Socorro - Islands of Paradise


This Insider Divers’ trip is unquestionably up there as one of my most memorable dive trips – ever. The trip offered a few days extension over Christmas allowing us to kick off our Mexican adventure in Cabo San Lucas followed by Cabo Pulmo. After that it was time for the main event, aboard the Solmar V and off to Socorro.

Read the trip report of our Christmas extension at the end of the page.

Socorro Islands

Check out this trip report by videographer Erick Higuera

As we headed out on our voyage, dolphins danced along our bow waves. It comes as no surprise that one needs to travel some distance to reach one of the few remaining untouched wonders of the ocean and travel we did. Some 380 miles out into the Pacific Ocean. The crossing was good and so it took us just 24 hours. No problem whatsoever. For those who are prone to seasickness do come prepared as conditions can be rough and we had a much more lumpy journey on the return home.

A good-looking boat and majestic in her deep green hues, the Solmar V is perfectly equipped for diving out in the Pacific Ocean. More than once during the crossing we appreciated her sturdy designs. The rooms are small, very small, but Simon had warned us of that and besides we didn’t plan to spend more time in our berths than necessary to sleep.

The reference to Socorro Islands is actually a general term – what we are in fact talking about is the Revillagigedo Islands, a group of four volcanic islands: San Benedicto, Socorro and Roco Partida (the inner islands) and the outer island, Clarion (which we didn’t visit). Each island is some distance from the other and the route the boat takes varies dependant on the conditions.

We visited all three of the inner islands over our 6 days in the archipelago. They are volcanic islands with a unique eco-system and each have their over character in terms of topography as well as the dive sites they have to offer.

San Benedicto

(check out dive on 28th at Las Cuevas and then full day of diving at the Boiler on 29th and full day of diving at Canyon on 30th). The format differs from liveaboards in other destinations in that you will generally do multiple dives on the same site before moving on to the next site.

Dive Sites at San Benedicto:

Las Cuevas - simple check out dive. It is shallow and has a few swim throughs. A nice easy start. Highlight was seeing electric rays as well as a number of white tips and silver tips very close.

The Boiler – And here the real fun began! The Boiler is the most famous of the sites in this region and one of my favorites. Known for its dramatic thick tower of lava rock providing a wall to dive along. It sets an incredible backdrop for when the pelagic manta rays swoop in.

We had so many interactions with these mantas over the course of a number of dives on this site – it was serious manta-mania. Huge and dominating in their size, it was particularly special seeing the black (chevron) manta. Compared to other places, I found that here the mantas seemed much more willing to stick around and interact. On a number of occasions, we’d watch them sit on top of a diver to enjoy a body scratch from the escaping bubbles.

El Canyon – This site, on the south end of the Island, delivered our first sightings of schooling hammerheads and one of our few current dives. They were in the distance but it was a promising start. We even had a sneaky but brief visit from a tiger shark.

Another truly magnificent experience were the Silky Sharks under the boat. After every dive they would be cruising around us until we exited at water. At first it was an odd feeling but soon we realized they were totally relaxed and just swam around us with no aggression.

A few of the group topped off the day with sightings of a pod of five dolphins. The excitement had well and truly kicked-off!

Roca Partida

(one day of diving on 31st).

Roca Partida is literally a small rock in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately I had to miss this day of diving due to an injury (fortunately temporary) but from the boat I could enjoy the remote location and lots of booby birds! The group saw swarms of jacks and tuna including the resident large tuna known as Sam and a number of Silver Tips, Galapagos and Silky Sharks.

Socorro

(one day of diving Cabo Pearce on 1 Jan)

Cabo Pearce – We welcomed in the New Year with our own underwater fireworks display in the tune of silvertips, mantas, hammerheads, another tiger and … finally DOPHINS. The Dolphins unquestionably stole the show as they swam amongst us, naughtily teasing us to follow them down to the deep.

Back to San Benedicto

(one day of diving El Boiler on 2nd Jan)

We returned to the Boiler for the final day of diving and we had solid manta interactions for all four dives. The highlight was seeing a couple of dolphins cruise in on the tail of the Manta – it seemed we were all out to play that day. This was my best day of interactions with dolphins as they joined our group and we had fun pretending to swim like them and cherishing each interaction. An unforgettable end to an awesome week.

Thank you to the amazing crew of Solmar V – these guys worked so hard and their energy and enthusiasm was infectious.

The Diving in Socorro

Dives per day: 3-4 dives

Entry Method: occasionally off the back of the boat but usually onto the pangas and then gear on and back-roll in

Drinks & Food: included and you are extremely well fed and watered!