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  • Writer's pictureSimon Lorenz

Socorro with surprise whale visits!

Mantas, sharks, dolphins and a surprice visit by humpback whales in Socorro Islands, Mexico

March 2023 we embarked on one of our favorite destinations - Archipelago of Revillagigedo, better known as Socorro. It promissed to be a trip full of sharks, gianta manta rays and dolphins. But we were treated to all that, and more! Several of our dive groups were graced with a very rare underwater encounter of a humpback whale mother and calf!

But first we started the trip with the two interesting extensions.

Grey Whales

The first one was a whale watching experience to the calving grounds for Grey Whales around in a lagoon in the middle of nowhere. Alaskan grey whales swim all the way down the American pacific coast to give birth to their young in "warmer" waters.

Unfortunately we were not lucky with the weather and the whales were pretty shy due to the choppy seas. but we have a close encounter with a mother and her calf, that was only a couple days old.

Shark Swim

Baja California is one of the few places were oceanic sharks come reasonably close to shore. This season is know for Blue Sharks, Mako Sharks, Silky Sharks and the very rare smooth hammerheads. And guess what, we got all four species on our first day out allowing everyone a second helping on a calmer and even better second day

Main Trip - Archipelago Revillagigedo

After a deliciously flat journey of almost 400km open ocean we arrived at the closest of the islands San Benedicto, which is a rough looking volcano sticking out of ocean.

Mantas, sharks, dolphins and a surprice visit by humpback whales in Socorro Islands, Mexico

San Benedicto

At the first site Canyons we encountered lots of sharks (silvertips, galapagos, white tips, a tiger) around the cleaning station. There were also schools of hammerheads that circled the area, albeit not very close we all saw them at some point.

El Boiler

Next was the famous dive site called the boiler, known for its crazy rock formations, piles of white tips and the huge Oceanic Manta Rays, the largest rays in the world. These giants come here to get cleaned by clarion Angel Fish.

Mantas, sharks, dolphins and a surprice visit by humpback whales in Socorro Islands, Mexico

It was great timing to take a memory image for Daz to celebrate his 700th dive.

Mantas, sharks, dolphins and a surprice visit by humpback whales in Socorro Islands, Mexico

During these two days in Benedicto Island we were already blessed with several visits of humpback mother and calf pairs, many of which seemed to be playing with bottlenose dolphins.

Mantas, sharks, dolphins and a surprice visit by humpback whales in Socorro Islands, Mexico

Roca Partida

From here we headed to the tiny rock in the middle of nowhere called "parted rock" - while there is nothing around for at least 100km this rock is a magnet for life.

One of the main attractions here is shark life. There are piles and piles of white tip sharks lying on ever shelf. We had silvertips and tuna hunting the dense fish life and dolphins cruising by.

An absolute highlight was a true "sharknado" - a mating aggregation of white tip reef sharks. Probably 50 or more sharks were circling right in the current split in front of the rock.

sharknado in Socorro

But, it was not done yet. One of our diver groups had a very lucky encounter. throughout the day we had a humpback mother and calf circling the island, jumping and having a good time. During the third dive around the rock our divers came across the pair underwater! The mother passed extremely close by our guests James and Ann and the calf zipped right by them.

The divers on this encounter were incredibly happy and everyone else tried to be happy for them (to mixed success...).


The last two days were spent diving at the actual Socorro Island, at the dive sites Punta Tosca and Cabo Pierce. These days were very much in the light of the manta rays and occasional dolphin visits. There were several manta rays on every dive, coming close and flirting with the divers. Nowhere else in the world can Manta Rays be experienced like this.

At the third dive another group got lucky again with another close pass by mother and calf. In this instance the calf and some playlful dolphins came very close to Ilham, who could barely believe her eyes.

The trip was a huge success as we saw all our target species as well as a sharknado, a manta ray breach, a silver tip hunt and two encounters with Humpback Whales. And the group of divers was amazing, once a again an amazing trip for Insider Divers.

Mantas, sharks, dolphins and a surprice visit by humpback whales in Socorro Islands, Mexico

Join our next Socorro expedition

Simon Lorenz selfie

Underwater photographer Simon Lorenz is the founder of Insider Divers and one of our main trip leaders. He is a regular author for dive magazines and speaker at events. Simon speaks 6 languages and has dived on all continents. A PADI instructor and photo coach his aim is to further the dive, marine and photography skills of our guests. Simon fights for the protection of sharks in his role on the advisory board of the Hong Kong Shark Foundation.

1 Comment

Apr 26

Thanks for the great pictures. I would like to check out Socorro but until the Mexican government stops charging an illegal "duty" on housings- sometimes over $1000 USD- I will be avoiding Mexico. I recently spoke to a group where over half the group had to pay this illegal duty. You should be warning people about this on your blog. This is an illegal practice- really extortion- and the more we patronize Mexico the worse it gets.

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