revillagigedo’s Archipelago! 
Stay tuned for the next Solmar V adventures at the Socorro Islands!
Hasta la próxima!
Erick Higuera

Friday, June 19, 2015

Schooling hammerhead sharks, and the biggest school of yellow fin tuna our dive instructor has seen!

Hola amigos!
As you know we stayed at Roca Partida for a second day of diving and today turned out to be spectacular!
We woke up next to this magic rock with a very cloudy day, we did not see the sun at all, but the diving made us forget about it! The sea was calm, when we first got in the water we felt it was a little bit cooler than yesterday, about 73F/23C, and visibility was about 70ft/21m.
On our first dive we went down on the east side of the rock, from there we noticed that the current was so strong that we couldn't swim into it at all, so after a few minutes there hanging in between of thousands of creole fish and seeing a couple of silver tip sharks swimming by we decided to head north, looking for the bottle nose dolphins that we saw at the surface on our ride to the dive site! There they were, a pod of 5 or 6 came to play, not for long, but it was enough to make us smile!
After that and once we went around to the west side drifting with the current, we noticed not much action there so we swam to the south end where we found a lot of white tip reef sharks swimming around in circles as they do when they are getting ready to mate, after looking at them and taking pretty good shots there we head back to the west where we found another of the groups playing with the dolphins so we tried to join, but they were already leaving, then the other group saw a school of about 40 hammer heads right below them, but sadly for us being our very last part of the dive we were to shallow to be able to see them, so we head to our safety stop and back on the boat.
For our second dive we could tell from the surface how the current increased, so we went down again on the east side and this time current changed direction a little bit and it was coming from the south east, so we kicked a little to get into the “safe zone” and once there surrounded by thousands of all kinds of fish, like different kinds of jacks, trigger, pompanos, creole and even a few puffer fish, we just stayed nearly in the same spot for most of the dive just looking at the white tip, silky, silver tip and Galapagos sharks go by! An occasional tuna would swim by and all the fish would just swim as fast as possible back to the rock to get some protection from this hunters, what a great show to watch!
But that was not it, the third and last dive of the day got even better! Current slowed down a little so we went to the same south east corner to enjoy the show, but this time tunas were just amazingly crazy! As we were there looking at all the sharks a few massive yellow fin tunas went by, followed by a huge school of bonitos a little deeper being followed and hunt by silky and silver tip sharks, so we swam out into the blue, not too far from the rock to take a better look and for our surprise once they left a massive schools of yellow fin tunas started showing up from all directions, from small, to medium to gigantic tunas! some point they were swimming in front of us and suddenly they all turned towards us and went right in between us! Imagine huge yellow fin tunas swimming right next to you, it was just awesome! And among all of them the occasional silky shark will be hunting specially the smaller tunas, this show kept going for almost 25 minutes! We couldn't believe what we were watching! Definitely by far the largest school of tunas I have ever seen here at Roca!
Then we got back on board Solmar V and as we are about to start filling the tanks we saw false killer whales swim next to the boat! A big school by the way, so we jumped on one of the zodiacs and went after them to try to snorkel with them, but sadly they were swimming too fast for us and we couldn't catch up with them.
Any way a great day! Now we rest and try to process all that we saw today and hoping for more of that tomorrow, we will stay for another day of diving here at Roca Partida as the actions is very good at the moment!
Stay tuned!

Antonio Romero
Dive Instructor

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sharky waters at Roca Partida!

Our second day of this trip was way better than the first one! We made a good decision by leaving the green water of San Benedicto and coming to Roca Partida, because here the conditions were great! The temperature was 74F/23C with 80ft/24m visibility in very sharky water!
We were a bit sad that we were not going to dive San Benedicto today, because that is where we usually see the mantas, but this was not a problem because on the first dive at Roca as soon as we got in the water there were two of them!
Throughout the day there were also the usual residents white tips, jacks, triggers and wahoos, but the season the amount of sharks was extraordinary!  Lots of big silvertip sharks swimming around and hunting, some very big Galapagos sharks, and some silky sharks close to the surface, but the highlight of the day for sure was the hammerheads! There were a couple of different schools formed by 20 to 30 of them really close to the rock in shallow water and with silvertip sharks in the middle of the schools, definitely the most amount of sharks we have seen in one day in the whole season!  We also saw a couple of small schools of bonitas being chased by silkys and lots of tunas hunting
We are planning on a couple more days of diving here at Roca Partida since the conditions are good and we have such sharky waters! So keep tuned to see what comes next!
Thiago Mendonca

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The first report from the last trip of the season!

What´s up folks!
Here we are with the first dive report from the last trip of the Socorro´s Islands Nov 2014-June 2015 season!
We´re all excited for this last trip of the season! Normally the chances to sight whale sharks in the archipelago are better, specifically at Roca Partida, and once in a while large schools of silky sharks are high in June, besides the mantas, dolphins and the usual marine life that you are familiar with if you have been following us with the dive and video reports!
Arriving at San Benedicto, we could see from several miles away that the water looked green, of course that was a sign that a recent storm had previously hit the islands and I'm talking about the recent hurricane "Blanca" that passed by these islands 10 days ago. When strong winds blow over the Sea for long periods of time, the surface water is removed by the wind and deep and cold water comes up to replace the surface water. This deep and cold water is full of nutrients that serve as food for microalgae.
When the water turns green is normally because there massive blooms of these tiny little plankton form of different species of microalgae, making the water looks like a soup of green beans. At the end is not at bad thing, actually it is a good thing, because that is an important reason why the waters are full of marine life in the Archipelago of Revillagigedo.
On our first dive of the the trip which it was a check out dive, as soon as we got in the water we immediately realized the visibility was going to be low, basically it was about 10´/3m of visibility and the water temperature dropped 5 degrees since the last time, this time was 74-75F/23-24C.
So, we had a very unusual and limited visibility, therefore we took the decision to go to Roca Partida right away since the weather is looking good right now. We´re hoping to find clearer water out at Roca and hoping also that the waters around San Benedicto will clear out within the next days so we can go back and had some mantastic action with the resident gentles!
Stay tuned for the next SolmarV updates!
Nos vemos luego,
Erick Higuera 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Today was a mantastic day of diving at the Boiler!

May 30, 2015
San Benedicto Island
Today was a great day of diving at the Boiler!  Before we entered the water we had bottlenose dolphins jumping in the water, inviting us to play with them! We followed the descent line all the way down when the first bottlenose were heading in our direction!  We headed towards the eastern corner when the first chevron manta of the day appeared to the east in 60ft/18m of water!  It moved up to 50ft/15m when another chevron manta joined the show! The pacific giant mantas were patrolling the area swimming circles around the cleaning station where the clarion angelfish are waiting for them!  The dive was very relaxing and enjoyable with all of the mantas playing between 50ft/15m and 70ft 21m for the entire dive!
For the second dive, the visibility was pretty clear between 60ft to 80ft, water temp was 76F/24C to 78F/25C for the rest of the day! 
On the second dive we reach 90 ft/27 m and we opened from the Boiler to the Pinnacle in front, we turned around the rock formation, which was plenty of tropical fish! We saw moorish idols, trumpet fish and a school of grunts.  On the way back to the Boiler we found two chevron mantas, and the only thing we needed to do was just stay there and wait for more Mantas to come! Eventually, we had four Mantas, close to the step that the Boiler has at the 50 ft./15 m. From the Boiler to the northern area of the dive site, out in the blue the Mantas were very kind to divers and they really like to feel the divers bubbles on their bellies!  We decided to change direction and we moved from the eastern to the western corner. Once there we saw a group of bottlenose dolphins swimming straight towards us!  They seemed very curious about us and very playful as well. They’ve been swimming up and down, when they were ready to leave, one of them come back to us wanted to take another look at us. We followed them until they disappeared into the immensity of the blue. We continued to the northern point, when the first black manta appeared from the depths and immediately a chevron manta joined us! We followed the wall of the boiler and when you pay attention to small details, you can see lot of sea life, such as Panamic green moray eels, white tip sharks, beautiful hard coral, Pacific triggerfish, lobsters, leather bass, and of course the beautiful rock formation which looks like an underwater plateau with gradual steps to the ocean bottom. We distinguished a few whitetipsharks at depth ,but today all was about Mantas! The Mantas were all around us; we saw four Mantas, 2 of them Black ones and we could even see them while doing the safety stop! And a curious silky shark stopped by to check what was going on. 
On the 3rd dive is when the manta party begun to pickup, and all we can say that they were everywhere!! We had a group of chevron mantas circling around, dancing in front of us and showing us their bellies! Near the surface they were circling all the way down creating a fascinating spectacle of mother nature!  We can say that every group of divers had their own manta, we had five mantas playing together!  The mantas liked to pass very close to our divers heads looking for bubbles! Everybody was very happy and excited about the previous dive, but when we dove our last dive of the trip it was absolutely astounding!! We had five to six mantas all together swimming all around in the same area. Chevron and black mantas with clarion angelfish on top of them created a beautiful contrast! They opened their wings with magnificence and majesty in all their movements, with all the aspects of the sea life, remoras on top of them, Clarion angel fish cleaning the mantas delightful for photographers. We had all this action with the Mantas and we can say that we we had 10 different Mantas during the day, on the last dive we had 5-6 for the entire 60 minute dive. That’s why the Boiler is well known as a top diving destination in the world! To find the Pacific giant manta over the course of many years, this incredibly dive site is where we dove today and is this dive site where we can't wait to visit again!
Ignacio H. Leyro
Scuba Diving Instructor
Solmar V