Saturday, February 20, 2016

Clipperton Big Migrations Trek onboard Quino el Guardian

It has been about a year since the idea was born: to go on an unique expedition to explore one of the most isolated and historic places in the pacific ocean.  The dream started in the restless minds of two couples: Michel and Julie together with Rocio del Mar & Quino el Guardian owners, Dora and Francisco (Lolo).

Their passion for the ocean and the need to protect it influenced Canadians Michel Labrecque and Julie Ouimet, co-owners of N2Pix, to initiate an expedition that would contribute to studies about shark migration in the eastern tropical pacific. 

1457 km/786 NM distance from San Jose del Cabo to Clipperton

The date of departure from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico finally arrived on January 28th. 2016.

This was one of the very few expeditions that have been made to remote Clipperton Island with special permits and authorization of the French Government.

Aboard was a team of three scientists who are particularly interested in making observations about the human impact on such a remote island as well as documenting the presence of large predators. These scientists also planned on continuing their shark migration project using acoustic and satellite tags to track the animals.

With everything ready, boat, crew, divers, passengers, scientific team and a big number of video and photographic equipment, we set sail at 10:30 in the morning.

Expedition team and crew ready to depart from San José del Cabo

The long journey of about 1457 km from San José del Cabo to Clipperton  (492 km from San José del Cabo to Socorro and the other 965 km from Socorro to Clipperton) took us from latitude 23.06 N, 109.70 W to 10.3 N, 109.21 W,  a latitude near the border of Costa Rica and Panama!

Our first stop was planned for San Benedicto Island, in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, but during the night and part of the morning a strong current slowed the boat a couple of hours and we were not able to dive. Since the weather forecast wasn't looking promising over the next couple days we decided not to stop at all in Revillagigedo.

During the crossing from Revillagigedo passengers used the free time to work on their computers, read, sleep or just enjoy the opportunity to be in the middle of the pacific and scan the horizon for whales, dolphins and birds. 
Captain checking distance and coordinates to Clipperton

Every night was an organized scientific talk or presentation about different topics hosted by the scientific team on board: White Shark in Guadalupe Island, Clipperton fauna, Shark Tagging protocols, different shark documentaries, etc. 

It was also a great time for all the group to get to know each other better, share good times, and lots of laughs.

Finally at dawn on February 2nd we were able to see the atoll from the distance! It was a very powerful moment to see the silhouettes of the palm trees (mentioned in many books) and the historical Clipperton Rock keeping in silence unknown secrets of the people and boats that have been there before.

A group of more than 15 dolphins came to swim around the boat and to welcome Quino el Guardian to the island.

Clipperton at last!

The underwater mountain is quite steep and goes deep very close to the surf breaking zone which makes anchoring very complex and risky. Our captain managed to anchor safely and immediately we started to prepare everything for our landing on the island. The energy, excitement and enthusiasm on board Quino el Guardián was palpable.
The two pangas scouted the beach trying to find a safe passage to the shore. The waves were breaking and the reef was extremely shallow close to the beach. It was impossible to take a panga all the way in, so we all had to jump into the water and swim trough the surf zone into the beach.

Definitely not an easy maneuver considering that it was required to bring filming and photographic equipment, water, food, etc. At some points it looked more like the D-Day in Normandy, but all passengers were to rise to the occasion, but not without bruises and scrapes! 

Landing on Clipperton 
Picture courtesy of  Charalampos Babis Bizas
Taken under special permit #HC/1838/CAB
The rest of the day was full of exploration: walking around the island trying to listen to the voices of the ghosts and the laughs of the children that lived there for years. 
Discovering footprints of history of the lagoon and remains of human presence on the island. 
At some points the Masked and Brown Boobies seemed like they were making fun of us and the bright-orange crabs peeked up at us, curious to see who was visiting and making all the noise!

Clipperton is an uninhabited 6 km2 (2.3 sq mi) coral atoll territory of France. Most of the time it has been an uninhabited island except for the guano miners, the Mexican settlement in 1917 that ended in tragedy (subject of several novels) and the USA military base during WWII. 
Nevertheless this little piece of land in the middle of nowhere has called the attention of numerous people during history: business men, pirates, military, governments, international disputes, scientific expeditions and it has been a refuge for many castaways. 

Shallow coral reef makes landing using pandas impossible

Intense sun during exploration day

Break for lunch and water

Wreck on the beach

New French flag

Clipperton Rock: mystery, history, treasures

Human impact on the island: plastic carried by ocean currents

During the short time that we spent on the island we were able to feel and experience a little taste of the island. The smell and sound of thousands and thousands of birds and the guano, the difficulties to walk on pieces of sharp dead coral, the intense sun and the lack of fresh water, but at the same time the magnetism of the island and in some way understand why so many people have been hypnotized by Clipperton and its treasures.

That night, after a rough swim going back to the pangas, the scientific team (Eric, Sandra and Mauricio) lead the first shark tagging attempt of the expedition. It was a fantastic opportunity for all of the 16 passengers to help, learn and participate actively in this important work marine biologist are doing to learn more about the shark migration and to protect them in a better and more effective way.
Shark tagging
The crew of Quino el Guardian was ready to help them to catch the sharks from the platform and get the shark out of the water (not an easy task when the shark is about 7 feet long). Then two or three passengers had the task of holding the shark and providing it with water running through its mouth to keep it breathing. Some others were in charge of taking notes while others were taking measures. A couple more were assisting directly to take the biopsies and to do the surgical procedure to introduce the acoustic tag in the shark.
Not everything was serious work— on the platform and dive deck it was a lot of laughs and jokes! Everyone was having a great time while learning. And of course from that night nobody will ever forget how that big Galapagos shark slapped Thomas twice!

Scientists on board: Mauricio Hoyos, Sandra Bessudo and Eric Clua

The next two days in Clipperton were dedicated to diving. We had a marvelous opportunity to see the huge coral reef on the island full of reef fish and insolent morays. Photographers and videographers were happy collecting images of the endemic species of Clipperton: (Myripristis gildi) Clipperton Cardinal Soldierfish,  (Thalassoma robertsoni) Clipperton Rainbow Wrasse, (Xyrichtys wellingtoni) Clipperton Razorfish, (Holacanthus limbaughi) Clipperton Angelfish, (Stegastes baldwini) Baldwin's Major and the (Pseudogramma axelrodi) Axelrod's Reef-bass
We also saw many baby Silvertip sharks (Carcharhinus albimarginatus) and few Galapagos sharks (Carcharhinus galapagensis) but we missed seeing more large pelagic predators and schools of fish. Maybe over-fishing near the island, "El Niño," and plastic debris are all related to the cause of this.

The scientific team aboard will take all these observations to the authorities to keep the pressure on to declare Clipperton and the seas around the island a Marine Protected Area.

Alejandro happy after seeing a hammer head shark

Picture: Frankie Rivera
Taken under special permit #HC/1838/CAB
The expedition was honored to carry the Explorers Club flag number 213
Steep coral walls around the island

Unfortunately the wind was increasing day by day and diving conditions were getting more complicated to do safely. Even so, we managed to recover two of the three acoustic receivers Mauricio Hoyos had installed around the island to track sharks and everybody had very nice dives with warm water and good visibility (28 C/82 F and 60 to 80 feet vis)

The afternoon weather report on Thursday Feb 4th brought bad news. The wind was going to pick up with red flags for the next few days. It was a very tough call, but safety since safety comes first, we decided to start making our way back to Socorro Island that night after the shark tagging activity and dinner.

Clipperton sunset (last night in the island)

Crossing back from Clipperton to Socorro was very tough but it was not enough to remove the smiles and the good mood of the passengers. All my respect to all of them who handled courageously the long journey with rough seas.

The last stage of this expedition was in Revillagigedo Archipelago. Our first stop was in Socorro Island diving in Cabo Pearce. We had really good dives with mantas, dolphins and a couple of Galapagos sharks.

The next day we dove on San Benedicto Island. The morning dive was at the famous dive site, El Cañon that gifted us with an incredible safety stop with a huge bait ball of Black Skipjacks with big Galapagos and Silky sharks chasing them.

But the big surprise was on the surface: at least 6 different mantas were feeding in very shallow waters and without a doubt divers got on their fins and masks and jumped in with their cameras to spend at least half an hour swimming with these incredible and peaceful animals.
Our next stop was in El Boiler for three more dives entirely with mantas, mantas, and more mantas. It definitely was a fabulous closure for the diving activities of this expedition. San Benedicto: thank you again!

Picture: Frankie Rivera. Manta in San Benedicto Island

Then it was time to celebrate: Poncho, Carlos and "Flaco" cooked a wonderful dinner on the top deck: mexican tacos! Plus margaritas, beer, wine, cactus salad (nopales) music and the most important ingredient: lots of laughter and happy faces.  The feeling of having accomplished a mission invigorated us!

This is what a true exploring expedition is: different people from different parts of the world with different objectives come together to create a team that goes to a remote place to discover new things, to bring new information, to do a specific work (science, documentary, etc) and use the best skills of each person onboard to accomplish common goals.
This wasn't easy, it wasn't a recreational tour, it was a real expedition with big challenges, risks, difficult weather, but at the end the good spirit, team work and smart decisions made it a total success.

Quino in Socorro Island
Thanks to all of you for sharing this lifetime experience with us, for choosing us as a company and vessel dedicated to these kinds of expeditions and to be part of the humans that want to make a change in the world and help protect it.

We'll be waiting for all of you guys on our upcoming adventures!

Text: Juan David Cortes (DM)
Photos: Frankie Rivera, Eric Clua, Charalampos Babis Bizas, Juan David Cortés, N2PIX
San José del Cabo. February, 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Look Into the Citizen Science Expedition

When we began the process of redesigning the ship that is now Quino el Guardian, we had a vision of the Quino as a service vessel.  We hoped that it could serve as a research, investigation and education ship. The Citizen Science Expedition that took place in November was exactly the kind of trip we had in mind for Quino el Guardian; an opportunity to engage in research from the comfort and ease of our ship. Below is an article written by diver, artist, and friend of the Rocio del Mar family, Beverly Peterson.  We hope you enjoy her in depth description as much as we did. Check our website for more opportunities to engage as a "citizen scientist" or, better yet, book your own charter on our Quino!

Quino El Guardian Citizen Science Dive Expedition

Almost a month has passed since Quino El Guardian Citizens Science Dive Expedition set sail to the Revillagigedo Archipelago, (Socorro Islands), from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.  Each day I think of some part of that trip.  I live in La Paz, BCS, Mexico.
I remember everyone was finally aboard on November 7th and we set sail.  The seas were calm, the crossing was gentle.

The Scientists:
Frida Lara is a bright, quiet, young woman working on her PhD determining the distribution patterns of sharks by studying the behaviors, conservation and management of sharks through BRUVS and acoustic telemetry.
Robert (Bob) Rubin is a regular guy known in the Marine Biology world as a renowned scientist, considered an expert on Mantas; and,
James Ketchum is the co-founder of a non-profit organization for the research and conservation of sharks and other large fish.  He tags sharks with transmitters using the data to protect the Revillagigedo Archipelago and other regions.

The Science Citizens:
EA: the Instigator; CG: the World Diver; JC: the Reader; JF: the Free Diver; TS: the Discoverer of Trent’s Cove; CA: the Bandito aka professional photographer for the Expedition; MR: the Electric Charge; and, me BP: the Artist.

For the three scientists, the Citizens Science trip to Revillagigedo Archipelago was about collecting data to support the important need to secure a 40 miles radius outside the four islands instead of the existing 6 miles radius around each island. Through their work they can show when and where the sharks and mantas travel back and forth between the islands to the Sea Of Cortez and further.  Outside the six mile protected zone the sharks, mantas, and other big fish are fair game for net and longline fisherman. The fish snagged by longline fisheries are killed and discarded at sea. The shark fins and manta gills command money but not as much money as the fish do alive. In our country and other islands tourism commands millions of dollars.  Aside from money the ocean is a necessary resource we need as a race to exist. All that lives in the ocean is just as necessary.  I have included the scientist’s websites at the close so you can see the work they do.

For me, I went on the expedition to be in the water, to dive with sharks, whales, mantas, dolphins, and fast currents because I love being at sea and under water with these animals.  The trip exceeded the idea to “just be” in the aquatic environment.  There was a purpose and we, the guests, the crew, eagerly assisted with all that we could.  We helped Frida set her BRUVs (underwater GoPro cameras strategically placed in locations recording shark behavior).  We helped James tag sharks. We helped Bob collect photographic data.  We all had jobs.  Presentations on shark and mantas were at night.  We sat attentive like kids listening to a bedtime story.

We tagged five sharks.  Some of the sharks had the receiver surgically inserted, the others had the receivers screwed onto the dorsal fin by a Home Depot 12v battery drill. I would not have guessed a home improvement process!  All the sharks were female.  We learned how to identify gender, take DNA samples, keep the sharks alive by running water into their mouths and out the gills, protected their eyes from light, and how to prevent the tail from thrashing by lassoing the caudal fin (tail fin) and then tightening the noose.

To tag a shark you have to catch one first, right? Rod and reel, so simple.  The Citizen Scientists rallied around the scientific team when it was SHARK FISHING time.  Anticipation would ramp up to excitement as we gathered the equipment required for our particular task, maneuver into our stations and wait.  We didn’t wait long only a minute or two.  Every living cell on deck was charged from the moment the shark took the bait to the time she was released swimming away with stealth and speed.
So, how many people do you think it took to tag one shark – for our project?   This many: A Fisherman. A Tail Roper who lassos the tail which is how we got the shark up seven stairs, by the tail.  A Data Recorder. A Timer who calls out minutes to keep the scientist aware of how long the shark has been out of water – not more than 20 minutes is best.  A Water/Life Support person to keep water flowing in the mouth and out the gills to keep it alive.  Three strong men to hold the shark down.  A Scientist doing the tagging.  An Assistant Scientist.  A photographer.  A Measurement taker.  A DNA sampler.  A total of eleven people.
It was a privilege to be so close to the sharks, to touch them, to be an inch away from THOSE TEETH, to see the power of their muscular strength, their mystery.  Did you know that sharks have a distinct smell? I learned this from Frida.  I could smell that smell when they were on deck.  How fortunate to be a part of this Expedition.

Roca Partida is one of my favorite islands even though, on this trip, none of the big fish were seen in mass.  El Nino year, no thermocline at 90 to 120 feet, various reasons.  Some live boards call Roca Partida “The Hare and The Gorilla.”  One rock looks like the head of a rabbit with prominent ears jutting up joined to what looks like the side profile of a Gorilla’s face.  That’s Roca Partida, two rocks.
At El Boiler dive site at San Benedicto we swam with seven Manta’s as they circled us, weaved in and out of the ten divers.  Each of us can tell a story about this one “epic dive.”  The mantas – mostly female, would loop up and over, bank left or right, exposing their white bellies decorated by their unique black markings like our fingerprints.  Just when you thought the Manta swimming straight for you, mouth opened wide, cephalic lobes extended was ready to swallow you up, she would gracefully swim up or bank into an aerobatic turn.
The Mantas swim so close and of course none of us would swim out of the way because we just had to be “one with the manta.”  We would swim with them, under them, don’t touch them, and follow them wherever they swam.  Many times I found myself looking eye to eye with these magnificent and memorizing creatures.  I can swear the Mantas communicated with me.  I could only reply with a smile of recognition and comprehension.  I was not any different than any of the other divers…they felt the same. There is no sense of time, just that moment.

San Benedicto is an interesting volcanic island.  In 1952 – so recent – the volcano erupted and created the second half of the island.  Lava flow covered by the explosion of white ash covering the new part of the island is everywhere. One day we took a panga ride around the south end of the island right before sunset and I wondered what the volcano explosion looked like as it was creating the second half of the island – it is remarkable to see the result of its creation.  At the end of the last dive of the trip we were collecting different size pumice-like rocks that were blown off the island, floating in the water like debris from a ship wreck.

I see the Quino El Guardian as a working live aboard dive boat.   Sleeping quarters are tight, tight, and tight; four bunks to a berth.  Showers and toilets are upstairs on deck which was convenient after dives.
The crew of Quino El Guardian by far stand out as most outstanding and impressive of my live aboard experiences which are many around the world.  The Quino crew are a family. They embrace each diver into their family.  We all know how hard crewing is on a live aboard, 24/7, and we are always impressed by the crew’s ability to be so much fun, do all they can to make our dive experience the best BUT this crew is different – they excel.  I think this quality of excellence speaks to the owners, Dora and Lolo.  Dora and Lolo treat their crew like their family with kindness and respect.  The entire Quino El Guardian Citizen’s Science Expedition experience was uniquely special. I can hardly wait to be back aboard.

Please check out the Scientists' websites below:
Dr. James Ketchum and student Frida Lara:

Dr. Robert Rubin:,  Bob did a 15 minute “Ted Talk” on Mantas

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Roca Partida!!

Roca Partida January 1 2016
Rocio del Mar, guests and crew had the best possible new year!
We celebrated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean surrounded by blue sky and ocean, diving what on the surface looks like a tiny rock but below the water is a huge wonderland, one of the best dive sites in the world: Roca Partida.

This new adventure started on December 27th, when our guests from Switzerland, USA and Germany boarded the boat, full of expectations and dive gear.
Wind was strong by the time we left the harbor in San José del Cabo, but our brave guests handled it as well as experienced sailors and we arrived safely and happily to San Benedicto.

Mantas are spectacular here! It seems as though they knew we were celebrating a new year's trip because they didn't stop swimming and doing acrobatic tricks in front of our camera lenses. Everyone was blissful.

Someone wrote on the white board that it has been the best check-out dive ever!

Of course: in this one single dive we had at least 6 different mantas, tons of green morays, lots of fish and an "adults only show" with reef white tip sharks mating.

As can be expected, Poncho worked his magic in the kitchen and everyone loved him. Pam asked us if she could take him home!
The Swiss group diving with Ronald (DM) decided to change the "Group A" name to "Les Oranges" because all of them were diving with the same orange wetsuits! They looked so perfect underwater!
El Cañon gave us one of the best surprises of the trip: a huge school of hammerheads that weren't very shy came to swim with us! It was amaizing!

Hammer heads at el Cañón. Thanks Tommy for the picture

In Socorro island we celebrated New Year's eve. Poncho and the kitchen team did a supreme job cooking dinner and providing beautiful details such as grapes, chocolate strawberries, margaritas and sparkling wine to toast for the new year.
Dinner al fresco on our sun deck

We also had another reason to celebrate, Pam's birthday!  We honored her special day with delicious chocolate cake and a mexican sombrero. Happy Birthday Pam!
Happy birthday, Pam!

Our Swiss friends who came on-board for their Dive Center's 10th anniversary, celebrated the new year in their own surprising way- by shaving their heads! It was contagious! Soon our dive masters, Gil, Juan (Guarani) and Ronald shaved their heads too! New year, new look!
After this makeover the name of the Swiss group was changed to "les oranges pelés" (peeled oranges).  It was a lot of fun!

Dive master Gilberto preparing for the shave
Dive master Juan David joins the festivities
New year, new look!
During the night we motored to Roca Partida, so with the first light of the new year's day we were able to jump in the water to dive in one of the best places in the world.
Roca Partida didn't disappoint us: we had mantas, sharks, big school of fishes, bait balls, tunas and wahoos hunting. Those were an incredible and unforgettable dives!

We want to thank to our guests and friends for celebrating with us this new year on this unforgettable trip! We hope to see you guys soon diving with us on Rocio del Mar or Quino el Guardian!

Les oranges pelés
(including RDM crew members Gil, Ronald, and Juan David) 
Text: Juan D. Cortés (Dive Master)
Photos: Tommy T. and Juan D. Cortés

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Midriff Islands: September 10-17

With improved visibility and warm temperatures, this week’s trip in the Midriff Islands certainly felt like a luxurious summer vacation!  Our dives at Andrea’s Eagle and San Pedro Martir had visibility of up to 60 feet.  Almost all dives were in warm waters, between 78 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit.  Most passengers were happy diving in swimsuits and lycra; some used their 3mm wetsuits. 
Not only did we have comfortable conditions, but we were able to see abundant wildlife underwater. The orangethroat pikeblenny fish were ecstatic in their quest to find mates—if we watched them for just a few minutes we could see them perform their mating dance. We also saw many blue spotted jaw fish that were engaged in their own mating ritual, darting in and out of their burrows, faces changed to white. 
In Lavadero, Andrea’s Eagle, and Los Cuervos we saw giant jaw fish, one with a mouthful of eggs! In San Pedro Martyr we were joined by playful sea lions that would stay with us for 50 min or more.  One of the highlights of the week was that we found a group of curious pilot whales swimming by that slowed down to meet us. We were able to snorkel with them for about half an hour and all the passengers were able to see them.
Another memorable moment was our time snorkeling with the whale sharks in Bahia de los Angeles- it was incredible! We saw all sizes of whale: from 6 foot long calfs to huge 18-20 foot long adults. These magnificent creatures allowed us to swim with them for hours. On Friday, our last diving day, we dove at Punta San Juan and diver Janette found two stargazer fish in one dive! 
Suffice it to say, we had an incredible trip in the Midriff Islands.  With our Explore Baja trips coming up, it seems as though the Sea of Cortez Season is trying to send us off with a bang!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Trip Report: Revillagigedo April, 2015

What is it with Revillagigedo's mantas?

Manta Rays know by different names depending of the location around the world (gigant mantas, devil mantas, etc)  are sea animals that live in temperate, tropical and sub-tropical waters.
They are pelagic animals and there are two species: Manta Birostris and Manta Alfredi, being Birostris larger than Alfredi.

In the Revillagigedo's archipelago is possible to see Manta Birostris around the islands, being more common to have diving encounters in Socorro and San Benedicto islands, but time to time it is possible also to see them diving around the mythical dive site of "Roca Partida".

Scientific studies on mantas give us an idea that they come near the islands to feed and stop on cleaning stations where the cleaning fishes remove parasites, bacteria from their skin or remove bad tissues from wounds. It is possible too that they get into these areas to mate, but it is unknown if the Mantas calve here

Divers can see mantas in many different areas of the ocean: Caribbean, Hawaii, Maldives, Coco's, Malpelo, Philippines, etc.
Some divers visiting Revillagigedo's islands for their first time come with low expectations about mantas. Most of them have seen mantas before. What could be different from these mantas to those in other parts of the world? 

But then ... the magic begins ....

Roca O'neal in Socorro Island

Afternoon underwater shadows of Roca Partida

Manta Birostris in a cleaning station in Socorro Island

Rocio del Mar liveaboard visits Revillagigedo archipelago from November thru end of May each year. It is a well known dive destination for pelagic life: at least 7 different species of sharks, within whale shark, hammerhead shark, tiger shark, silky shark, galapagos shark, silver tip shark and white tip shark, dolphins, humpback whales, yellow fin tunas, wahoo, different species of jacks and mantas... the giant mantas of Socorro!

Poncho doing his magic too!

Real close encounters with mantas!
This season 2014-2015 has been a consecutive "niño" year which has brought us warmer waters than usual. This factor has contributed to make sharks look for deeper and colder waters, but at the same time there's something on the ocean conditions that have made the mantas bright like the real stars of the islands!

Mantas in the dive menu daily! 
This month of April, Rocio del Mar completed three incredible trips to the islands, having marvelous close encounters with Mantas in almost every single dive in every single site.
Mantas in Revillagigedo's seems to enjoy divers presence and they look for us, they swim with us, they hoover in top of us posing for pictures and video realizing that they are the queens of the islands!

Our divers this month visiting us from USA (different groups from Arizona and other states), Germany, England, Virgin Islands, México and France, have something in common: all of them said that they never expected to have encounters with mantas that close, that frequent, that ... incredible!

A recent diver review from Kansas said: " I could never had expected to have the number and quality of manta encounters-- for me, they were the real stars."

It is true! diving for 50 minutes with the same manta it's unbelievable!
We don't chase the mantas, they come to us, they decide to play with us. They do acrobatic performances like dancing in front of our lenses.

Divers won't let us lie about that strong feeling when we jump to the Boiler's dive site in San Benedicto and for the first 2 or 3 minutes it seems that is empty, quiet ... but then one or two mantas start approaching to us like in slow motion, but it is the gentile way the mantas swim and come to say hello.

They swim around us for some time and suddenly disappear  .... it seems that they go out into the blue to call their friends, because just after couple of minutes those mantas come back to the dive site followed by 4 or 6 more mantas!
Can you believe to dive with 6 to 10 different mantas at the same time for an entire day? That's just a regular day for us in San Benedicto. 

That's the magic of Revillagigedo's mantas and experience any diver should not miss! 

RdM crew always happy!

Not only guests: we are friends and RdM family!

Smiles is the best gratification we can have!

Birthday celebration!
2014-2015 season is near to its end before tropical hurricanes start hitting this area, few weeks ago we still had the chance to see the last few humpback whales breaching near the boat.
We have seen big schools of hammer heads sharks around Roca Partida and swimming between 10 foot long galapagos sharks.
It is always good to see baby silky and silver tip sharks in Punta Tosca at Socorro Island, it means the ecosystem is healthy and it's our concert to help keeping it that way.

Orcas swimming near the boat in the way back to San José

DM art ... :-) The Boiler dive site: best place for mantas

Waking up in Roca Partida


Baby galapagos shark in Socorro

Rocio del Mar company and crew are very happy every time we see familiar faces boarding the vessel again with big smiles, big cameras and big expectations for mantas! But the best part of it is when the goal is accomplish and the dream comes true: perfect pictures or seeing mantas for the first time, Thanks for sharing those important moments with us! We'll be waiting to have you on board again very soon!

By: Juan D Cortés, DM
April, 2015