Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Trip Report, Revillagigedo. November, 2014

November, great November, unforgettable November.

When one see everything and I mean everything:  mantas swimming with divers for 50 minutes, friendly dolphins in groups of 6 or 10 approaching so close that was easy to hug them, school of hammerheads sharks, silky sharks, sail fish, school of tunas, school of jacks and other fishes and one or two whale sharks in the very first dive of a trip, what can one expect on consecutive dives?
More marine life to see!

There hasn’t been a single dive without mantas or dolphins or sharks or … big, big whale sharks!

“I saw everything I wanted to see on this trip in a single dive” – is something we have heard more than once recently.

Rocío del Mar is back to San José del Cabo starting a new diving season at Revillagigedo Islands. 

There are not enough words to express the magnificence of the islands this past month.
We happily completed the first 3 trips of the season visiting San Benedicto, Socorro and Roca Partida.

Warm water (26-28 C / 78-82 F) and fantastic weather: sunny, mostly calm winds have allowed us to dive in the best dive sites of the national park.

It has been crazy; it blows your mind when there are so many mantas, dolphins and sharks that you don’t know where to look!!!

At the Boiler in San Benedicto in a single dive we have seen mantas, not one or two, at least five to nine mantas at the same time!!
There have been dolphins, family of dolphins swimming together with divers, approaching to see us, to play with us, to stay vertically still posing for cameras.  Also there have been tunas, big fat tunas hunting, followed by a sail fish. Big wahoos, school of cotton mouth jacks, black jacks, white tip sharks and silky sharks. We have seen hammerheads swimming close to the big school of big eye trevally and in the west point of the rock we’ve seen the big, big school of hammerheads diving in circles around divers.
A Tiger shark has been around swimming deep but close to the rock ...and this is not all: 

WHALE SHARKS! 30 to 40 feet (10 to 12 mts) whale sharks! Probably pregnant females.

Socorro Island has been very good too! At Cabo Pearce and Punta Tosca we have seen dolphins and mantas in all dives, but wait, they stay with us almost the entire dive time!

Finally at Roca Partida we had clear blue waters! Several encounters with whale sharks, probably bigger than the ones we saw at the Boiler in San Benedicto.
This huge whale shark that was slowly swimming in about 90 feet depth was leaded by a family of dolphins that were enjoying swimming in front of the whale shark.
Also tunas, hammerheads sharks, plenty of white tip sharks and mantas. Not very common to see mantas at Roca Partida and we have seen at least two mantas at the same time there.Simple word: FANTASTIC!

Not only whale sharks, mantas and dolphins have been exceptional, Poncho, our loved chef has sent everybody back home with some extra pounds! As always our passengers have loved Poncho’s food. Thanks Poncho for your work and as Matthias (Germany) said, - “Poncho cooks with love” – we believe so!

There’s nothing better for us than seeing passengers coming back to dive with us.
We mean it, once you come to Rocío del Mar, you start being part of our family. We have for the second time on board to our friends from Oklahoma (Chris and his gang having a full boat), Gray, Rick and our two loved Colombian sisters.
We also welcome to our family a fantastic group of divers and good friends from North Carolina in the very first trip of the season and passengers from Germany, Alaska, Canada and Mexico City.

We love to see how during 9 days nationalities, languages, culture blend together sharing the same passion for diving and love for our oceans. Dive trips not only give us fantastic dives, it also gives us new friends and that’s something we all share.

December just arrived and Rocío del Mar and her crew is sailing back to San Benedicto, new adventures to come, more marine life and soon… soon the humpback whales will start to sing in the Revillagigedo’s waters

Thanks for sharing your passion for diving your friendship your experiences, laughs, dreams and time with us. 

We, all the crew of Rocío del Mar, are very happy to have you onboard and hope to see all of you again very soon!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Explore Baja

Explore Baja is a unique 13 day trip covering the entire Baja Peninsula.  Many passengers choose to share this experience with close family or dear friends.  This year Mike and his daughter Jennifer joined us and wrote this wonderful note to Rocio Del Mar owner Dora Sandoval.  

My daughter Jennifer and I were guests on the Oct 25th (Mark Emery) trip.

We enjoyed this trip deeply. I’ve been diving since I was 14 and everything about this experience was top flight. This includes the boat, the location and for sure the crew.

The opportunity to share this experience with Jennifer made it all the better.

Thank you Mike and Jennifer for sharing your story with us.  Photos are taken by Mike and Jennifer.  

Our Passengers began their journey in Puerto Penasco at the tip top of the Baja Peninsula.  Diving with large Sea Lion colonies and schools of mobula rays.  They spent the a glorious day snorkeling with whale sharks at Bahia de los Angeles and there were plenty to choose from.  Dolphins and pilot whales were abundant  throughout the trip and the passengers were up close and personal with them.  The group saw swarms of big eyed jacks as they entered the southern portion of the Baja and schools of fish so thick they could part them with their hands while they proceeded through.  They were surprised with hammerhead sightings at El Bajo and Bull Sharks in Cabo Pulmo.  The trip came to an end in San Jose del Cabo with 20 new explorers on board.  Needless to say this trip has such a variety of experiences that every day of this 13 day expedition is a new adventure!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sea of Cortez August 23 - 30th

August 23 – 30th, 2014 Sea of Cortez.

This charter was full of photographers!  We had the privilege of having a very well published and incredible photographer on board to run the show.  Todd Winner has been diving and photographing marine life since 1990.  As a professional underwater photographer and cinematographer, his work has appeared in commercials, museums and private collections.   Todd is a regular contributor to Sport Diver and Scuba Diving magazines and has won over 60 international underwater photography competitions.  Most importantly he is a repeat and regular diver with Rocio Del Mar.

In addition to having our photo workshop we welcomed many repeat passengers back on board and a group of new friends as well. 

Once on board dive stations were set up and the camera table was overloaded. We were ready to set   sail.  Waking to a comprehensive dive briefing and then off to our first dive site La Muela.  Divers quickly worked out any kinks with the help of our dive masters and then we were destined for a spectacular trip.  

On day two we had great water and great viz and a great dive site.  We began the morning at Andrea’s Eagle.  One of my all time favorites!  We hit a little current and were zipped down with the beautiful wall on our right filled with gorgonians, jeweled eels, nudibranchs, Cortez and Queen Angels and fields of black corral and giant sea bass on our right.  Once we made the corner we were protected from the current and spent the remainder of the dive with free swimming octopus and sea horses a plenty!  We loved the site so much we spent most of the day there.  On the other side of the pinnacle is sand.  We had so much fun with the giant jawfish and their big bulging eyes and impeccably kept houses of sea shells.  We watched the blue spotted jawfish darting in and out of their holes and the orange throat blennies with their amazing mating dance. 

After 3 dives we went back to La Muela for a night dive.  I have dove this site so many times but never at night.  I was in for a treat.  The water was warm and the current, nonexistent.  I had a goal – to see the basket stars open at night.  I first found a nudibranch and then a zebra worm and a crazy crab covered in leaves eating all of the little bits of nutrients in the water.  Then I came upon the Basket Star!  It was open but as soon as I would shine my light on it, it would begin to close.  Fortunately, one of my wonderful photographer friends had a red light on his camera and was able to light it up without disturbing it.  It was very cool to watch the twisty arms moving in the darkness. 

We ran into some weather on this trip and spent another day at Angel de la Guarda.  We were diving Lolo’s Cove and there was a pod of dolphins, small, maybe 6 -10 just cruising around the boat.  They stayed there for hours.  We were off to our next dive and we could see darkness in the sky.  We fell into the water and I, with some new found camera skills, was having an excellent time.  All of a sudden the engines were revving.  It was our emergency recall.  Our dive master Bob DeFeo quickly rounded us up and began our accent.  The water was a little rough and we needed to move Rocio to a safer place to anchor quickly.  We boarded the panga and what did we see?  … The dolphins!  They followed us back to the boat and stayed until we boarded, then did the same with our other panga.  Once we were moved to a safe place to anchor they were gone.

We then headed to San Pedro Martir.  I couldn't believe it!  The dives were spectacular.  We saw so many turtles and Mobula Rays.  The Mobula were jumping out of the water and we saw schools of them swimming over us at least six times in one dive.  We had 90 foot of viz at Moro 1 and 2 and a wonderfully fun current dive at Ravijunco.  We had a fabulous dive at Moro1 beginning with turtles and mobula rays, then a little fun in some current with the sea lions.  We then headed around the back side and found a bait ball up above us.  We sat and watched the sea lions in the bait ball it was mesmerizing.  Then the sea lions came down to play with us.  We ended the dive with another sea turtle.  We all surfaced having experienced something very special together.  It was one of those “WOW’ moments that bonds divers together. 

The last day is always very special on Rocio.  It is Whale Shark Day.  It didn’t take long and we had found them.  Our panga diver dropped four of our snorkelers into the water at a time and we had the most stagnate whale shark I’ve ever seen.  Our snorkelers were swimming circles around it.  Bob and I found this unacceptable.  After a good 30 – 40 minutes we designated this whale shark a good candidate for the silver boat and took off to find us a big one – one that makes you work for it.  That we did.  We were dropping passengers off with their own whale sharks and they were swimming off all Poncho’s good cooking.  We had snorkelers strung all over the Bay of LA.  After everyone had their fill and were tired and bloated from swallowing sea water.  I took my turn.  I had a big one and he was moving fast.  After a few minutes though he slowed down and I saw that we had lost the rest of the snorkelers.  We swam comfortably together for some time.  It was so peaceful and we were getting more and more shallow.  I could see our shadows together on the white sand below us with only the sound of my breathing and a feeling of bliss surrounding us. 

On board we had fantastic meals, thank you Poncho for the extra four pounds.  Celebrated a silver birthday - as we liked to call it.  Happy Birthday again Nick.  Had gourmet coffee provided by Patty from a French press.  Had photo workshops every day after lunch – courtesy of Todd Winner.  Laid on the deck and watched shooting stars every night.  We all enjoyed our roof top Carne Asada dinner and had some laughs after dinner watching the week’s photo slideshow. 

It was finally time to come home – but not before seeing a pod of dolphins and pilot whales which swam with us for at least an hour.  Not a bad bon voyage!   

Monday, August 11, 2014

July 26, 2014 Sea of Cortez Charter

This was our fourth trip of the Sea of Cortez Season 2014.  This was the first trip of the Sea of Cortez for me.  With the administrative role, provisioning the trips, the construction of Quino el Guardian (our new vessel) and of course spending time with Joaquin I am unable to go on as many trips as I'd like.

We departed Saturday evening in time to watch the sunset.  Waking up at Refujio, off of Angel Island was majestic.  I am reminded of what compelled me to build this dream of bringing divers and sharing this incredibly beautiful place where the desert meets the sea.

After a wonderful day of diving we pile up on the inflatables with a couple bottles of wine to set out see the sea lions.  We've played with them plenty underwater but riding around Granito Island watching the sunset seeing the baby sea lions with their mamas as the bulls swim around us barking at us was so much fun.

The water seasonably warmer.  Biologist say it's due to "el nino". 

Our guests were mostly from the U.S.  We did however have one couple from Romania and another from France.  The girls outnumbered the boys on this trip so we made sure we took advantage of this and gave them a hard time.  In spite of the fact that this was a group of singles and couples from all over I had the privilege of knowing lots of our guests from previous trips we got along as though we were life time friends.
The week sped by in a flurry.  A few of the highlights were jumping mobulas everywhere.  We also would see the mobulas swim by on our dives.  It looked like small airplanes flying by. Lots of crazy playful sea lions.  Sperm whales alongside the boat.  We brought down the inflatables, attempting to swim with them, but every time we go close they would only give us tail.  Pat and Jim found the sail fin blennies they had been looking for all week.  We had the coolest night dive ever at el Lavadero.  We wrapped up the week swimming with the whale sharks. 

I will remember this week forever.  I have made new lifelong friends and was able to spend time with my beloved old friends.  I had the privilege of spending the week with Dick Long who is a legend in the dive community.  I would like to close this report with some of his words.  Dick has put words to how I have always felt.  Thank you Dick, Bonita, Susan, Kelly, Pat, Jim, Sorin, Melonia, Francoise, Jonathan, Rich, Charlie, Andrew, Dave, Elaine, Linda, Mary and Carol for the best week ever.


Words of Dick Long:

Our diving industry is very good at attracting people into scuba classes. We graduate these students to become “people who dive”. They really never learn what diving is all about. It is our opportunity to convert these “people who dive” into “divers”.
Why is that so important? Let me explain to you my personal priorities. It is all about the ocean. The ocean controls everything on the earth and we all know the ocean is dying. “Diving” is an art form. It is the most intimate activity between mankind and the ocean. Divers are the humans that do all of the diving. We are in it, and it is in us and we become part of the ocean. The diving industry is merely the support system for all of the divers, nothing more.
Why is all of this so important? It is because divers love the ocean and they will protect what they love. Therefore our opportunity is to convert divers into “Evangelists for the Ocean”. It is well proven that true evangelists can overcome incredible odds and have changed the world. Let us create more “Ocean Evangelists!”

Friday, May 30, 2014

Trip Report, Revillagigedo. April 30, May 10, 17 and May 20, 2014

Roca Partida is left behind - waiting for next season
One more adventure
Revillagigedo’s 2013-2014 season is over.

So many experiences and unforgettable moments during these fantastic 7 months, more than 400 immersions in the blue and the full of life waters of Socorro, San Benedicto and Roca Partida.  No doubt that Revillagigedo is one of the world´s top dive destinations.

Rocio del Mar and her crew are navigating north through the Sea of Cortez, heading to Puerto Peñasco.  The vessel will be at the dock for her annual service and maintenance and be ready for her new adventure: Sea of Cortez -Northern Midriff Islands season.

Divers approaching Roca Partida in calm seas

Diving is not for everybody, even less will cross half the world on international flights, get into a boat and navigate to distant islands in the Pacific Ocean where only the truly adventurous souls are willing to go.

Dora and Lolo once had a dream.  To have a diving boat and explore remote places. Living an exciting life visiting those unique dive sites where only few people have been there before and where only few ones are willing to go.  The dream of true adventure. 

It has been like that: that is Rocio’s del Mar magic, were dreams come together. 

Owners, crew and guests all sharing dreams aboard Rocio del Mar, living true adventures in the Pacific Ocean, watching unique sunrises and sunsets, experiencing the solitude of the open ocean and diving with the most amazing animals.

It doesn’t matter age, gender, nationality or previous experience. We all are here to dive, to explore the submerged blue world of Revillagigedo, facing some times wind and strong currents but always with a smile and that spark in the eyes before jumping into the water. Looking to have close encounters with unique marine life: giant mantas, sharks, big schools of fishes, tunas, dolphins and of course humpback whales.

Roberto DM, during general briefing

Sun deck ready for steak dinner in Socorro

Food is always good ... thank you Poncho and Joshua
Our last three trips to Revillagigedo have been like that: pure magic, making dreams come true.  Fantastic guests from the United Sates, UK, México, Canada, France, Germany, Austria and Israel traveling lots of hours to be here with us.

Matt and Joane's wedding anniversary

Matt and Bryan's honey moon

Debbie's engagement during the trip
Rocio del Mar was the love boat: we celebrated with our guests Matt and Brian’s honey moon, Debbie and Matthiew’s engagement and Matthew and Joanne’s wedding anniversary.
Diving was fantastic: almost all dives with at least one manta playing with divers, but most of the times we had three, four, even six mantas with us. It was incredible how since the checkout dive mantas were around us and even during the safety stop they came along with us asking to please stay longer playing with them.

Emma's birthday cake

Piñata celebrating birthdays

Thanks Steve for this photo with Guarani DM
We had many encounters with curious and friendly dolphins talking to divers and literally dancing underwater in a big party of camera flashes, smiles and bubbles.

Roca Partida has been exceptional. The usual: huge schools of black jacks, big eye trevallies and cotton mouth jacks.  

Recently we have seen more activity and presence of the stars of the rock: Silvertip sharks schooling, Galapagos sharks racing with yellow fin tunas to catch their dinner, silkie sharks during the safety stops and always  around divers were schools of hammerheads making divers hearts jump with each close encounter. 

Great moments with Dolphins in Socorro (Steve)
It has been an exceptional season.
Our last dive of the season at Cabo Pearce in Socorro island a big whale shark came to say good bye to us waving his tale before he disappeared in the blue.

Hurricane Amanda made us leave Revillagigedo sooner than expected and we finished our last trip diving in Cerralvo island, Espiritu Santo island with sea lions colonies and our last day diving in Cabo Pulmo Marine Park with bull sharks, mobulas and a last sight of a humpback whale on the surface.

Julio and Ever always having fun

Christinne and Klaus during suface interval

Anne Marie from UK

We want to thank Mother Nature for gifting us with so many positive experiences and the opportunity of seeing true wild life. It gives hope. We all are part of it. We all are committed to protecting our oceans. 

But especially we want to thank all of our guests. With out you it wouldn’t be possible to make all of these dreams come true.
We have been very happy to share those dreams with all of you and thank you for sharing with us those special life moments: Honeymoons, marriage anniversaries, engagements and birthdays. Thank you for letting us be part of your life and dreams.

We will always be happy to see you again diving with us, you will always be part of our family and Rocio Del Mar magic.

… see you in our next adventure on the Sea of Cortez …to keep making dreams come true