Archive for the ‘Jacks’ Category

With a half-dozen enormous creatures putting on this display, the effect is electrifying. Socorro Islands, Baja mexico, Jan 4th 2012

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Cabo Pierce was amazing today. The first morning dive was especially impressive. We saw dolphins. We saw nudibranchs. We saw octopi and white tip reef sharks. And then there were the Mantas: giant, graceful, bizarrely interactive. They swim straight up to you, look you in the eye, slowly twist to show-off their distinctive markings, and swoop away to the next diver. With a half-dozen enormous creatures putting on this display, the effect is electrifying. Every person returned to the boat with a huge smile that lasted all day.

Robin Rothfeder, SLC UT, USA

Amazing day in Cabo Pierce, with a plenty of huge, friendly and curious Mantas ( I swear I did not touch a manta, but I was snapped on my mask by one), beautiful environment underwater and a lot of life, including large creatures and tiny ones. Turtles, octopus, hammerhead sharks (could have come a little closer, but let’s wait till tomorrow), rays, many different fishes, lobsters, Galapagos shark.

Nice kayaking in one of the surface intervals, with the beautiful view of the Socorro Island. Delicious talking in the bath tub with great friends until the delightful dinner just before the night snorkeling with many Silky sharks.  A little afraid in the beginning but didn’t want to get out!

DIA MARAVILHOSO! Que seja o preludio de um ano repleto de realizacoes!

Clarissa Oliveira, Sao Paulo, Brazil


One-two-three GO- We all backroll together and begin to descend onto the dive site, as I clear the bubbles off my lens and adjust my strobe, I see the dark manta shaped shadow out of the corner of my eye. Quickly I take a test shot to check my exposure and start lining up the approaching manta.  After I get down to the dive site the action just keeps on going- two or three mantas going around in circles- it was fantastic!  Moving up the ridge I found a big canyon which allowed me to get out of the current as I waited there for several minutes I snapped some Peacock Flounder, Spanish Hogfish, and a variety of puffers. Then the first manta swam overhead and began to circle. Then several more joined in for a total of three!! I was in manta heaven and taking pics as fast as my camera would recycle. Then a school of about 100 large Tuna swam thru and made several passes. After about 15 minutes I worked my way down the ridge back to the down line. The action there was even more intense with 3-4 mantas circling in and out of the cleaning station. Even on our safety stop on the line, we were buzzed by the mantas up to when we got back on the Zodiak!

The only time I had a more intense dive with mantas was the day before at The Boiler!

Dave Kinney,  Vienna, VA  USA

Diving Here is Like Swimming in an Aquarium – June 5, 2011 – the Boiler

Monday, June 6th, 2011


The boiler today proved once again that diving here can be like swimming in an aquarium. We entered the water with schools of Big Eye Trevally Jacks in the blue around the boiler and thousands of colourful Wrasse’s all around the top of the boiler. Dropping down and moving around the nooks and crannies are filled with lobsters, moray eels, hawk fish of all sizes and varieties, and an occasional octopus den. Moving deeper we found groups of Moorish idols feeding along the wall and Bluefin Trevally swimming just outside of us trying to figure out what we were up to. Rounding the north end of the boiler we ended up in an unusually large school of Burrito Grunts. After a fantastic lunch by Juan Carlos we returned for a second dive at the boiler that proved to us once again that thousands of fish in all shapes and sizes and colors would adorn our dive.  In the distance beyond the jacks we had a large school of Yellow Fin Tuna that circled the boiler for most of the dive and just before we were getting ready to head in we had one last visit with a Giant Pacific Manta that swam into our group and waved us all a goodbye.

Not much to look at – covered in booby bird guano which we often get a whiff of – Captain and guest blog – 11 Sept 2011

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Today was the last day of this 8 day diving expedition to the one-of-a-kind Socorro Islands. We finished this trip with two days of diving at Roca Partida which is nothing more than the top 100 ft of a 11,000 ft underwater volcanic mountain. Not much to look at from the surface, an exposed rock not much bigger than the Nautilus Explorer, covered as Roca Partida is in booby-bird guano, which we often get a whiff from as we cruise by downwind in our dive tenders. As the rock is surrounded on all sides by 240 ft of water, many vessels have to anchor a considerable distance away where there is a small shallower ledge.

Because of the ship-like design of the Nautilus however and the ship-sized anchor and anchor chain, we are able to anchor safely and comfortably very close to the rock in the deeper water, making it a very short ride in our tenders to the divesite. I think a lot of people who have not been here before aren’t really sure what all the fuss is about when we first arrive at Roca Partida. It’s always fun to see their reactions though after their first dive, because as soon as you enter the water here the vista is transformed from a guano-covered rock into a sheer wall dropping down as far as the eye can see, covered with life, surrounded by huge schools of fish, sharks big and small, and all of this surrounded by beautiful clear blue water. In the last two days we enjoyed 6 different species of sharks, including scalloped hammereheads, silkies, silver-tips, galapagos, dusky and white-tipped reef sharks. It is not unusual to see all of these sharks on a single dive!

A school of giant yellow-fin tuna, 300-400 pounders, plus schools of thousands of creole fish, various species of jacks, steel pompanos, bonito, wahoo, and many many more. The cracks along these walls are filled with green morays and octopi. There are small cavern-like ledges piled with white-tipped reef sharks, all squeezed in together like sardines resting. A really great two days of diving at Roca Partida, with very nice conditions.

Current was mostly very mild except for a couple dives where it was strong, visibility was a deep blue 80′ plus most of the time.

Captain Gordon Kipp

Surface conditions: Wind 10-15 kts, seas 5-7′, air temp around 22-26C (72-79F) skies mostly cloudy with some sunny periods

Diving conditions: Visibility avg 80ft (24m), current mild with some periods of strong, water temp 23C (73F)

Aloha from Socorro Island. The trip has been incredible so far with many highlight moments. A hammerhead shark, a silvertip and some white tip reef sharks at the Canyon and at the Boiler we had a visit from some playful bottlenose dolphins, a mother and baby making several passes while another harassed the jacks. The reefs here team with huge morays, crawling octopuses, and large schools of fish. Of course the most incredible creatures are the giant mantas. We have had “player” mantas at every site. It is impossible to describe the feeling you get as one of these graceful giants turns and comes right to you to check you out.

The crew and companions are all fantastic. It is great to make new friend. People in the salon are currently buzzing over Fumiko’s photograph of a striped marlin from our second dive! She rocks.

To my lady on that other island, I miss you. I have photos to show you!


Craziest thing I saw in my life — whale shark drives away aggressive galapagos shark at Socorro Island – Guest blog – 21 DEC 2010

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Today at (*name of secret dive site at Socorro Island deleted by Captain Mike!), during my 200th dive,I finally saw my first whale shark! What a sight! and I also saw something very unusual: as I was swimming towards the whale shark after seeing it cruising below me, a large galapagos shark boosted into view and dashed to the whale shark from below and behind!  For one second, I thought I was witnessing an attack, but no, at the last moment, the galapagos rolled upside down and rubbed its belly against the flank and belly of the whale shark! and the whale shark didn’t liked this AT ALL! : He rolled on his side to expose his back to the galapagos and aggressively drove him away with an almighty strike of his huge tail, dashed away and then turned back to pass right next to me before to move away out of my view. that was one of the craziest thing I ever saw in my life! I knew lots of fish usually rub themselves against the rough skin of sharks to remove their parasites , but I’d never thought sharks would do it to other sharks too! and guess what, I filmed all of it!

But otherwise, even the regular diving  is mindblowing: every dive , we would spot schools of travellies , dozens of sharks and walls covered in morays, lobsters and whitetip reef sharks. I also saw a manta ray, dolphins and a school of hammerheads here, all of that only in 2 days! My first dive here, I spotted 6 different species of shark (hammerhead, whitetip reef, silvertip, silky, galapagos and dusky) and finished with some dolphins and a silky shark playing together with the group at the safety stop. One time also, I was swimming in the blue in the middle of a school of creolefish, when they all retreated to the wall in the blink of an eye, leaving me feeling suddenly very isolated and vulnerable alone in the middle of the blue, and two seconds later, the responsible of the panic broke in: a huge, 5ft+ yellowfin tuna the size of a motorbike emerged from below at terrifying speed, dashed right past me and stormed through the creolefish school above like a silver lightening, elegantly turned away right under the surface and dashed away as fast as he arrived, it all happened in about 4 seconds and litteraly blowed me away, leaving me alone in the blue, like thunderstruck: with my heart pounding like a drum, not quiet sure yet of what just had happened to me.

All the other divesites are fantastic too: the manta rays were here on almost every dive and are incredibly sociable and playful, they are like sea lions!:They come right up on you and dance around with every diver in the group, and looks you right into your eyes -mantas have blue eyes in case you wonder- ! and some of them are well about 20 ft across, they makes the dives looks like an airshow of states-of-the-art stealth bombers, only much more graceful.

Topside too the show is here: the Socorro Islands are wild and magnifiscent, the ship is perfect, the crew is perfect and all the other guests were nice as usual on the Nautilus! Special thanks to divemasters Jessie and Peter from their kindness and knowledge.

It will be hard to get back to normal life after this, but I will be back as soon a I can!

Pierre from Paris

Life In A Fish Bowl Full Of Sharks –  divemaster and guest log –  Roca Partida, Socorro Island.   16 DEC 2010

Saturday, December 18th, 2010
1, 2, 3!!! Splash!!! As we descended along the wall at Roca Partida this morning, we knew it was going to be a great day of diving. The water was full of busy pink Creol Fish and Chromis surrounding the divers as if they were swimming in a fish bowl. Just below, the Black Jacks were pushing up the schools of bait fish as they hunted the unsuspecting little fish. Even the sharks were getting in on the fact moving action. Every time a Jack caught and ate a small fish, the Silver Tip Sharks would rush up from the depths very aggressively with their pectoral fins pointed straight down and sniff around the scene. It was a great show. On the other side of the rock, a group of divers were in the right place at the right time. A large school of Hammer Head Sharks appeared from the depths and swam right toward the divers. Staying in close to the rocks, the divers got a great view of one large (+8′) Hammerhead who swam right amongst the divers before heading around the rock toward one of the many cleaning stations. Another large shark, a Galapagoes measuring an easy 7′ also made quite a few divers really happy by swimming right over the tops of their heads. Talk about a sharky day!!!
Later in the day, we even had a friendly Manta Ray hang out with the divers for a couple of dives. To watch a Giant Manta swim right up to a diver and flair out it’s 20′ wing span is incredible. Looking into the eye of a Manta and knowing that it is looking right back at you is a special feeling. Roca Partida today was surrounded by life and each dive we made was spectacular. The sun was shining, the current was mild, and the viz was nice and clear. We are looking forward to watching the sun come behind the little castle that is Roca Partida and jumping into the water tomorrow once again.
Surface Conditions: Sunny, warm, slight breeze, calm sea conditions, 75 F.

Underwater Conditions: Water temp. 77F, mild current, mild surge, viz. 80-100′ slightly reduced due to dense schools of fish.

Your DiveMaster,

Jessie “Sharkchick” Harper

roca partida est reelement a la hauteur de sa reputation! une plongee ici, c’est 6 especes differentes de requins (marteau, soyeux, pointe blanche, corail, galapagos et sombre), des thons et des carangues par bancs entier, des murs couverts de murenes et de langoustes… (oh, et OUI: je veut bien dire tout ca en une seule plongee!). Des dauphins, une raie manta et un requin baleine ons egalement etes de la fete, tout ca en seulement 2 jours! les eaux de socorro sont d’une richesse incroyable , dirais que tout est plus grand et plus beau quand on plonge sur ce pic rocheux perdu au millieu de l’ocean. avant roca partida, on avais passe une journer a isla san benedicto, sans doute le meilleur endroit au monde pour nager avec les raies manta. celles de socorro sont immences et semblent vraiment adorer les plongeurs: elles viennent droit vers vous si pres que c’est nous qui devons faire attention a ne pas se faire bousculer! regarder une manta de 6m d’envirgure les yeux dans les yeux a 50cm de distance tandis qu’elle virvolte autour de vous est une inoubliable et il est impossible de decrire l’intensitee de ses yeux bleus(oui, je peux temoigner que les raies manta ons les yeux bleus!)qui semblent refleter votre propre curiositee et espieglerie.
j’ais du mal a croire que la croisiere n’en est qu’a la moitiee: j’ais deja vecu plus de rencontre inoubliables que dans toutes mes plongees jusque la! l’equipage est parfait, le nautilus irreprochable, les plongees inoubliables et les autres plongeurs tres amicaux tout comme lors de mon voyage a guadalupe en aout dernier. vraiment le voyage de plongee parfait sur tous les plans! merci en pqrticulier aux divemasters jessie et peter pour leurs gentillesse et leurs competence! demain , direction isla socorro… Pierre de paris
Excepcional dia de buceo.
Nuestro segundo dia en Roca Partida acabo con la visita inesperada de un tiburon ballena. Nos sorprendio a todo el grupo. Algunos tuvimos la oportunidad de presenciar como un tiburon lo golpeaba en la espalda (no sabemos si intentaba desparasitarse o fue un ataque).

Felipe de Sevilla.

Don Davies from Kelowna BC Canada. I’m sitting here on board the Nautilus Explorer sipping a glass of wine having just experienced the most amazing couple of dives I’ve ever experienced. In 2 dives I encountered a Giant Manta, a Whale Shark, and numerous other Sharks.To come face to face with these monsters of the deep is both magical and spiritual.I will never forget the experience!!

Log from Socorro Island – Silvia – our most famous hostess – goes diving with a friendly whaleshark at Roca Partida. SUPER HERMOSA!! May 31, 2010

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Yesterday we left the marina at Cabo San Lucas for our final Socorro Islands trip of the season, another 12 day expedition which will end with 4 days of diving in the Sea of Cortez. All was calm and serene as we pulled away from the dock and I was anticipating a relatively smooth 220 nautical mile crossing south to the Revillagigedo Islands (Socorro). As I turned south and left the protection of the cape, however, a very stiff 25 kt wind hit us beam on and decided to make a liar out of me. Often times off of Cabo San Lucas we do experience strong winds created by the local effects of the peninsula which are not in the forecast. Yesterday these winds made for a crossing that wasn’t quite as comfortable as I had hoped and we did have a few guests who were a little green in the face. It’s really unusual to have bigger seas 2 trips in a row as the pacific ocean is usually quite benign in these latitudes. It’s not unusual to get up to 2 weeks of calm seas. The wind did drop off as we got further from Cabo and the ride improved throughout the crossing.

On approaching Isla San Benedicto we had a great performance off the bow from our resident bottle-nose dolphins and the sea smoothed out nicely upon arriving at our sheltered anchorage and first dive site, ‘the Canyon’. Conditions at the Canyon had improved since our last trip here, with visibility around 60 ft (18m) on dive 1 and a mild current. I’m hoping that it will get back up to 100 feet of blue water within the next couple of days. The hammerhead shark cleaning stations that make this divesite so good were, unfortunately, clean of hammerheads, but were alive and quite beautiful with a lot of colorful fish. Schools of Jacks and tuna were in the area as well as a lone silver-tip shark, who was our only ‘big’ animal spotted here today. Dive two was more of the same but with reduced visibility and a moderate current flowing through the site. So, a relatively quiet start to this one, but with Roca Partida coming up tomorrow and the next day I am anticipating a much more exciting read for you on my next log. Divemaster Jessie has promised us to do her shark dance in the morning which she assures us definitely might work ;)

Captain Gordon Kipp

Surface conditions: Winds around 10-15 kts on location with up to 25 kts on the crossing, seas 1-2 ft on location with swell 5-8 ft on the crossing, today mostly cloudy with some sunny periods, air temps a little cool at 72F (22C)

Diving conditions: Visibility 20-60ft (6-18m), current mild to moderate, water temp 75F (24C)

As the sun sets today in a glorious riot of colour and the ship rocks gently in the swells, I take a deep breath and look back over the last year. You see, today is my 21st birthday. Achieved my Bridge Watchkeepers Certificate, and took all the relevant safety courses (Marine Emergency Duties, First Aid, etc.). I lived in another city for several months for the first time. And to top it off, I began working on the Nautilus Explorer. Today began much like any other day. Up early enough to see the sunrise, pink and gold fading into a brilliant blue. We were in transit to the Soccoro Islands, so I did a quick walk around to check nothing had come loose with the movement of the boat during the night. We began with a dive briefing, both on safety and on today’s site, the Canyon. This was followed by finishing tank and station set up, which is always a wonderful opportunity to connect with the guests.

We arrived at San Benedicto around 1330-1400, and promptly began discharging guests into the water. The report upon surfacing was great visiblilty, lots of fish, but no mantas. When the guests had cleared the deck, Sandy (the first mate), and I went for a dive. As promised there were lots of fish. Moorish Idols, Jacks and lots of Moray eels. A Mexican Hogfish decided he really liked how my hair looked- he was determined to get a bite. Eventually he went away without mishap. We also saw a silvertip shark!
As this is my first birthday away from home, I anticipated a small amount of homesickness – however the day is always so busy and exciting and so different from home, there really is nothing to remind me that I’m not there. Now time to go eat my birthday cake!

Tess Szostakiwskyj
Deckhand on the Nautilus Explorer April – June 2010

The second day of diving in the Socorro Island, today we are in Roca Partida, this morning we have a big school of dolphins close to the island,and I decide go for one of my last dive of the season, sad because is the last trip of the season, but exacting, because that mean Guadalupe island with the White Great Shark is coming…anyway…the visibility was great!!! no, even after five minutes that I was there a WHALE SHARK show up!!!!! That was really great!!!!!!!!he is being there since the first dive of the morning, I”m glad that I went today because I was thinking go tomorrow,so I say, don’t wait for tomorrow if you can do it today!!!!!!!

The whale shark stay the whole dive, going back and forth, SUPER HERMOSO…. Is so nice to be in his world….can wait for my next dive adventure!!!!!!!


Overly frisky silky sharks & 50 false killer whales show up at Socorro Island. English y Portuguese. May 11, 2010. Guest and Divemaster blog.

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Today was a bit of a strange day at Roca partida. The direction of the current was a bit unusual in its direction. And the sharks around the rock where fewer then normal. Though we had schools of tousands of yellow fin tunas exploding in all directions when we got in between them. And Whaoos not a couple, not ten but more then 50 maybe even a hundred. To see that many whaoos at the same time is very very rare. We just spotted a few hammerheads and silvertips m but mostly deep.

After the 3td dive when we came back from the dive we spotted false orcas, relative to Pilot whales. So we went in and they came curiously in to us and sonared us and checked us up several times. Big group of them out there maybe a hundred. We had around a 25-30 with us. Suddenly being in the water the zodiak was with us more then 30 very curiouse silky sharks came quickly swimming up to us and stroke just beside our fins. I suddenly noticed that all my guests had got out of the water and sat in the inflateble. Funny I thought they came here to Revillagigedo to see sharks not sitting on the boat… But honestly the silkies where a bit frisky.. One silver tip came up with them as well. Nice to see that many sharks. And great to see the false orcas again, they make a lot of sounds in the water it is that load that you can hear them sitting in the skiff.

An other interessting thing was to see that a bottle nose dolphin was accompanying the pod of the false orcas. And talking about the bottlenose dolphin today we witnessed a single bottle nose dolphin chasing bigeyed jacks , picking one out and sonar it with load sonar making the poor big eyed jack puke up the bait fish, the dolphin takes the fish and let the jack alone. I think it is quiet fantastic.
Good day!

Dive guide


Surface conditions: Flat sunny  no wind, 27 C

Underwater conditions: Some current, mostly 110 ft Viz temp 75 F 24

Ola manta!!

Estamos em “Roca Partida”, apos 1 serie de 4 mergulhos, com um fundo a 3.500 mts… “Silkies”, atuns gigantes, wahoo’s e … muita alegria, com um servico de bordo fantastico, e uma tripulacao 5 estrelas!! Venham ver, pois vale bem a pena!
Do vosso amigo, que vos estima, e se assina: Quincas.   :-)

Ola pessoal da mergulhacao e nao so…. :-)

Depois de uma viagem de 24 horas de navegacao fizemos a nossa estreia de mergulhos em San Benedicto no spot The Boiler.
Estavam a nossa espera jamantas gigantes e tubarao baleia. Como inicio nao poderia ser melhor.
Com o mar calmissimo fizemos a travessia para Roca Partida onde depois de 4 grandes mergulhos nos encontramos para passar a noite e repetirmos a dose amanha. A comida e o servico sao de excepcao, bem como a tripulacao que alem de ser 5 estrelas tem uma disponibilidade acima de tudo o que seria expectavel. O ambiente nao podia ser melhor e o grupo esta animadissimo.

Vamos agora atacar umas espetadas deliciosas feitas no barbecue de bordo pelo nosso excelente cozinheiro, acompanhadas por um tinto chileno de alto gabarito.

Carlos Ramos

Nao podia ser melhor. Mar calmo, jamantas, tubaroes, jacks, atuns, etc… Muito bom o servico de bordo. Excelente comida, muita atencao de toda a tripulacao, com um cuidado optimo antes e depois do mergulho. Sempre agua e sumos junta da plataforma de mergulho, nao esquecendo a toalhas lavadas para o que o que for necessario. Nos intervalos entre o almoco e o jantar aparece um a tabua de queijos de fazer inveja. Aconselho este destino.

Joao Egreja

Sorriso de orelha a orelha….depois de mais um mergulho em Roca Partida fomos abordados por um cardume de dezenas Falsas Orcas onde apenas alguns tiveram a sorte de saltar para a agua com mascara e barbatanas…mas saimos rapidamente!!! quando demos por nos estamos a ser observados por perto trinta tubaroes silky e silver tip…foi o momento alto.

Rui Martins & Penetra & Carlos Carvalho


Daqui Penetra e Rui emitidindo directamente de Roca Partida, depois de 8 excelentes mergulhos vamos levantar ancora e partir para Socorro para mais mantas, tubaroes de todas as especies e feitios, atum gigantes e jacks para todos os gostos.

Esperam nos mais umas valentes milhas com o excelente servico a bordo do Nautilus Explorer, julgamos que viriamos perder uns kilitos, mas afinal sairemos daqui mais anafaditos e provavelmente pagaremos excesso de bagagem, isto se la chegarmos, pois ja nos comentaram que o vulcao esta a fazer das suas.

Amanha chegaremos finalmente a Socorro, motivo principal desta viagem. Grupo excelente e tripulacao 5 estrelas, hoje temos Hula Hula Party, para nos entreter na viagem. Abraco ao Pai ZE e restante familia Martins, e claro para a minha Weasel e a para a Ullecas

Ate amanha!!!

Oi malta, aqui estou eu, de novo, para mais uma mensagem telegrafica. Pois e, mais uma serie de mergulhos em Roca Partida, num azul quase sem fim, com uma visibilidade de mais de 50 mts, atuns, Black Jack’s e silkies de grande porte, e uns bons martelos, embora ao longe. O que nao falha e a comida, que e sempre fantastica e sempre diferente… vou jantar, ate depois!


Swimming with a pod of false killer whales (orcas) and over one thousand yellow fin tuna – Guest blog 20 January 2010

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The Boiler dive site, San Benedicto Island, Socorro, Mexico

Best experience of my life, swimming with a pod of False Killer Whales….a once in a lifetime event.  The island is beautiful, the Nautilus Explorer and crew are fantastic. I wish I never had to go back on dry land. I will be back, how can you stay away?  Kat

At the boiler dive site on San Benedicto Island we had a school of a thousand plus yellow fin tuna all over one hundred pounds each. Ed

Some of us missed the false killer whales and had to make do with an awesome manta encounter in crystal clear water.  There are are few things in life more amazing than having a manta hover a few feet away and staring you in the eye.

Sten spotted a large group of false killer whales.  I never thought they would swim with me. This was a unique and rare experience for me and was one of the highlights of this enjoyable trip. martha

I’m just getting around to writing about yesterday’s dive at Roca Partida because my job as hostess on the Nautilus Explorer keeps me pretty busy!!   I love it.  This was my second dive of the trip at Roca Partida.  We dropped down to about 80 feet to two hammerhead sharks synchronized swimming side-by-side toward the group.  They were shortly followed by a couple of silver tip sharks swimming straight at us.  It seemed like a couple’s retreat.  We continued on around the rock until we found ourselves in the most enormous amount of fish happily swimming around us.  The relaxing dive ended with my first (and fairly close) encounter with a Wahoo and a school of Jacks.  This was also the first time I heard the humpback whales singing while I was scuba diving- a sure sign that humpback season is here. I’ve discovered the key to this dive site is to relax, stay in one place, and let the life come to you.
Hostess Eve

Female dolphin has been claimed as the girlfriend of all our male divemasters – January 13, 2010 – Captain’s Log

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Location: Socorro Islands, Baja California South, Mexico

We just completed our last dive day of this 10 day expedition to the wilds of the Socorro Islands, offshore Pacific Mexico. This place never ceases to amaze even the most seasoned veterans of the area with the sheer variety of big marine animals to be seen and experienced up close. Where else in the world can scuba divers encounter a pod of dolphins who will present themselves vertically an arm length away from divers, several Giant Manta Rays competing for attention by hovering an arm length above the divers and catch a glimpse of a big Tiger Shark as it enters your field of vision and just as quickly is gone, all in one dive!? That is exactly what we experienced in the last few days on more than one occasion, not to mention the hammerheads, silky sharks, white tips, abundant schools of Jacks and Surgeon fish, and humpback whales on the surface. We wrapped up the last few days at Socorro Island itself, diving at Cabo Pearce, Punta Tosca, Roca Oneill and the Aquarium. A huge school of hammerheads and a couple Tiger shark sightings at Cabo Pearce highlighted our day there, with of course a few mantas and dolphins spending some quality time with us as well. In the afternoon I decided to go for a quick swim, so I put a mask on and jumped in to cool off, and ended up spending the next 20 minutes with 8-10 dolphins and a very curious silky shark who made several very close approaches towards me. Not bad for a quick dip! After Cabo Pearce we spent two days on the west side of the island diving at Punta Tosca for the majority of that time, which is where we encountered the unusually sociable dolphins in combination with the ever-friendly Giant Manta Rays. One dolphin in particular, who has been claimed as the girlfriend of all of our male divemasters, is the most interactive of the pod and makes a point to visit each diver, going from one to the next as she presents herself vertically, literally an arm lengths away. More and more the other dolphins of her pod seem to be imitating her and are also becoming increasingly interactive with us. Not to be outdone, 3-4 Manta Rays in the area would appear directly above the divers and hover close by, as if to say, “hey, don’t forget about us!”. Today we came back to San Benedicto to finish with three dives at the Boiler experiencing more friendly Manta Rays and dolphins. Another hugely successful dive expedition to the Socorro Islands, with humpback season just getting warmed up, lots more tales to come!

Captain Gordon

Surface Conditions: Mostly sunny with beautiful sunsets, 80-82F, winds light to moderate (10-15 kts), swell 4-9 ft with a long period.

Diving conditions: Water temp 76-78F, Visibility 40-100 ft, current mild to strong, often surgey from the swell.

Socorro Island – January 3,2009 – the best dive of my life was today.. Guest blog

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Lynn: The best scyba dive of my life was today!  I descended to 50 feet and took a picture of 8 or 9 whitetip sharks resting on a balcony in the rock.  Then I turned around and there was a whaleshark!  It came close enough to get great photos.  As it moved off, a pod of 7 or 8 dolphins showed up and played in the water right in front of us. No sooner were they gone, than a hammerhead shark swam past.  Then we saw some silvertips, and a Galapagos shark.  Then a huge (5 feet long) tuna swam past.  The last 20 minutes of the dive a giant manta played with us, circling around and around, then the whaleshark swam past in the distance. All this along with hundreds of fish, clear water with sunlight streaming down, and dozens of whitetip sharks in view most of the time.

Fantastic, albeit brief, encounter with a whale shark this morning, on a dive which also brought us hammerheads and silvertips, all against the spectacular scenery of Roca Partida. It doesn’t get better than this!  Maggie Cowing 2/1/10

It was with sadness that we took our last dive on the Roca Partida (literally cleft rock).  It’s been our home for the last 8 dives (2 days) and has given us everything that diving has to offer.  Along with the myriad of smaller fish we have had visits from mantas, dolphins, whale sharks, various other sharks, tuna and jacks.  Some of the visits have been interactive to the delight of those divers involved, some have been less so, to the delight of the underwater photographers among us, but for a place to offer multiple dives that go immediately into my top 50 of best of all time dives, is truly amazing!  Robin Eccles 2/1/10

Ditto to all that Lynn said – we shared an amazing dive!  What a day!  What a trip!  I am truly awed.  The early morning dive today was perfection – couldn’t possibly ask for more than whaleshark, mantas, hammerhead sharks, dolphins, sharks and more sharks, and so many fish they look like a thick cloud in the water.  We were so busy looking at the pelagics that we didn’t have the time to properly appreciate the life on the wall – huge green morays, octopus, sharks, lobster, and such a myriad of fish that I couldn’t possibly hope to name them all.  And all this with the beautiful morning sun shining down on the amazing wall of Roca Partida.  Totally incredible!  And, to top it all off, I finished the day celebrating my 100th dive as the last dive of trip.