Socorro and Baja California
End of December 2021 a group of 18 Insider Divers got together to visit the famous Revillagigedo Marine Park aboard the Nautilus Undersea. Before we departed we dove the sites around Cabo San Lucas. After our return we travelled around the South tip of Baja California diving and snorkeling with the many underwater highlights this area has to offer. Feeding whalesharks, playful sea lion puppies , sleeping turtles on wrecks and snorkeling with pelagic sharks. We also saw humpback whales and as a grand finale Sperm Whales.
Socorro Islands 2021-22
Check out the full trip video.
Cabo San Lucas - Pre-Trip
Nestled at the south tip of Baja California's long peninsula this is where Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean meet creating a huge bio diversity. This is where we all met to start our tour.
After testing everyone on arrival and a hearty Mexican dinner we headed out for two days of diving these potent water (with daily Covid testing).
The giant Sardine school right off the the dive site Lands-end was a definite highlight. That's Bob there swimming into it.
We also got very lucky to see a huge school of cow nose rays passing Pelican Rock.
This is famous Sandfall at Pelican Rock, the sand being replenished via the narrow landbridge that separates Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez.
At Lands-end there is a population of adult Sea Lions. It took me an entire dive waiting for them to get this shot, they are not deliberately coming close to humans. That is why after Socorro we would head to La Paz and los Islotes to get nice close up sea lion interaction (see below).
Revillagigedo Islands a.k.a. Socorro Islands
These few islands are almost 300 sea miles away from land and are the center of the largest marine park of North America. Mexico has gone above and beyond for their ocean protection in this area, marking the giant area as absolute no-take zone which is marshalled by a permanent navy settlement on Socorro Island.
The coast of the pacific ocean mostly has deep waters and canyons and all along the coast of the Americas and there are only very few islands breaking the surface. These are all hotspots with dense marine life and predators. The most famous are Galapagos, Cocos and Guadeloupe Island that are all famous for wild, fishy waters teeming with sharks!
Canyon - Isla San Benedicto
Upon arrival at night the island proved it's sharkyness immediately with literally hundreds of silky sharks swarming around our boat all night.
Next morning we started our routine of four dives a day that we would maintain for 5 days.
And sharky it was right away... Canyon has a famous shark cleaning station where we could watch up to 10 silver tips getting cleaned at the same time. Galapagos and White Tip reef sharks were also seen diving in and out of the site. There was also a passing of a Pelagic Black Tip Shark and someone thought they saw a Tiger in the distance.
Another species common to Revillagigedo are Scalloped Hammerheads that are known to school in large numbers, which we were lucky to see on the second dive already.
Zee watching a silver tip and galapagos shark getting cleaned.
We also got out first interaction with Bottlenose Dolphins that like to come in close to say hello.
El Boiler - Isla San Benedicto
This is the signature site of San Benedicto. The giant tower of layered volcanic rock is famous for dolphins and manta rays. Surprisingly this site was a bit quiet compared to other places on the journey, but the 4 dives were certainly not wasted as we did have some marvelous encounters in clear and warm blue water.
The first Gianta Manta on this trip didn't disappoint. She flew rounds around us coming close and enjoying our bubbles. These manta rays (Manta Birostris) are bigger than the usual reef mantas (Manta Alfredi) that divers see more often. They are very similar, but main difference is that Giant Manta are fully pelagic, meaning they don't come close to reefs and are therefore only encountered rarely and in few places. Socorro is by far the best place in the world to see them regularly.
On the second dive we also encountered a big and playful pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. This one was showing off its newest member, a baby dolphin which can seen on the above image at the bottom.
Nothing beats getting swarmed by dolphins, like our guide Esteban in this situation. Make sure to watch the video where Lena can be seen "dancing" with our dolphin friends.
Roca Partida - Open Ocean
Roca Partida is a tower of rock sticking out of the ocean in the middle of nowhere. It is around 50km from the closest island and it is the size of a large bus. Under water it's rock walls drop 100m to the first ledge, before dropping further to around 1000m. Imagine the surfacing rock as the top tip of world's highest building - Dubai's Burj Khalifa, then you can imagine what the dive site feels like.