Last week was my first trip back for the 2012/2013 Socorro Islands season after a great 3 months of white shark diving at Isla Guadalupe. It’s one thing I love about working on the Nautilus Explorer, the variety of destinations we dive always keeps things interesting. Another thing I like about this boat is the variety of guests we get. There is always an interesting group onboard with lots of knowledge to share. Last week we had a full boat of 20 rebreather divers, as well as 5 open circuit divers. We’ve had rebreather divers onboard before but this was the first time, for me at least, with a full boat load. This presented us with some new challenges but I have to say the divemasters did a tremendous job and worked their butts off to keep everyone happy. This was definitely reflected in the feedback I got at the end of the trip, which included a couple comments from experienced liveaboard divers to the effect that this was the best liveaboard trip they had ever been on. Of course, the diving itself is always the key on a dive trip, and the diving here at the islands so far this season has been amazing! The rebreather divers last week took full advantage of their silent diving and enjoyed schooling hammerheads up close at both San Benedicto on day 1 and Roca Partida later in the trip. We had multiple giant mantas playing with us almost all day at Pta Tosca at Socorro, and had four giant mantas around Roca Partida on both days there. It’s been a couple years since we’ve had mantas at Roca Partida in any numbers so this is an encouraging start to this season! A few lucky divers also enjoyed an adult whale shark cruising by at Roca Partida.
This week we are nearing the end of our 6 dive days and the diving continues to impress. After a slow start at San Benedicto everyday thereafter has been great. 4-5 playful giant pacific mantas at Pta Tosca at Socorro. Then we headed to Roca Partida, where we enjoyed 2 days of diving that featured 2 different whalesharks, a pod of dolphins that spent almost an entire day with us up close and personal, galapagos, silver tip and white tip sharks, plus schooling yellow-fin tuna. I myself saw a few swim by that looked like they could have eaten me, they were huge! Today we are back at Socorro, on the east side at Cabo Pearce. Conditions are beautiful with 90 ft of visibility, mild current and calm seas. And today, for the third day in a row, another whale shark on both morning dives. For those who had had enough of the whalesharks (which by the way was nobody) we also had around 4 or 5 mantas around interacting with the divers for the entire dive on the first two dives, a few hammerheads, plus more bottlenose dolphins!
Of course after a great day of big animal diving nothing is more relaxing than having an ice cold beer in our hot tub while enjoying the impressive scenery of the Socorro Islands. One more day of diving tomorrow will wrap our current trip up, but not to worry, we have another 7 months for this season of this world class diving. Hope to see you here!
Captain Gordon Kipp
diving conditions: water temp 26-27C (79-80F), visibility 18-30m (60-100ft), current mild to strong surface conditions: air temp 30C (86F), mostly sunny skies with comfortable sea conditions