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We swim with the friendliest giant mantas in the world, and go face to face with great white sharks. Read about our experiences, guest comments and more here at the Nautilus at Sea blog! Plus special editorials by Captain Mike.

Manta lovin’

November 22, 2009 Written by

Location: Isla Socorro, Baja California South, Mexico

After a very sharky two days at Roca Partida we headed the 65 miles east to the largest of the three islands that we dive here, Socorro, in search of some Manta lovin’! It was a very comfortable overnight transit and our first stop was the navy base to check in with the gate-keepers of the islas, the Mexican Navy. After getting reacquainted with Commandante Corona (that’s his real name), we made waves to our first dive site, Cabo Pearce, on the east side of the island. A very high lava finger jutting out into the sea here makes for a nice protected anchorage and the accompanying undersea ridge makes a nice home for all the fishes, big and small. After the adrenaline of all the hammerheads, whale shark, silver-tips and galapagos sharks at Roca Partida we were all very much ready for an intimate dance with our friends the giant mantas. And thanks be to the manta lord above, they were there waiting faithfully for us when we rolled off the zodiacs. On dive 1, 3 individual mantas kept us company, circling us gracefully as only a manta can do, seemingly enjoying our company as much as we theirs. On dive 2 we had only 1 manta to play with, but this one was a real player and thrilled everyone with very up close interaction for the entire dive. Just when you think the manta has decided to leave, you carry on with your dive, head down looking at a nudi or octopus, when suddenly you feel a presence above you and you look up to see nothing but the white underbelly of a manta, only a few feet above you, obviously feeling a little neglected at your lack of attention, letting itself sink so it is almost on top of you. It’s almost as if the manta is wanting contact with you, and will literally sink down until it touches you. Really amazing and special to have this kind of interaction with a wild animal in its natural environment.

On our last day of diving at Socorro we moved to the west side of the island to Punta Tosca, a really beautiful anchorage at the foot of the sprawling green hills of Socorro. My favorite anchorage and hoping for more manta lovin’ today. In 4 dives on this day we would have Mantas on all of them! On our first morning dive it was mostly slow, with a few people seeing some hammerheads and a manta who kept its distance. The following 3 dives however were just awesome manta dives for everyone in the water. As many as 4 individuals circling the divers, all vying for some “people lovin'”. Again some amazing very close up interaction between manta and diver. I know it’s good when one of our divemasters comes up and says it was the best dive he’s ever done! Even on the last dive of the day, when often the mantas will disappear with the light, we had one real player who stuck around and would simply not leave the divers, even as they exited the water to head back to the mother ship. Wow! A very successful first trip back to Socorro, and a very successful combination trip, I can’t believe only a little over a week ago we were in a cage only a few feet away from a 15 ft white shark. White sharks, sea-lions, mantas, hammerheads, dolphins and a whale shark…did we miss anything??

Captain Gordon

Weather: mostly sunny, air temp 80-85f (26-30C), winds light to moderate, a nice gentle swell in the anchorage with 3-4 ft swell at the divesites.

Water: Visibility 50-70 ft (15-20 m), water temp 77-80f (25-27C), current mild to moderate

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