Mantas, mantas, manta and loads of in-water time working with a film-crew at San Benedicto Island. Divemaster log. May 3, 2010.

We have had our last two days shooting at the Boiler at San Benedicto Island  and it has been a lot of time in the water.  Our normal day is to start to get a few divers in the water at around 09:00 and wait for the mantas getting in to the Boiler to get cleaned by mainly Clarion Angel fish and Cortez chubs.
When the light and the giant mantas arrive and have been getting more and more interessted in the scuba divers we take out the freedivers and put the film team in the water. It is hectic. The camera just takes 1,5 min and then need to get changed. It is a 35 mm film so very high quality. While the film camera is getting loaded we work with two still cameras and one HD camera. The film team holding the cameras under water are 3 and then two models and one of us from the crew of nautilus as a snorkeler and free  diver. On the surface there are two skiffs. One serving the divers and one serving the cameras and two extra camera crew loading the film for the 35 mm film camera. All this might sounds ok, but with 6 ft and current and wind as the 1 of may. It can get quiet of a hassle and hard work. We never come back to the Nautilus Explorer to eat lunch. Our hostesses Ashley and Silvia and Chef Enrique serves us with food packages that we take aboard the skiffs.
We work just with ambient light so we try to squeeze out of it as much as we can. It is also not all the mantas that are so cooperative, so of what I counted about 6 days in the water an average of 8 hrs non stop a day and a lot of swimming!! I got around 20- 25 individuals of them. there where 3 that where extremly curious . One small female chevron manta visited us 5 days of 6 and a big black female Obama visitided us 3 days in a row. An other 5 that approaches us repetedly and the rest stayed circuling us on a bit of a distance.
Other things that you see while sittiing 7-10 hr in the water around the boiler was many big Wahoos, and Yellow fin Tunas. Two mobulas that I cant say wich kind. While diving. 1 Tiger shark, a few galapagos sharks and silky sharks and white tip sharks. A big group of big eyed jack is always somewhere close to the rock. And I think we heared the last humpback songs for this year! They have almost all gone now.
It has been a fun week, the filmteam are happy of the images that they got and it was a brake in the routine for us as crew. Also to spend so much time at one site is interessting. I named a cortes chub with one yellow dot on its head for smudgy, as it was seen every day all the time…
A few of us actually even a bit exhausted went for a last dive before dinner at the canyon and we got a beautiful dive with a few hammerhead sharks getting in close on the cleaning station. Good way to finish the week.

Dive guide Sten
Surface conditions: 1 may windy and very choppy and lot of clouds and current on top of that. 2 may much calmer, sunny temp 26-27 C
Underwater conditions: May 1 current and some big breakers on the boiler. may 2 sunny weak current ok surge both days 25-26 C ca 76 F Viz good ca 100ft
Photos by Sten Johansson

By Nautilus Staff

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