Scooter diver buzzed by a Giant Manta Ray

Location: Anchored Roca Partida (Socorro Island), Revillagigedos, Mexico

Comments: We are currently on station at Roca Partida (Socorro Island) for the second day in a row and, very sadly, the last dive day of our 2006/2007 Mexico season. While we are all very excited about the imminent startup of our Alaska and British Columbia scuba diving season, it’s hard to believe how fast this past season flew by and that we are not going to see our favourite giant manta rays again until next November. It’s funny how close to home the Revillagigedos feels after voyaging all the way down to Clipperton Island.

The diving has been EXCELLENT!! Lots of mantas, Galapagos and white tip reef sharks, silky and silvertip sharks and schools of 40 or so adult scalloped hammerhead sharks (interestingly, we haven’t seen the schools of 2-year-old hammerhead sharks that we normally find out here in late March and April – hmmmm what’s up with that??).

We’ve been watching one poor old Galapagos shark with a fish hook and leader stuck in his gill plate all season. I’ve become quite certain that Galapagos sharks are resident rather than transient because we see this guy every time we dive Roca Partida. The sad thing is that he has been getting skinnier and skinnier and now looks quite emaciated. The alarming thing is that his behaviour is changing and he is now coming in VERY close to divers. He swam up to me this afternoon and it’s the first time that I had a gut feeling that I had better “watch out” around him. An understandable behaviour I guess if he is sick and starving to death. Damn, I wish there was an easy way to get rid of the illegal longliner fishing boats.

The giant manta behaviour has been as awesome as ever. I backrolled into the water from the inflatable, looked around and there was a friendly manta right beside me in 20 feet of water! This particular manta was just like a giant puppy dog, wagging his tail (so to speak) eagerly waiting to go for a swim!

One of the group leaders brought an underwater scooter along to help with our exploration and mapping of Clipperton Island – it’s quite amusing to watch Roberto steam past underwater like a train with 2 or 3 divers chain-ganged behind him holding on to the fins of the person in front of him/her!! Anyways, the giant mantas at Roca Partida really seemed to like the scooter as well. Roberto reported that he would be buzzing along when a manta would appear in front of him, swim in towards him and zoom past right on top of his head, pull a 180-degree turn and swim around to position itself for another low pass over Roberto’s head. The manta behaviour that we see out here is beyond extraordinary! Safe diving all.

–Captain Mike

 

Weather: Mostly sunny with scattered cumulous clouds, 81°F air temp, 4 – 6ft northwest swell (higher yesterday), 15-knot winds from the northwest.

Water: Water temperature 73°F, visibility 75 feet (which isn’t that great for Roca Partida).