Location: England, The Canyon, San Benedicto Island, Islas Revillagigedos, Mexico.
Comments: The giant manta rays were too playful and interactive at the Canyon today. Seriously. Our last dive day turned out to be fabulous, and one of the best days of the trip. The big animal diving at Socorro Island and San Benedicto Island can be wildly variable and while the Canyon was very quiet at the start of this trip, it was smoking hot today. A large school of hammerhead sharks (we estimate at least 100 animals) swam past the cleaning station with 20 or so of the sharks very close to our divers. Some of our divers were only half joking when they surfaced and complained that the overfriendly mantas wouldn’t get out of the way and allow the divers to get unobstructed photos of the hammerhead sharks! Good old Lumpy, our bizarrely friendly leather bass with the deformed jaw, was on hand to say goodbye to everyone. I still can’t get over the way he fearlessly swims up to divers, looks everyone in the eye from VERY closeup and allows himself to be petted.
We were also suitably grateful to our U.K. contingent for exploring and developing a new addition to this dive site – the aptly named “England.” Twas my fault for suggesting that they wouldn’t see anything interesting around the sand plain to the north of the dive site. I was proved wrong when our valiant and intrepid explorers emulated their countryman Sir Francis Drake (rumoured to have secretly been in the Revillagigedo Islands in 1578 on his way to British Columbia and Alaska), swam offsite and had some terrific manta behaviour as well as Galapagos and tiger shark sightings. I’m told that the highlight of one of their dives was what may be the first ever diver observation of a giant manta ray evacuating its bowels.
The only sad part to the day was the report from a passing yacht of a longline 40 miles long that they stumbled across just north of the Biosphere Reserve around San Benedicto Island. Sighhhhh… It would be awesome if the aerial patrol idea comes to fruition.
Weather: Sunny, scattered cumulous clouds, wind 5 knots from the north, very low swell, temperature 76°F.
Water: Water temp 73°F, visibility 50 – 70 feet.