Friday, May 31, 2013

Trip Report, Rocío del Mar. Revillagigedo. May 23 to 31, 2013

On the last dive of the last day of the trip, we dove the Boiler, at San Benedicto Island. More than 80 feet of visibility and very low current. Divers around the pinnacle swam slow, detailing the marine life in the rock. A big school of big eye jacks created a shadow in the bottom of the rock.
Suddenly a new shadow appeared in the magnificent blue, it approached us slowly, it seemed to dance or fly under water. A giant manta (Manta Birostris) swam directly to the dive site. Friendly, gentle, with slow movements around the divers posing for pictures and video. First, only 6 divers were seeing the manta around them. Then, little by little more divers came closer and after 30 minutes all Rocio del Mar divers were contemplating this fabulous animal. Not trained, not in a zoo, not in a marine park. Not any of that. It is a free, wild animal willing to swim and share some time with divers.

That was the end of our trip to Revillagigedo, our last trip of this incredible season.

Poncho, our chef during the crossing to Revillagigedo

Rocio del Mar just got back to port in San José del Cabo and both passengers and crew returned really happy. It was an amazing trip.
We had on board friends that have come for two or more times (even five times) to dive in Revillagigedo. This says a lot of the importance of this dive destination. There is always a surprise. Some times the surprise is mantas, other times very close encounters with sharks. Some trips there are huge schools of hammerheads, other times just a few of them but passing only a few feet away from divers. Some trips we can dive with humpback whales, dolphins, huge tunas, you name it. But there's always something amazing to see and never forget in Revillagigedo.

These are only a few reasons of why people come again and again to dive here. But not only diving is important, conservation of this reserve is fundamental. The presence of divers and tourists is a big pressure to the federal government to apply more strict laws in the area and the testimony in photos and video of all visitors tells the world that we must protect this archipelago from illegal fishing.

Greg and his toys at Roca Partida
Divers arrived during the afternoon of May 23rd and that night we set sail to San Benedicto after dinner. This time we had three groups:

Team A: Greg (visiting the archipelago for 5th time) with his friends Joe, John, Dan, James, Eldon and Dulce and Drew.

Team B: John A, Rosanne, Pascal, Sharon, Tosh and Thomas. 

Team C: Alfredo, Erendira, Henry, Rod and the huge cameras! :-)

Alfredo is an underwater videographer and Erendira is a cinematographer and both have worked before in marine documentaries. They were here one more time in Revillagigedo to capture the magnificence of the marine life around the archipelago.

Our first stop was in San Benedicto and we dove the "Fondeadero" and the "Boiler". After the first dive the first divers team  found a group of false killer whales and snorkeled with them! Other divers saw dolphins It was awesome!! And this was just the first dive of the trip.
At the Boiler one manta came to say hello to everybody for some time swimming around divers. 

Rossane at Roca Partida
Since the weather was good we headed to Roca Partida. And Roca, amazing as always didn't disappoint us. Honestly some of the better dives of the season happened during this trip at Roca Partida. Numerous and huge galapagos sharks were swimming very close to divers, schools of hammer heads, silky sharks, white tips, no manta this time, but great conditions to see sharks: current and good visibility. A group of divers even had the chance of seeing the white tips trying to mate. Mother nature was very generous with us this time.

Pollo loco ready to dive!
After two days at Roca Partida we went to Socorro island. The biggest island of the archipelago. On board the group's mood was excellent. Very enthusiastic and the pollo loco started to appear in action.
This present the "chicken divers" left for us on board a few trips ago, it is now the trophy for those divers that without paying attention get to the dive site without mask, weights, or with the air off!!! There's someone that is ready to jump off the panga without fins and the "pollo loco" always want to dive!
We had a great time with the "pollo loco" diving with Henry, John F, Greg, Drew, Joe and once with Pedro! 
The contest of the "pollo loco" got very competitive this trip!

In Socorro we dove "Punta Tosca", "Roca O'Neal", "Cabo Pearce" and the "Aquarium". Visibility in general was not good and water temperature was around 70. Some times even high 60's.  And even though we didn't see mantas during our dives we had dolphins and some sharks visit from time to time. Then we decided to go and snorkel with the mantas. They have been swimming and feeding near the Aquarium dive site and ... it was a great experience.
This group of mantas were at the beginning shy and were swimming fast away from divers. But after some time they realized that we were not there to harm them, only to swim and take pictures of them and they started their show!! Swimming very close to divers and spinning while eating. It was in simple words AMAZING!!. Our divers got great pictures and video of this more than three hour experience. Really worth it.
Rey during a dive briefing
Diver during surface interval warming up

The last day of the trip we went back to San Benedicto and dove the Canyon and the Boiler. Visibility was much better and divers were able to see hammerheads and dolphins. The last two dives were at the Boiler.  This was a great dive with more than 30 minutes with a manta but that was not all ... there was more ... swimming into the blue two hammerheads came to say good bye to the divers, to the group, the trip and the season.
See you soon San Benedicto!
The last image of this trip is of two hammerheads swimming slowly in the deep blue with  the sun behind them. Fortunately sea drops are clear and salty as tears and no one noticed how moved and thrilled we were to say good bye to Revillagigedo.

The final count of the "Pollo Loco" contest give us a tie between John F and Henry!!! Congratulations to them and all the "pollo loco" divers!

Thank you to all our friends, divers and passengers for this great trip. We really hope to see all of you diving soon aboard Rocio del Mar in Revillagigedo or Sea of Cortez.

Rocio del Mar will be waiting for you ....


Passengers Comments

This was my 4th trip on the Rocio Del Mar and it has been fantastic every time.  This time, I brought 7 of my friends to experinece the Soorro Islands and Socorro did not disappoint.  6 fantastic days of diving with sharks, manta rays and dolphins made this a trip that no one will ever forget.  The highlight was the very last dive when we got to spend 30 minutes with a manta that wanted to make sure we departed with good memories and a desire to return.Greg Sherman
Tucson, AZ, USA

My first rip to Socorro Island and the Revillagegedo archipelago was full of encounters with the big stuff.  Amazing diving and snorkeling with Mantas which seem to enjoy the company of people.  Close encounters with ach one no many sharks, from little White Tips to stocky Galapagos and schooling  Hammerheads.  Dolphin and  big Tuna would cruis by as well.  The reefs here were surprisingly varied and full of little stuff, abundant  nudibranchs, eels and octopus.  Water temps were running in the low 70s and the visibility ranged from 40 to 80 feet with strong current and surge at times.  Great boat and crew made for an excellent experience all around. 
Thomas Jackman
Taos, New Mexico

My 2nd trip to Socoorro Island. This time on the RDM.
The crew works hard to fulfill a great day of diving & eating. Each one knowing  there roll to help make your time enjoyable stress 
Henry Cook
San Diego, CA

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Trip Report, Rocío del Mar. Revillagigedo. May 12 to 20, 2013

Rocio del Mar ready to leave port at San Jose del Cabo
We are very happy to be on land again and share with all our blog visitors our great experiences during the last trip to Revillagigedo archipelago.

We had an outstanding trip to San Benedicto, Socorro and Roca Partida.

This time we had Lavonne and Trux on board for their second time visiting Revillagigedo with a fantastic group of divers.

We divided the group in three teams and the fun started from that single moment using funny names for teams A,B,C.

Lavonne and Trux visiting us for second time
Team Albondigas: Pam and Tony, Barb and Chris, Susan and Neil, Chuck and Kelly.

Team Bananas: Ruben , Larry, Dan and Janet,  Chuck and Janet.

And finally but not last, team Caliente: Lavonne and Trux, Craig, Susan, Lisseta and Dave.

Divers heading to Cabo Pearce, Socorro

Our crossing was great. Excellent weather conditions and a great time aboard Rocio del Mar getting ready with dive gear, dry suits, stills and video cameras. As always Poncho, our chef, surprised us with delicious meals.

Our fist stop was in San Benedicto. We dove fondeadero, punta norte and las cuevas. Due to great weather conditions we planned to go directly to Roca Partida, but one of our passengers got stomach sick and we decided for safety and precaution to go straight to Socorro in case we needed medical attention at the Mexican Navy base.

We stayed two days at Socorro island looking for mantas. It seems they are not visiting the usual diving sites and we had to look for them around the island. Finally found more than 10 giant mantas in the area next to the "Aquarium" dive site and had a great time snorkeling with them. 

Socorro sunset
We dove in Punta Tosca, Cabo Pearce, Rock O'Neal and the Aquarium completing great 7 dives in the island with silver tips, white tips, dolphins and some hammer heads.

Socorro gifted us with a magnificent sunset during the mexican dinner on the top deck. The group dressed up for the sarong night and had a lot of fun.

The next two days we were at Roca Partida. Neil said after the first diving day: "this site is incredible. Probably no other site in the world is like Roca Partida, a tiny rock in the middle of no where, full of sharks and incredible sea life."  And we all agreed.
Big silky sharks around the boat at night in Socorro

We had very good dives with constant encounters of big galapagos sharks, hammer head schools, silky sharks, white tip sharks and ... mantas. At least three different mantas in different dives were very friendly with divers.  The second day at Roca Partida huge tunas were around the place stressing the little fishes.

Dave and Lisetta and the blue ....

Kelly and Chuck at Roca Partida
Neal and giant manta

Big galapagos sharks

We started to have strong wind in the afternoon and prepared to go back to San Benedicto for our final diving day.
Weather didn't allow us to move from the Canyon dive site, but we had four great dives there: dolphins, close hammer head encounters, schools of jacks, giant lobsters and more.

Sadly because the trip was ending we said good bye to Revillagigedo and started our slow way back to San José del Cabo with strong wind from the NW.
Divers waiting for hammer heads.

We all have life time memories after this trip. Some of us made new friends and some others made stronger friendship bonds.

We thank you all for sharing this trip and 23 great dives with us in Revillagigedo. We are already looking forward to seeing you all again soon in the Sea of Cortez.

Finally we have an important announcement to make. Larry found his lost twin brother in Revillagigedo!! Gerardo our captain!!



Passengers Comments

The crew was great! The boat was laid out just right for divers.
Food was excellent.  I would recommend this trip to other divers. 
I suggest a bar in the shower stall to hold on to when the boat rocks. 
Ruben Duran

The boat, the crew and the food was fantastic. I have never seen a crew as helpfull and friendly as the crew on this boat. I had a great time both in and out of the water. Thank you all.
Larry J Trenda.

To all the crew of rocio del mar,
Thank you for a wonderful week. We appreciate all your hard work, level of care
and attention to our safety.
Thank you for making us feel welcome and taking such good care of us during
our stay.
We take with us a week of fond memories, fantastic diving experiences and the
hope that someday we can return to Rocio del Mar and do it all again!!
All the very best,
Lisetta and David Potter.

Crew was excellent they made us feel like part of the family. Dive destinations
were spectacular.  Please continue to focus attention on improving the comfort of the staterooms.
Food was excellent. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Trip Report, Rocío del Mar. Revillagigedo. April 30 to May 9, 2013

It's May and there are still some friendly whales in Revillagigedo archipelago!!! 

We just returned from a 9 day trip to Socorro, San Benedicto and Roca Partida with a fantastic group of photographers: Michael H, Drew, Kat, Lukas, Olga, Vadim, Pietro, Joseph, Stacey, Jeff, Kim, Randy, Kimberly, Carmel, Jonathan, Daniel, Michael S, George, Felipe and Todd, from all over the world, USA, Canada, Israel, UK, Russia and Check Republic. All of us sharing the same passion -  Scuba Diving! We explored new remote sites and enjoyed Mother Nature's magnificence.

Weather was gentle during the entire trip and our passengers had a great time.

Few times have we seen the Rocio del Mar camera table so crowded. Enthusiastic photographers with all kind of cameras  lenses, domes and housings were anxious to cover the distance between San José del Cabo and our first stop: San Benedicto island.

Passengers enjoying the crossing to Revillagigedo
We weren't very lucky in the first couple of dives to catch good stills; hammerheads were shy and even though we were able to see them they were swimming far from the cameras lenses and lights.

Our second stop was in Roca Partida and the shark party started! We were able to see cameras lights flashing constantly and the big Galapagos sharks (Carcharhinus galapagensis) seemed to be happy posing in front of the cameras. 
Some divers had close encounters with big schools of Silkies (Carcharhinus falciformis) and Hammerheads (Sphyma Lewini). 
A great surprise came in the first dive of our second day in Roca Partida: a big black manta showed up and was happy around our divers.

Captain Gerardo watching carefully the diving operation

Randy found a very rare specimen that our dive master Pedro left in a little cave in Roca Partida and he took it out as a diving trophy!

Dive chicken!!
It's always great to dive in Roca Partida
Roca Partida offered us a once in a life time experience, one that we don't want to repeat, as mother nature showed her power. Have you ever experienced an underwater vortex?  We found one horizontal vortex at about 75 feet that tested our underwater skills.

Our captain Gerardo, headed  to Socorro island and we had one more great surprise.  Whales were breaching in front of us. We dove in different sites looking for more mantas, that seemed to be hidden, however more big animals were there waiting for us.  Four humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) passing by at various times and a medium sized tiger shark! (Galeocerdo cuvier)  The first one our Dive Master Guarani has ever seen and more hammerhead schools!! 

Divers taking pictures of whales and mantas

Nopales (Cactus salad) at Socorro mexican dinner
 During this trip we celebrated Vadim's and Michael's birthdays! We really appreciate that you guys came to celebrate and dive with us.

Big dinner for a BIG birthday guy

Michael's birthday cake

Todd fabricating an underwater device to catch
 silky shark images at night from the boat.    
Can't wait to see how those turned out!
We had one last diving day in San Benedicto in the Boiler and navigated safely to shore in San José del Cabo.
Michael ready to throw the panga cord

The Rocio Del Mar challenge is still open!  The first one able to put the panga cord in the boat ring will receive a prize! Michael was very close but he probably missed it because was the only one with Nikon on the trip!  

We had a great time during the trip, great food, lot's of fun, fantastic pictures and videos, but the best of all great life memories! Thank you all!