Mantas at Socorro by Noel Hendrickson

A giant manta glided past, loaded with hitchhikers

We were severely warned that we must blog on a daily basis, otherwise, the crew and guests would suffer. I take on this great burden because I understand the consequences; keelhauling, lashes with the cat o’ nine tails, bread and water in the brig. Still no pirates on the horizon, however, you can just see the outline of the island of San Benedicto on our first stop. Birds were circling the boat, identified as either boobies (stop right there) or brown encrusted twerp awks. Honestly, birds aren’t my thing. They look hungry. Think I’ll go back to my room.

I found a dusty old tome hidden amongst the books on the library shelf. It refers to the native inhabitants of these mysterious volcanic islands, describing their appearance, customs, and mating habits. I’ll write more in the next blog.

SOOOOO! We’ve been banned from Socorro island by the NAVY (nudge nudge, wink wink)! You could see strange lights and hear weird sounds coming from that direction. Some kind of secret government experiments. I suspect the crew is in fear of alien invasion, or perhaps the captain keeps a harem there.

Otherwise, on our first dive, we got our asses handed to us by the current. At one point I was hanging on a rock, my fins vibrating behind me in the current, and a giant manta floated by, loaded with hitchhikers, swimming effortlessly against the current. If I hadn’t been breathing at 40 breaths a minute, I would have been excited, I’m sure. As it was, I thought he was an insufferable showoff. The second dive was better, water temperature was bracing, the current still strong. The elusive frogfish showed his face and looked as though he had lost a fight with a boat propeller. Octopi were spotted, and fish of all sorts abounded. Back on the boat, the food was superb, the staff brisk and efficient. I’d like to comment on the third dive, but I was too busy snoring away in my bunk.

The third dive was best of the day. No mantas‚ or sharks, but loads of big fish and dramatic underwater scenery. A few octopi, lots of huge morays, some totally in the open. Above water the scenery is also quite dramatic. We are diving at the base of giant shield volcano, hundreds of miles from Baja. The trip out is a bit of chore, particularly if you are inclined to seasickness, but all indications are that the gain will be worth the pain.

–Tom A | Dublin, California

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