Two Amazing Adventures

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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.

Dancing with Mantas

December 7, 2009 Written by

Location: The Canyon dive site, Islas San Benedicto, Revillagigedo’s, Baja California Mexico

A day at sea could not be more pleasant.

If we reached the forecast values for our transit we’d be content for a tranquil crossing, but our voyage was made all the milder by a minuscule chop and a light, amiable swell on our quarter. The Nautilus Explorer slid regally from Cabo san Lucas harbour for a close pass of the ‘Cabo’ for which its named; The spires, arches and pinnacles thrust up at land’s end are almost Gothic in scale and design. We were humbled by the magnitude of these most awesome rock formations. On the bow, photographers recorded a scene in all the delicate shell colours of an early morning light. Truly an auspicious start.

But first, introductions all around: ‘I’m Marco, your Captain for this voyage..’
and in the snug of the lounge, our guests responded in like. Although we had several guests who have sailed before in “Nautilus Explorer” and her precedant “Nautilus 7”, none had enjoyed the diving in the Socorro Archipelago; the excitement was palpable as equally none of our divers have yet ‘danced’ with a Great Manta.  We’ll set that to rights soon enough!

The somulant seas took their toll and soon everyone was relaxing with a favored book, chatting in quiet tones or enjoying another drink. After the hectic world of airports and early starts, this was a rest well deserved… and we had 24 hours to bask in it.

Dan, our divemaster, takes up the narrative as his purview is of our water world below.

What a day of diving it was today! The morning dive started at 7:45 and we were all keen to see the Canyon at first light and maybe catch a hammerhead or two finishing its breakfast!  So after some light breakfast chased down by hot coffee, the descent line was dropped, guests and divemasters geared up and into the warm waters of San Benedicto Island we splashed.

We knew right away it was going to be a good one.  Three bottlenose dolphins met us immediately and kept us company all the way down the line to the bottom. We took turns doing sommersaults with the dolphins which were clearly in a playful mood.  Then off across the rocky bottom toward the ‘cleaning station’ where Hammerhead Shark are often found getting their teeth cleaned after a night of “snacking”. On the way we encountered a very well camoflaughed Stone Fish and a Green Moray Eel out for a swim.

Then, at last, we approached the edge of the canyon where the feeding station was.  We stayed low and approached slow, keeping our breathing as calm as possible, not wanting to give the sharks too much warning.  At the edge, we settled behind several large boulders and peeked our heads out to look.  And there were sharks! Three! Six! Seven! Then twelve scalloped Hammerheads were circling, confidently and gracefully both above us and below us.  We kept still in our places and admired what one guest later called “the very big fish!”

It only got better! When it was time to leave, we turned back toward the boat and immediately saw two Silvertip Sharks which had been chasing fish behind our backs. They stuck around for a minute or two before disappearing into the distance.

Aboard, a big breakfast was set, and a short move through calm seas over to ‘The Boiler’, one of the best known and exciting divesites at San Benedicto.  We did three dives at this location and each one was better than the last! Two Giant Mantas spent the entire day hanging out at the site and each time we dropped in they were very welcoming.  They could be seen for almost the entire time on all three dives!  They often circled in close, seemingly attracted to our bubbles and would even occasionally pause in midwater directly above a diver’s head.  Some great photos were taken and the evening has been spent reviewing and comparing those photos while talking eagerly about tomorrow’s diving at the famous “Roca Partida.”

So a busy and and satisfying start to the trip.  We have enjoyed having great weather too.  Sunny skies above and mostly calm, clear waters below.

Happy diving!

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