Location: El Canyon and The Boiler at San Benedicto Island, The Aquarium at Socorro Island, Revillagigedos, Mexico
Comments: Since the discovery of an illegal fishing net draped across a reef at southwest Benedicto wall, there has been some heated and emotional discussions onboard the Nautilus Explorer regarding the abhorrent practice of shark finning, shark fin soup and the whole issue of illegal fishing – especially in a protected biosphere reserve such as Socorro/Revillagigedos. These are huge issues and there are no easy answers.
Illegal fishing is clearly wrong and our hats are off to the Mexican authorities for their vigilance in protecting the Reserve. Unfortunately it is still possible for the very occasional illegal fishing boat to sneak in under the cover of darkness and lay a 1000 yard net along the reef. The good news is that between the Nautilus Explorer and the liveaboard boat Solmar V, we are able to keep a watchful presence out to augment the Mexican Navy’s efforts.
The bad news is wondering what will happen at the end of our scuba diving season next May. One thought is to establish some sort of volunteer random aerial patrols of Socorro, San Benedicto and Roca Partida, funded by divers and run under the auspices of the Mexican navy. I would really, really welcome any thoughts, ideas or help in making that kind of project a reality. In the meantime, we are happy to report that despite the animals that we saw trapped in the net, the rest of the shark, manta and fish population is at it’s normal numbers.
OK, on to the good stuff. Diving was good at El Canyon this morning with some divers having a very close encounter with one particular hammerhead shark. Dive 2 at The Boiler was super hot with terrific giant manta behaviour while Dive 3 – also at the Boiler – was quieter but still very pleasant. We wrapped the day up with a very enjoyable night dive at The Aquarium dive site at Socorro Island (LOTS of Socorro lobster with one diver counting over 20 bugs in one hole!!).
Weather: Overcast. Wind from the northwest at 20 knots. 6 foot sea with bigger lumps by late afternoon but calm at El Canyon and the Aquarium. Temperature mid 80’s.
Water: Visibility 100 feet plus, water temperature a surprisingly chilly 75˚F