Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Beautiful moorish idol fish

With our happy divers on board, our expedition begins in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Islas Revillagigedo is our first destination. Traveling south, we notice the gradual change of the water color from greenish to a really nice blue. Sunset is really something here! It is 13:00hrs May 30th, 2016 the first Island is visible to us, we have been escorted by dolphins and masked boobies flying constantly around the Solmar V fishing for flying fish.

Las Cuevas dive site offered shelter against some swells from the Northwest for our check out dive. As we descend we got a gorgeous overview of the entire area due to the fantastic visibility.  Moorish idol fish, sting rays, lobsters, burrito grunt fish, all near the sandy bottom at 22m/65ft. The quietness of the underwater world here lets us actually hear the cracking coral, current was absent! So we did a successful exploration of the sandy bottom, with water temp a nice 25℃/78℉, boulders on our right side and sting rays so friendly that let us approach for close ups.

Finally we got out there and a green turtle came across our way once again, the swimming was nice and slow just to enjoy being underwater. Lots of small fish around the hard coral and two octopus too well blended in, a fun place with lots of white tip sharks to start our trip!

Dive Inst, Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.    

Monday, May 30, 2016

Another extraordinary dive day at Roca Partida

Photo: Erick Higuera

Another day at Roca Partida and as usual it was extraordinary the water temperature was 76F/25C and the visibility was close to 100ft/30m.

On the first dive we dropped on the south side this time there was not much going on there so we decided to move to the north side. As we were swimming we were looking down to try to spot some hammerheads and to our surprise as soon as we looked up there they were! Right above us close to the surface witch does not happen often here. There were about 30 of them. After following the hammerheads into the blue for a bit we decided to go back to the rock and that is when we saw one very friendly dolphin relaxing there almost without moving as soon as we got close to it two mantas showed up and allowed the dives to blow bubbles under them while the dolphin was looking. To finish this amazing dive we got to the north side and we saw a masisve school of bonitas with silky sharks in the middle of it, galapagos on top and some silvertips on the bottom just amazing.

On the second dive we dropped on the north side to try to see the school of bonitas again and as soon as we got in the water they were there. We started following the school and managed to see them for about 20 minutes while the silkys, galapagos and silvertips were trying to eat some of them. After a while the school got some speed and went deeper so we lost it. As we were making our way to the safety stop drifting in the blue a school of about 30 hammerheads came from the deep and did a couple of loops around us and just to end it even better on the safety stop there was a manta on the surface looking at us.

On the last dive we stayed on the north side, the same dolphin from the morning showed up again and played with us for a bit while a school of very big yellow fin tunas was passing over our heads. We spotted a silky shark that had a big hook on him with a very long fishing line dragging, so I tried to help him get rid of it. I managed to get very close and grab the line and the shark was letting me do this but the hook was stuck all the way inside of his mouth and some tools were going to be needed to remove it so unfortunately I had to let it go. At the end we went over to the ledges where the white tips are to say good by to them and as we were checking them out a manta came up and stayed till the end of the dive.

Thiago Mendonca, Dive instructor, Solmar V

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Photo: Erick Higuera

Roca Partida Dive Trip Report: May 25

Today we are at Roca Partida after diving in Socorro Island this place is such a marine paradise and our guests finally got what they were waiting for, the "mythical Roca" with all its magic and magnificence.

The day started with a beautiful sunrise with the light crossing the clouds, calm sea and the great rock inviting us to get in the water and explore whatever is down there this time, so we grabbed our gear, got in the pangas and headed towards the site with the best intentions to have fun and interact with the marine life. The conditions underwater were great with 30 mts / 90 ft of visibility, the current pushing slightly from the southwest, water temperature of 76 F / 25 C and the place full of life everywhere!

On the first dive we planned to keep it simple and showed the white tips gathering at the caves on the east face of Roca, a bunch of them laying between lobsters and moray eels; the schooling of jacks, creole fish and yellowtail trigger fishes were everywhere, at some point we could spot a big cloud of "bonitas" with the black jacks under making the visibility a little murky due to the amount of fish life. The first manta of the day showed up shy in the beginning but close enough to have a good shot, then some other sharks came by, silkys, a silvertip hunting along with some tunas that surrounded Roca the whole day. We cannot forget the big schools of rainbow runners and the wahoos swimming close to the divers.

For the second dive we were determined to see some big sharks, so we started at the south point trying to see as much as we could getting deeper, so the divers started swimming among the jacks and immediately we spotted the first Galapagos shark, then a silver tip with the peculiar triangle shape, and like it was written 3 hammers showed up, with the big school behind, we got pretty close maybe 5 mts / 15 ft and when we thought we had seen all, deeper we could see the fantastic Galapagos sharks swimming close to the bottom, about 10 or 20 individuals. When the schooling disappeared we got back to the rock and we immediately heard dolphins so we looked up and there they were, 6 dolphins started swimming among us and one of them showed us the tummy. Once at the pangas, we spotted a big group of them, so we joined them at the surface and what was our surprise when we counted about 30 dolphins, just incredible!!

For the last dive we tried the same profile, but this time we only spotted some sharks but the highlight was the big tunas and the friendly manta at the end of the dive swirling and looping between the divers, but we have to say that this place is just boiling with life, so we have decided to stay one more day!! Lets see what´s gonna give tomorrow...

Rodrigo Marroquin, dive instructor, SOLMAR V.       

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Photo: Jamie Pollack

Today we dove at Cabo Pearce. It was a bit windy but the diving conditions were great. The water temperature was 78F/25C and the visibility varied from 40ft/12m to 100ft/30m.

The first two dives were very nice and calm. There were lots of white tip sharks on the reef and 5 mantas going around. Unfortunately they were not so friendly with the divers, most of them stayed shallow but we were able to look at them from below into the sun and get great silo shots.

On the third dive the current picked up a lot and we did a drift dive. At Cabo Pearce drift dives usually have a couple of stops, as we got close to one of the cleaning stations we stopped and got the reef hooks out and just stayed there watching the fish and white tips go by in the current.

On the last dive the current was still very strong but we stayed in the protected area of the reef checking out some of the small stuff: octopus, flounders and all the cleaning reef fish. When we thought the dive had ended, the manta that we had seen in the morning felt like playing with the divers and was able to get very close and enjoy the divers’ bubbles.

Thiago Mendonca, Dive Instructor, Solmar V

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Its Henry the dolphin

Today we are on our second day of diving at San Benedicto Island, the dive site this time was "El Cañon" that has probed once more to be such a great place thanks to the variety and good diving conditions.

The day started early as normal here at Solmar V with some clouds that filter the bright light from the full moon in the sky, some wind blowing from the north as a reminder of the change of climate due this time of year, but nothing to be afraid of, so we unload the zodiacs, prepare the equipment and gave the briefing to get in the water.

The conditions were good with clear visibility 20 mts / 60 ft all day, weak current coming from the north for the first 2 dives and after the second it got a little bit stronger but this brought more possibilities to encounter more animals, the water temperature has raised considerably to 78 F / 25 C and we found some thermoclines just perfect to spot the hammers.

The first dive has brought a known friend to us, Henry the dolphin. Just when I went down to set the anchor on the stern of the boat I heard dolphin squeaks and what was my surprise when I turned back and there he was with his mother and another dolphin, getting closer to me as if he could recognize me, he started swimming and rubbing against my body with such a friendly touch, I started petting him for about 5 minutes and he didn´t seem to want me to leave but I had to come up to start the dives, until next time Enrique! Great joy is to see him every time, now he is just like part of the Solmar V family.

Once the groups were in the water we started diving right on the edge of Cañon, trying to see some hammers, we spotted some dolphins hunting the jacks (Henry was with them) but they disappear quite fast, then we could see a black manta hovering close to the rocks at 20 mts / 60 ft with lots of jacks following it, as usual here we saw many white tips lying in the sand and swimming all over the place, some silkys patrolling under the boat, and the first hammers of the day.

For the second dive we focus on finding the hammerheads, so we swam along the edge of the rock and then into the blue when we spotted a big school of jacks mixed with some juvenile tunas, and immediately the hammers showed up, about 50 of them swimming at 30 mts / 90 ft for about 15 minutes so we kept drifting with them to have a better view of them, such a great dive!

For the third and fourth dive the conditions changed a bit with the current pushing from the north, even though we saw many sharks, between them some black tips and the classic white tips, we cannot forget the trumpet fishes mating, the occasional rock mover wrasse, the grunts digging in the sand for some food and the clarion fishes that always showed their beauty in company with the abundance of yellow tail trigger fishes. Some mantas at the distance made the perfect closing for the day in company of the silkys surrounding the jacks under the boat.

Rodrigo Marroquin, dive instructor, SOLMAR V.   

Sunday, May 22, 2016

It is 12:30 pm, our crossing straight south has been good, and soon we will be in the water, San Benedicto Island is ahead of us, which means divers are getting excited, some of them have been waiting for this trip over two years.

Our check out dive is taking place at Las Cuevas, northeast side, everything
is ready for the first diver to jump into the water, our descent line is there,
buoyancy check done, lets go deeper! As we descend, the amazing vis lets
us see the whole reef, with lobsters out of crevices, a tight circle of small schools of blue and gold snappers and an unusual number of long tail sting rays all over the place.

Our 5mm and 7mm wetsuits are a little too much for 26℃/79℉ water temp today! White tip sharks are out of their homes, lying on the sandy bottom resting all together. As we return to the main area the number of lobsters we see keeps increasing, just before we go into the swim thru a very curious school of blue fin trevally came to circle us several times before departing.

We are at 15m/50ft just near the bottom of the swim thru and feeling it all.  We see a green turtle, which swims by us, it comes up to a shallower ledge 7m/20ft and we follow it slowly to not disturb it. Then we find an area with lots of Clarion fish that happily did a clean up job from parasites, 47 minutes of slowly swimming took us all over the area.

A quiet sunset made the evening unforgettable.  The moon did not take too long to appear bringing its orange color reflecting the light on the surface of the water.

It is 20:30 hrs silky sharks are around the Solmar V, we can hear the breathing of dolphins, the morning dive can be a great one!!!!!

Dive Inst, Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Schooling sharks and a fishing boat

May 15 Dive Report Roca Partida

 Photo: Erick Higuera

Today we are at the famous dive site Roca Partida, waiting for an exquisite Mexican barbecue with an amazing sunset and view of this magic rock, after an outstanding day of diving with lots of surprises.

Starting early with the sunrise peeking out between the clouds, we encountered mild current coming from the southwest, with some swells coming from the north. With great visibility of 20 mts / 60 ft. and warm temperatures  (77 F / 25 C) made our dive super pleasant with some thermoclines deeper than 20 mts / 60 ft.

Starting on the first dive we enter the eastside of Roca watching the funny white tips gathering together to sleep at the caves (12 mts / 40 ft,) great place to take some good shots. As the dive continues we started to see big schools of fish; jacks, yellow tail trigger fish, creole fish and swimming between 20 mts / 60 ft and 30 mts / 90 ft we encounter a big cloud of bonitas.  Underneath something really big was moving, immediately we discover what was it, a big group of Galapagos, silvertips and hammerhead sharks all mixed together. We had a great view and a special feeling after all this time that we had not seen them in this number, the hammerheads started moving to the south and we followed them to find even more sharks, great dive!!

When we finished the first dive, the captain Gerardo asked us to bring the equipment on board and load the pangas because a tuna boat was fishing close to Roca Partida, so we headed towards them to see what was going on, and eventually we could see the huge net, awful and a sad view after all the marvelous life that we spotted on the first dive, so we took some videos, photos and sent the drones to have a closer view of it. This is part of our responsibility, to try to protect this sanctuary and I believe other liveaboards should be doing this too. This is a concern for everybody, not only because we live for this but because its the right thing to do if we want to keep sharing this amazing place with the world, so cheers for our captain! Hope they get a fine at least and the politics in this country could work properly to encourage the protection in Roca Partida and other places.

For the second round, we went down to try to find some more sharks and fortunately we found some of them, more silver tips this time but the big school was all dispersed. Heading back to the south side of the rock we spotted three mantas, 2 chevron and one black, not quite friendly but good for photos. Our divers really enjoyed this dive too specially since most of them were waiting for the large manta action!

On the third dive we tried the same profile, trying to see more sharks and we could see some of them but the visibility got a little murky so we drifted to the blue to see something more. One friendly and lovely black manta showed up, showing its belly, a clear signal about sharing space and hung around us for 30 minutes enjoying our bubbles. Such a great experience always!   

Now we are about to take off, lets hope the last day we can spot some dolphins at Boiler.

Rodrigo Marroquin, dive instructor, SOLMAR V.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Witnessing the hunter / prey relationship in the wild!

May 14 Dive Report Roca Partida

Photo: Erick Higuera

Below the surface water temp were 24℃/75℉, vis a bit greenish but still good to
see and find things, east side was not so active, marine life wasn't there! This is how
the current makes fish move to other areas! So as the fish we go where everything
is as well.

As we are swimming south along the wall a chevron manta swims over our heads and places itself right in front sort of telling us to stop here which we did. She was very friendly swimming several tight circles around us letting us blow bubbles on her belly. She made us swim right where the current is even though it wasn't strong yet! Lots of big black jacks off the wall schooling, pacific creole fish by the hundreds, all over the place and wahoos as always travelling in twos hunting on yellow tail trigger fish. Its very interesting to witness hunter and prey relationship.

A bit deeper 33m/110ft we saw sharks! Load and loads of them. Schooling Galapagos, silver tips and a bigger school of hammerheads, every dive was a dream dive. At 18m/60 ft of water a blurry shadow come closer and closer, it takes shape finally, such a massive school of striped bonitos swirls and stops moving at our eye level, of course dolphins came in at some point along the day, not so interested today they appeared for a few seconds to investigate and went away!

Life is not so easy for boobies ether, the flock is returning from hunting, Frigate birds are awaiting flying over the area! Finally the encounter happens, they chase boobies until the point to get then exhausted throwing up the fish in their bellies, easy food for the majestic Frigate birds.

Dive Inst, Daniel Zapata, Solmar V.

May 13 Dive Report Cabo Pearce

Today we were at Socorro Island and we dove in Cabo Pearce, the conditions were great, the water temperature was 78F/26C and the visibility ranged from 60ft/20m to 80ft/24m.

We did not see many big things today only one manta that passed by quickly and a couple of dolphins that did not stay around for long but still Cabo Pearce is a really good place for the little things plus the rock formations and the reef are really nice here.

There were many white tips around the reef and some juvenile Galapagos sharks around, all day long we could see schools of small yellowfin tuna passing by close to the surface. We spent most of the dives checking out the reef which was full of octopus, flounders, moray eels and all sorts of reef fish getting cleaned by butterfly and barber fish.

Tonight we head to Roca Partida hoping for some more action and more of some of the big animals that we like to see.

Thiago Mendonca, Dive Instructor, Solmar V

Friday, May 13, 2016


May 12 Dive Report at San Benedicto Island, diving "El Cañon

Photo: Erick Higuera

The day started as usual early with a great pink sunrise that predicted a fantastic day, so we unload the zodiacs, got the equipment ready and the divers organized to get in the water as soon as the briefings finished. The conditions were perfect with a clear blue sky, flat sea, great visibility for the first dives with 60 ft / 20 mt of clean water, warm temperature of 25 C / 76 F, no current so our divers could descend easily as planned and as the day continued the current picked up a bit, coming from all directions, sometimes from the south, sometimes from the east but it was perfectly manageable.

On the first dive we went down to 30 mt / 90 ft close to the edge of Cañon were we normally see the hammerheads and this was not the exception, we spotted about 10 hammers quite close, then when we were looking for them a chevron manta passed by, so the first manta of the trip! The divers got very excited and they kept wanting more along the day, so this place offers so much that they didn´t get disappointed, more sharks around, some black tips in the distance were patrolling the area and as usual the silky sharks under the boat guarding the jacks.

For the second dive we decided to start on the north side of Cañon so we took the pangas to this spot and started the dive going to 60 ft / 20 mts and kept going deeper to try to see the hammers again, great to our surprise when we saw them again, maybe about 15 this time, the numbers kept coming up so it looks like something big is coming soon. By now, the current was perfect so we could explore the site searching for different types of fish like the trumpet fishes, parrot fishes, some eels, lobsters and the white tips, these guys are all over the place!

We started going down and immediately I spotted some white dots about 15 mts / 50 ft, HAMMERHEADS!! We followed them into the blue and little by little the group became bigger and bigger, 15 sharks, 20, 30, big ones, some juveniles and everyone following the leader, so we focus on keeping with the big group that at some point got as big as 80 or maybe more individuals that kept swimming in circles and coming back towards us having them about 5 meters away, perfect shots!! This continued for 40 minutes, we didnt even see another fish, only hammers so we drifted a bit but all the divers got so excited that even compared this dive with some of the best of their life, just incredible, no more words about it!

For the last dive we spotted some white tips, silky sharks and a lost hammerhead but not the big school of 100´s, but it was a nice and relaxed dive for all the divers.

Rodrigo Marroquin, dive instructor.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 11 Dive Report at Las Cuevas dive site

No swells, no wind, barely current and blue water, these were the conditions we found at Las Cuevas dive site. We could not of asked for better conditions to do our check out dives, that lasted for 50 minutes with three small groups each one guided by Rodrigo, Thiago and myself Daniel.

Average depth was 12 m/40ft and the water temp was a warm 24.4/76℉. There was an abundance of lobster--so many that we stopped counting! Zebra eels, sting rays, scorpion fish, green morays eels were some of the things that kept us excited during the dive, the two swim thrus are always fun to do. We stayed inside longer just to enjoy the over hang, hear all the noises that corals produce and see the snappers hiding. White tip sharks like this area too.

Further along we run into giant electric rays, trigger eels,  and more diamond head sting rays. Then we decided to come back to the reef, those areas with lots of hard coral packed with tiny fish making it their home. It was a nice contrast in color, brown bottom with green hard coral, the color of fish all over and blue water made our check out dive very exciting.

A way to finish our first day of diving on the Solmar V was with Mexican BBQ at the bow, mmmmm! Taquitos de carne asada!!! Such a gorgeous sunset and of course we toasted with a glass of red wine for what lies ahead!

Dive Inst, Daniel Zapata, Solmar V

Friday, May 6, 2016

May 5 Dive Report at Roca Partida
We started the day with the best vibe ready to have encounters with sharks, dolphins and mantas. The conditions were perfect for our plans, great visibility with more than 90 ft / 30 mts of clear water, mild current pushing from the northeast. Water temperature was a bit cold with 73 F / 23 C and some thermoclines in between.

Large Schools of Hammerheads
The first day started at the east side of Roca watching the little caves to spot the white tip sharks, bunch of them pilling one over the other made the perfect shot for our guests. As the dive goes on, we went deeper cause the objective of this day was to see the big schools of hammerheads so we went down to 90 ft / 30 mts and immediately we started to see white dots that proved that the hammers were down there, so we followed the path and a big school showed right in front of us, maybe about 100 individuals swimming in perfect synchronicity and elegance. As we were coming up, we spotted 3 dolphins that played along the divers while we were doing the safety stop with some mantas under us too!

Galapagos and Silvertip Sharks
For the second dive we drifted at the south side of Roca and we could encounter the same school but this time with some Galapagos and Silver Tips in between. So beautiful is this to watch, the contrast with the sandy bottom (great visibility), and when we thought everything has been seen we saw more mantas at the safety stop with some wahoos swimming erratically between us.

Big school of Galapagos and Silvertips
For the third dive we decided to stay close to the rock, but what was our surprise when our videographer pointed to us a big school of Galapagos and Silver tips close to the rock, so we went to 90 ft /30 mts to see them, what a great experience it is to see these guys, specially cause we haven’t seen them since 5 trips ago, so we know they are still around! This is why people like to come here, to see this and feel such a sharky environment, so we offer the best we could to our divers this time and they really seemed to enjoy it.
We only have to be so grateful to have this incredible little spot, full of magic and surprises, you have to live Roca!

Rodrigo Marroquin, dive instructor.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dive Report to Roca Partida

Roca Partida
A bit colder this morning than usual. Water temperature also dropped a
few degrees compared to yesterday’s dives at Socorro.

The wind from the north creates swells that hit the front part of the zodiac as
we travel to the rock, so we can really feel water temperature has changed however we know below the surface everything changes!

As we descend we have a great view of Pacific Creole fish, we can hear and feel the chirping of dolphins, they were not very cooperative at first! We also encounter cotton mouth jacks and white tip reef sharks. Yellow fin tunas made an appearance at 21m/70ft depth, just when we are about to move west a hammerhead showed up a bit farther south, then we realized we had a school of about 80 hammerhead sharks. Fantastic!

Silky sharks and dolphins
Mid water and drifting southwest we found all sorts of differing shapes of jellyfish, silky sharks started to show up here and there. Then coming closer, we realized these sharks were chasing something! A big school of striped Bonito! Finally dolphins came, 13 at first, they were as excited to see us as we were to them, we couldn't keep up with their acrobatics and keeping us in the middle, a second group joined us, they wanted more time to play but our tanks are almost empty!

A second and third dive we really enjoyed it since the current increased a
bit more we stayed in the protected area, east! The amount of fish that
gather here has no words to describe, the number of white tips as well, a few
mantas also showed up to stick around for some time, water temp made us feel
cold towards the end of dives 23℃/73℉.

It is 22:00 hrs during night watch we see lots of silky sharks breaking the
surface with dorsal fin around the Solmar V in a feeding frenzy hunting flying fish!

Daniel Zapata, Dive Inst, Solmar V

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 3 Dive Report at Cabo Pearce in Socorro Island

It was a bit windy topside but the conditions underwater were great. Temperature was 74f/24C and the viz ranged from 60ft/18m to 100ft/30m.

50 minutes of non-stop manta action with passing tunas.
The best dive of the day was definitely the first one and as soon as we dropped in the water there was a manta in shallow water waiting for us and it was being extremely curious, after 15 minutes three more mantas showed up. Two of them were getting cleaned by the clarions at one point with up to 10 clarions on one of them. It was a great 50 minutes with nonstop manta action and at the end on our safety stop a school of tunas passed by.

Hammerhead Action.
The second and third dives were also very good. Mantas around the dive site, lots of jacks and some juvenile Galapagos sharks showed up. BUT the other highlight of the day was the last dive where the current picked up and we made it to one of the deeper cleaning stations. We all waited patently to see if something showed up and it did! A school of 16 hammerheads passed by very close and we swam off the reef and into the school and they circled us. It was amazing!

Tonight we are heading to Roca Partida for some more fantastic diving.

Thiago Mendonca
Dive Instructor
Solmar V

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 2 Dive Report at San Benedicto diving “El Cañon

Today the sea is calm and now we are on our way to Socorro Island after spending such a good day in San Benedicto diving “El Cañon”. Onboard we have an international group, nice people who have been dreaming of diving here for many years.

We woke up early with some clouds above our heads but nothing to get our trip spoiled, so we prepared the pangas, the equipment ready to dive and the people full of energy to experience the underwater world.

The conditions were good for the first two dives with no current, descent visibility about 50 ft /15 mts, the water temperature was around the 74 F / 24 C with some drafts of cold wind at surface that made the surface intervals quite chilly. Then for the third and fourth dive the conditions changed dramatically to a low 30 ft / 10 mts of cloudy visibility and we had some current coming from the north.

We started the first dive from the pangas right on the edge of Cañon, so the divers could go down easily to 60 ft / 20 mts and checked the life waiting between the rocks, then suddenly 3 hammerheads came by with their perfect hammerhead shape. Once we were close to the boat we could see some dolphins chasing jacks in between with some silky sharks that never leave the safety of the SOLMAR V. When we reached the sand we spotted some mantas that led our way back to the surface.

For the second dive we spent most of the dive swimming between 3 friendly mantas that loved the bubbles under their tummy, one of them seemed to be pregnant! Here it’s usual to spot all kinds of fish from the stubborn jack, to the hovering trumpet fish to the colorful parrotfish stopping by the beautiful butterfly fishes and the hungry clarion fish. This place is great in terms of diversity, especially if you want to see the big stuff too, the tunas swimming silently and the silky sharks surrounding the groups of jacks. At some point we could even see 10 hammerheads in the deepest part but always the mantas are the highlight and why the people love this place.

Rodrigo Marroquin, dive instructor.