The 11 day combo trip to the Sea of Cortez and Socorro started off very nicely with some excellent Sea Lion interaction around Los Islotes – home to a 300 strong Sea Lion colony. Our Brazilian photographers on board were given plenty of prime photo opportunities as the male bulls circled their territories, posing for the cameras on their prized rock. The new born pups also provided some excellent opportunities, playing around us as we explored the bouldered shores of the island.
After 2 days of the Sea Lion frenzy, we took the overnight trip to San Benedicto where our guests were introduced to ‘The Boiler’ – one of the favourite dive sites of the trip which certainly didn’t disappoint. As we descended on to the volcanic sea mount, divers were welcomed by the famous Oceanic Mantas. Some beautiful scenes commenced as the Mantas gracefully danced around the divers in all directions. The morning sun draped the eastern side, which provided the perfect ambient lighting for our photographers.
Roca Partida – a personal favourite – was next on the agenda. A little cloudy around the 50ft mark and below, but as always divers fell witness to some spectacular scenes. Schooling Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, and White tips started the show off nicely, proceeded by a school of around 30 Silvertips patrolling the eastern wall. As the north-easterly currents picked up, the southern tip of the island provided some comfortable shelter for the divers, along with numerous Hammerheads.
As we moved in on Socorro Island, guests took to the top deck of the Belle Amie to witness the breathtaking landscape. A blanket of green over a volcanic bedrock – characteristics of a perfect Lord of the Rings setting. And the surrounding oceans certainly provided some interesting diving too. Despite relatively low visibility, our divers were still getting some great shots on dive sites like Cabo O’Neil, Punta Tosca, Cabo Pierce, and Old Man of the Sea. Oceanic Mantas, a couple of Hammerheads, White Tips, Silkies, Silver Tips were all added to the divers log books, but it was Cabo Pierce which delivered one of the most memorable dives in any divers life. As divers were reaching the final minutes of their dives, a large shadow emerged from the depths of the volcanic lava flow. On the surface, tears of joy were shared between buddy teams. A whale shark had been spotted!
It was the last dive on Socorro which also made for a memorable dive on board the Belle Amie. Old Man of the Sea delivered some excellent visibility, which the photographers took full advantage of. The first half of the dive saw a curious Manta, which came and went, along with a turtle, silkies, and some very large lobsters. As guests started getting back on board, we had many surfacing, screaming, crying, waving their arms. “DOLPHIN, DOLPHIN!” More tears of joy as the passionate divers expressed their excitement having just encountered a pod of Dolphins – a family of Dophins.
The grand finale – the final days diving was spent back on ‘The Boiler’. Better visibility and some slight current gave guests some interesting scenes for their photos and videos. More Manta action, as the Mantas cruised in close to check out what these bubble blowing creatures were. More Silvertips. More Silkies. More Dolphins. And more happy divers on board the Belle Amie. A great way to wrap up its first Socorro season.
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This post was written by Divemaster Ben