Sally the giant manta and a whale shark at The Boiler

Location: The Canyon & The Boiler, San Benedicto, Socorro Island, Revillagigedos, Baja California, Mexico

Our trip south to the Revillagigedos Archipelago (Socorro Island) was so calm on this run down it was difficult to tell if we were moving. The only waves of the journey were caused by dolphins riding the bow wake, and by marlins leaping out of the azure blue water as we skimmed by. The tranquility and serenity were almost unnerving and moreover for the crew as we knew it was not forecast to stay this way. Big storms were brewing thousands of miles to the north and south of us, which meant we would be spending our first two days of this charter at San Benedicto Island and diving the Boiler –  manta territory – while it was still flat calm. As usual on the checkout dive, I was last in the water after making sure all of our guests were all sorted out and happy. As I descended, I expected to see a ragged circle of guests being entranced by our mantas. I’d just told everyone how great the giant mantas were here, that I could talk to them (the manta rayss) and that they would come say hello to me. See what happens when you tell people how good a site is ? You kill it ! It’s true, never work with children or animals. Just when I was thinking of all the bad things the guests were going to do to me after the dive I saw Sally, one of our smaller, black mantas flying in low across the sand bottom. Not only had she saved my reputation, she also came straight up to me and hovered just inches above me as I swam along, now on my back looking up at her. See, you skeptical types, the dive crew on the Nautilus are imbued with special powers. After spending 20 minutes or so swimming in and around our divers Sally swam off towards “the boiler” another dive site nearby. After the dive we pulled anchor and headed across to “the boiler”. Sure enough, Sally and a couple of her friends were waiting for us when we made our next dive. I always get a kick from seeing and interacting with the giant mantas, but my biggest kick comes from seeing reaction of the guests after our dives. Some of our divers are almost moved to tears by being so close and by being able to interact with the giant manta here.With the weather holding clear, we made our first dive of the the day at our overnight anchorage “the canyon”. There was no sign of the mantas so I headed off with a small group of divers towards one of the cleaning stations. As I arrived at the right area I signaled the divers to slow down and hover close by the cleaning station. It didn’t take long before a large lone hammerhead shark cruised in to allow the butterfly fish to pick off dead skin and parasites. Sadly that lone shark was the only visitor. We decided to spend the rest of the dive day back at “the boiler”. The weather was beautiful and not a breath of wind so we were able to anchor very close by the site and stage dives from the back deck of the Nautilus Explorer. The divers dropped into the calm water in twos & threes and we all made our way to the large underwater pinnacle that makes up the site. I like to hang around a particular ledge which the mantas use as a cleaning station, and it did not take long before a chevron manta was hanging out with us. She seemed to favour the far side of the side and few us were soon hanging at a depth of about 8 metres as the manta swooped around us. We thought we getting some great action and I was wondering where the rest of the divers were. Maybe they had their own manta. No such luck. They were all hanging with a whale shark ! A WHALE SHARK ! In January, at “the boiler”, if I had not seen the pictures and the video I would not have believed it. Totally fabulous. This was already a great trip.  Divemaster Buzz

Weather: Clear skies and bright sunshine, air temp 83 degrees, flat calm seas

Water: Water temp 74f visibility 85 feet

By Nautilus Staff

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