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Tiger shark at Socorro Island – what a rush!!!

December 23, 2009 Written by

Location: Punta Tosca, Turtle Bay, Socorro Island, Revillagigedos, Baja Sur, Mexico

Ok, pick one: Sting Ray, Giant Manta Ray, Green MoRAY (Yes I know, the last one is stretching it a little). Still, they were all out in full glory on the final day of Scuba Diving this week as the Nautilus Explorer finished its cruising for this trip around the Revillagigados Islands.  This time the dive site of choice to end the trip was off Socorro Island’s westernmost point.  Its called Punta Tusca and it rarely disappoints.  A long rocky finger stretching out from Turtle Bay on the south side of Socorro Island, it rises steeply up from a sandy plateau. It has several stark pinnacles and is a common playground for Manta Rays and Bottlenose Dolphins.   This is also the dive site where we have seen more tiger sharks than all the other dive sites at Socorro combined.   I haven’t forgotten the story Captain Mike related when they came across a fresh carcass of a baby humpback whale in 40 feet here with 5 tiger sharks circling around.

As the skiff took us over the flat calm water toward the site, our hopes seemed to mirror the morning sun high above the horizon, its “Rays” bright and hot on our backs.  Such hopes were fulfilled as soon as the first group of divers rolled into the water.  Three Giant Mantas surrounded them almost immediately after entering the water.  The second group of divers started out on the sandy plateau and being avid photographers, were pleased to find a very photogenic and cooperative Southern Sting Ray hanging out in the sand. Several Green Moray Eels peaked their heads out at the Scuba Divers as they ascended the finger.  More intriguing to many was the less common Tiger Reef Eel that checked us out briefly before retreating into the safety of a nearby crevice.

Speaking of Tigers, though none were seen on the last day of diving I think it is still well worth mentioning that Tiger Sharks were spotted three times by five different Scuba Divers this trip!  I was lucky to be one of the five.  The Tiger Shark appeared about 50 feet away from me and one other diver.  It was swimming slowly and at first, based on its sheer size and shape, I thought it was a Great White Shark – our adventures cage diving with the Nautilus Explorer in Guadalupe earlier this year flashed through my mind.  As it came a little closer I saw the vertical stripes and then there was no doubt: I was looking at the most dangerous animal I had ever seen underwater (outside of a cage!).  I admit it was a bit of a rush.  The guest diving with me saw it also and couldn’t stop talking about it all evening!

On top of all this we were thrilled to see two Loggerhead Turtles on the second to last dive of the day.  These guys were big too.  4 to 5 feet long.  The gentle giants made for some great video footage and spent almost the entire dive with us.

So we started the week with Hammerhead Sharks and ended it with Manta Rays and Loggerhead Turtles.  Throw a few Tiger Sharks in the middle, add a couple Bottlenose Dolphins, and I think we can say it was a great week of Scuba Diving at Socorro.

I can’t wait to splash next week and see what the Revillagigados have in store for us.

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Diving!

Divemaster Dan

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