Saturday, November 28, 2015

4 hours of snorkeling with whale sharks on our Sea of Cortez combo trip!

Hola Hola
We had three really good days of diving at Socorro but, we had to leave early because there was a storm approaching the area, usually the hurricane season is over by the beginning of November but it seems that this year it got extended and hurricane Sandra was heading in our direction. We left the archipelago but our trip is not over yet it just turned out to be a combo trip to the Sea of Cortez! 
After a long navigation we arrived at El Mogote in La Paz one of the best places in the world to see whale shark, the weather was not the best it was windy, cloudy and choppy but as soon as we spotted the first whale shark no one cared! In this area we are only allowed to snorkel with these sharks and we did so for about four hours with three different individuals! The water temperature was 78F/25C and the visibility was around 20ft/6m witch for El Mogote is quite good since the bay is full of plankton which is what draws the whale sharks to this area.
In the afternoon we did a dive at one of the famous wrecks of the Espiritu Santo Island, the Fang Ming an old Chinese fishing boat that was sunk as an artificial reef here the water temperature was the same 78F/25C and the visibility about 40ft/12m. This is a very nice wreck with very big openings that provide easy penetration, and lots of reef fish around it!
Hurricane Sandra already turned into a tropical storm and it turned east way before the Sea of Cortez which should make the weather clear up by tomorrow, also we plan to do a full day of diving at Los Islotes which is where the sea lion colony is located, one of the best dive sites for sea lion encounters ever!
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Friday, November 27, 2015

Roca Partida, the dive site we dream about!

Today Roca Partida, that place you dream about!
The diversity of marine life makes it quite a unique place, the wall of Roca descends to 200ft/60m, and at 110ft/33m a layer of a bit colder water made the cotton mouth jack come up on the wall, moving all together, changing direction, so well coordinated! Lots of them with dark colours while others still have some silver colour, water temperature 81F. Some sharks like Galapagos and silver tip still prefer to be down here, as did we, it felt refreshing! Sharks don't mind having us around as a visitors, of course they check us out by coming so close that we made eye contact. They like to play a game where they don't mind coming close as long as you don't make eye contact, as soon as you lock eyes with them, they keep a safe distance. 

Black Jacks also liked to be in deep water, as we are looking into blue water schools of yellow fin tunas active chasing Amberstripe Scad! The south western point was nice with no current at all, it was the place to stay longer looking at all things happening around us, even
a school of about 30 Hammer Heads at 110ft/35m stopped by! They were not shy at all,
letting us spend a good 7 minutes with them, the half circle swim they do and come
back was nice to see, especially when they turn sideways making themselves
Shallow water was interesting on every dive as well, the amount of Pacific Creolefish was fabulous, when they surround you, you really feel as if you're part of the underwater world!

Many times they were just static, not moving at all, suddenly the bad guys came back in making every single living thing retract against the wall! Yellow Fin Tunas! Black jacks also joined them, these two together were in charge of keeping only healthy fish in the area, groups of 5 to 10 Silky sharks, rainbow runners, yellow fin tunas, black jacks, went completely in a insane feeding on amber stripe scad trapped near the surface! The bait ball couldn't take shape, the feeding frenzy was on! South area of Roca was so active! it seems today everybody woke up hungry! But Amberstripe Scad.
As usual, the white tip sharks were laying on the shelves saving their energy for the night
hunt, well organized all heads looking out to sea sharing ledges with spiny lobsters, behind us a school of big eye trivially approached us, making a tight circle around us several times before departing, very curious, slowly swimmers, others in pairs silver and black(male) color in a reproductive period. Above the surface, during our surface intervals Roca is a unique place to observe frigate birds just waiting for the return of boobies from the sea chasing them to a point of exhaustion to make them throw up so they can pick up that fish from surface of the water.
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata

Solmar V.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Awesome conditions at El Boiler!

Today we dove at El Boiler and the conditions were awesome! We had very clear blue water visibility up to 100ft/30m and the water temperature 83f/27C!
Right before we got in the water for our first dive, we saw some dolphins close to the boat and of course we were excited to get in the water so see if the friendly dolphin that we have been seeing was there!  There were about 10 dolphins around five dolphins and we recognized a couple but the friendly juvenile dolphin was not around this time, still they stayed close to us and were very curious!
The next three dives of the day were full of mantas up to 6 in one frame and they were all being very friendly and enjoying our bubbles as usual, we also found some big blue fin tunas, silky sharks and a hammerhead was also spotted! Tonight we head to Roca Partida hoping for some good shark action and maybe some mantas!
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Friday, November 20, 2015

An amazing day of diving Cabo Pulmo!

We woke up to some better weather today, it was still a little windy, but less than before. For the first dive we went over to El Islote in Cabo Pulmo Bay. The water temperature was 80F/26C and visibility was about 40ft/12m. El Islote is an amazing dive site for the amount of marine life it has! There are so many different schools of fish, snappers, grunts, gropers, pompanos, jacks and all sorts of reef fish, but the highlight this time were the snappers just so many of them in nice formations letting you get really close for pictures!
After this dive the wind picked up again so we went back to the bay of Los Frailes and did a couple of dives at El cañon, this is also an amazing dive site with some beautiful rock formations. We went to about 100ft/30m but you can see that the abyss just keeps going, from there as you go shallower you have this big ledges like steps that go all the way to 15ft/5m full of reef and small schools of all sorts of juvenile fish all over the place! On this dive we saw five green turtles just resting on the reef, some white tip sharks and a school of around 30 golden cow nose rays.
To end the day we dove the sea lion colony! In Cabo Pulmo there were two sea lions that were curious and swam around us for a bit, after that we saw a big school of juvenile big eye jacks, and we spent about 30 minutes there, it’s amazing to be surrounded by them. After the school of jacks was gone some golden cownose rays passed by and we followed it for a while we finished our safety stop surrounded by a school of mackerel scads, another amazing day of diving on board the Solmar V!
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

An amazing day of diving at San Benedicto with dolphins, mantas, sharks and more!

Nov 16, 2015
El boiler was the start of a great day of diving that we called the "DOLPHIN BOY
7:00 am and we are already in the water. The surface of the ocean treated us very nice here, lots yellow tail trigger fish were part of our welcome back to El Boiler, and it didn't take long for the mantas to show up, both Black and Chevrons! You can't imagine unless you have been here before, mantas swimming over our heads, circling us over and over, getting very close playing in our bubbles! The bubbles are a big deal here, the more bubbles we have the more friendly the mantas are!  They are such gentle swimmers, with powerful wings gliding into the blue as they disappear from our sight!  We could hear dolphins clicking and chirping in the distance, but the mantas insist on keeping our attention, so we follow them to the west side, when we see 10-11 dolphins coming up at us from depth!  Then on separated from the group to come up to me, letting me pet him, running my hand down from his chin to his body in a vertical position, leaving his belly to be touched more!  It was the beginning of another amazing experience!  We were at 70ft/21m of water playing with this dolphin, when our dive computers started beeping, telling us we needed to start making our ascent.   That's when this friendly dolphin started to do a slow free fall into the depths which he seemingly loves to do!  I placed my hands under his pectoral fins as we made our ascent, bringing him up to shallower water to hand deliver him to other divers in our group!  How cool is that?!  The other 10 dolphins around didn't mind that this boy was being so friendly with us!
During the surface interval we went snorkeling in a bait ball that lasted almost 2 hours!!  It was lots of great shark action!  About 50 sharks were involved in the bait ball, including silky, dusky, black tips, at least 4 dolphins, yellow fin tunas, rainbow-runners, and more!  It's an incredible feeding frenzy where a lot of baby jack fish were the main source of food!  
After coming back aboard the boat, we were ready to do our second dive at El Boiler and found no current which  makes playing with the mantas a breeze!   We found some very friendly giant mantas on this diveUnder the boat three silky sharks were circling below the Solmar V, coming from the feeding frenzy because their tummies looked big, we also had a few baby silver tips during our  safety stop!  
El Canon was the place for our final dive of the day! We dropped into calm waters with a little bit of current from the west, lots of pacific creolefish in mid water, visibility was lower than usual, but we had fun watching silver tip sharks coming close! At 90'/27m water lobsters and other fish blended in perfectly to the color of the bottom, and green moray eels were coming out of the caves!  We decided to swim into the current heading west, we had the opportunity to see a hammerhead swimming along the bottom like looking for something. The rocky area offered shelter to other fish like butterly-fish, grunts, jacks, baber-fish. Then it was time to let go from the current and drift toward East for our safety stop. Suddenly, totally unexpected, coming from our left side only 6'/2m away from us was a 3m tiger shark!  Swimming along with us not shy at all, before passing us and swimming into the blue. Pleasant water temp of 82f made us stay in water longer than normal during each dive, to get the most out of every dive!
Dive Inst
Daniel Zapata 
Solmar V 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Another awesome day at roca partida with perfect conditions!

Another awesome day at Roca Partida! The weather was just perfect, it was a sunny day, the sea was as flat as it gets around here, the water is still warm at 83f/28C and the visibility was around 100ft/30m!
In the morning we got some sharks, some silvertips and Galapagos on the north point of the rock, and a school of about 20 hammerheads that we got to follow from the north point all the way to the south point! They were a bit shy, but a couple of them got closer to us!
On the second dive we spotted a big school of skip jacks away from the rock with some silver tips and silky sharks chasing them, it is always amazing to see how fast they pass in the bail ball like formations passing back and forward paying attention and trying to figure out where they are going to come from next.
To finish the day we had a dive full of mantas witch is unusual at Roca Partida but this time there were five different ones around the rock with one of them a big black giant pacific manta being very friendly and curious with the divers.  Tonight we head to San Benedicto once again for our last day of diving in the archipelago before we start the second part of this trip in the Sea of Cortez, let’s see what surprises we get next!
Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor

Sunday, November 15, 2015

We have arrived to Roca Partida with ideal conditions: calm sea, clear visibility and mild current, enough to allow us to watch for sharks and mantas around Roca!

Hello everybody!
We continue our journey on board of the Solmar V and the days are passing by without notice, because we have been having great experiences and our guests are very happy with the diving! The best is just about to come because we have arrived to Roca Partida with ideal conditions: calm sea, clear visibility and mild current, enough to allow us to watch for sharks and mantas around Roca!
After having outstanding diving in Socorro and San Benedicto, the expectations are always higher once you get close to Roca Partida, especially since most of our guests have been here before with Solmar V and they chose this trip because they know what to expect at the archipelago at this time of year. 
The pangas were in the water and all the divers were ready to descend into the blue to experience once more what Roca Partida has to offer, first class diving! As we were making our descent, we found schools of big eyes jack, pacific creoles, the endemic red tail triggerfish and some wahoos at the surface passing through. The current was weak and we encountered two big mantas dancing around the divers, showing their bellies and enjoying the bubbles. After the 30 feet we can see big groups of white tip sharks gathered into the caves sleeping and this is a big opportunity to take a picture so our divers don’t miss the chance. As the dive continues, the mantas stayed with us most of the time and it is like they enjoy our company cause wherever we move into the water they are always close to us, there is no doubt how they have developed a kind of symbiosis with the human, we loved their dance and movements while they like our bubbles.
For the second dive the current had picked up a little bit and as soon as we enter in the water we get protected on one of the sides of the rock, this attracts many animals and the marine nature around is incredible! White tip sharks everywhere, jacks crossing by, puffer fish hovering here and there and the occasionally huge lobster comes out of their cracks. Such a great view, the divers stayed together and at the end we moved away from the wall so the pangas can picked us up, and some of the divers could see in the deep hammerheads sharks, silky sharks and a school of wahoos and mackerel.
The third dive was the best of the day, we could spend more time with the mantas but this time we were lucky and 4 of them came to encounter us. The face of the divers tells everything, so we spend all the dive drifting with them and at the end we find more silky sharks at the surface.
It’s been such a great day let’s hope tomorrow we could see a whale shark around! That would be a nice surprise for our divers!
Rodrigo Marroquín 
Solmar V 
Dive Instructor.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Todays dive report at The Boiler written by our guests!

Nov 13, 2015
Today’s dive report was written by our guests based on such an unique and difficult to forget
An early start for Friday, November 13th on the Solmar V. Every one wants to get into the
water for a chance to swim with the mantas and maybe Dolphins, no one was disappointed!
What an incredible day swimming with both! Thank you Solmar V and crew. We can not wait to
see what tomorrow brings. Suzi and Cleve.
What an experience I had today at El Boiler, San Benedicto! I’m simply amazed and
overwhelmed, word cannot describe the moment I shared with this dolphin! Hearing them
chirping in big blue water is exciting, watching them swim by right in front of your face is
incredible, but to touch them and they dance around you is the moment you will never forget.
One little curious dolphin was with us for quite a while, enjoyed being touched and rubbed.
But of course the experience of the life time really started when i got to touch him. I put my
hand on his body and he twirled around me, with showing his belly and shaking his fins. I kept
rubbing his soft rubbery body, and he kept begging for more and more and more. As soon as
my hands left his body, he came back closer to me and rubbing his snout on my bcd covered
body. I ran through my hand over his body, touching his snout, back and fins. I was making an
eye to eye contact with him, I could see his eyes moving to see me...! How beautiful and heart
melting is that!! I extended my arm and opened my hand, he snuggled with his snout on my
hand. Each time he came back to be touched, he came closer and closer to me, begging for
more. At one point, we were just as hugging each other! It was only 3 minutes and half, but
the 3 minutes and half was the sweetest moment of the day, or possibly the lifetime!
Mai Endo.
As soon as we all got submersed, we were warmly welcomed to the under water world by
lots and lots of Pacific creolefish! I can’t say a number but it was just blue water, that’s the
way i describe vis, water temp 82F, a bit of current from South made us also work out a bit
too. The dive lasted more then 40 minutes with dolphins, mantas were there during the whole
dive, friendly as usual but unforgettable experience every time, as the minutes went by the
chirping of dolphins sounded louder and louder getting all of us so excited, those moments
when your neck takes all the work out looking for them! Mean time chevron and Black mantas
kept coming from all directions to place themselves over our heads to feel the bubble
massage on their bellies, white tip reef sharks, green moray eels, sting rays, flounders,
scorpions fish, tell how healthy the reef is, Black Jacks hunting Pacific creolefish made
everything retract toward the rock leaving us out there in the blue water! Not bad at all
because a group of 10 dolphins made appearance coming from the North side of the rock to
encounter us, from shallow water was a funny way to see it, dolphins and divers coming from
opposite direction running into each other, getting all mixed together, although they are
faster swimmers and way more graceful than we are, their contagious happy face made us
mimic their swim, the reinforcement just came in! Another group of 10 dolphins including one
albino dolphin to make 20 for 24 divers! The party just got bigger! we are surrounded by lots
of fish, mantas and dolphins! Our dive has almost come to and end, the mild current brought
us below the Solmar V, a safety stop made us stay a bit longer, dolphins wanted to play more
so they came up to us again, one juvenile dolphin made the difference between playing and
feeling the experience of touching him!
For 3 more dives we were so lucky to enjoy the company of many mantas at all depths! The
curtain of bubbles we made kept all mantas fascinated, not wanting to leave the area! neither
do we! So every dive was extended on bottom time.
Dive Inst.
Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Manta action at Cabo Pearce!

Today we were at Socorro Island and our dive site was Cabo Pearce. The conditions were great with clear water around 60ft/18m visibility and it is still warm 82f/28C, some of our divers were making the plunge without a wet suit!  In the morning the reef was surrounded by fish! There were massive underwater clouds of creole, triggers and small schools of jacks. There was some current witch seemed the perfect conditions for some hammerhead sharks so we hung on to the edge of the reef and waited for them, but we did not see them today, while we waited lots of white tip reef sharks were hovering on the current just next to us!
Later on in the day many mantas showed up and they were very friendly, enjoying the diver’s bubbles and getting cleaned by the clarion angel fish at the same time. The last dive of the day was the best as we were hanging out with the mantas a big school of tunas passed by right above our heads! It was fast so not everybody saw it but the good thing is that they passed by again four more times so we got plenty of photo opportunities.
Tomorrow we will be diving at El Boiler hopping for some more manta action and maybe some dolphins stay tuned!