We are about a third of the way through our current dive expedition to the Socorro Islands.
This expedition is 13 days total and will include 11 days of diving. One benefit of this extra long trip is the chance to visit Isla Clarion. Clarion is the last of the 4 islands of the Revillagigedo Archipelago and is rarely visited due to it’s distance from the other three islands.
We began our diving for this trip as we usually do at San Benedicto. Upon arrival at the island we were greeted by the pod of resident bottlenose dolphins playing in our bow wake and the spouts of the migratory humpback whales. Diving on the first day started off a little slow but improved on the second dive with a friendly giant manta circling and interacting with almost all our guests.
Taking advantage of the fair weather early in the trip, after our first day at San Benedicto we enjoyed an easy overnight transit to the infamous Roca Partida. At Roca we enjoyed 3 great sharky dives featuring silver tips, galapagos and hammerheads as well as some silky sharks and of course lots of white-tip reef sharks. Other than the sharks we had big schools of black jacks, creole fish, big-eyed jacks and more. In lieu of a fourth dive we opted to try our luck at some humpback snorkeling, with the big mammals cruising by so close to the Nautilus it is hard to resist! No luck getting in the water with them on our first attempts but we all knew we’d have more chances throughout the following days.
After a great day at Roca Partida we began the 155 nautical mile transit to Isla Clarion, again enjoying a beautiful calm sea for the entire transit. In five seasons of diving the Socorro Islands this is only my third time visiting Isla Clarion. Some unique aspects of this island include some beautiful island topography, amazingly clear blue water, and a big pod of resident bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins greeted us as we approached the island, with some very impressive acrobatics at the bow of the vessel. During our two dives on the first day there most of the divers got to enjoy some underwater interaction with the dolphins as well. We also attempted some more humpback snorkeling, and after a few attempts our deckhand Max managed to get a boatload of snorkelers in the water just before a pod of about 4 whales passed slowly beneath them. Another very unique and special experience for us on our first day at Clarion were two big male Orcas!
In my 5 years at these islands I have never encountered Orcas here. We spent about an hour cruising alongside these amazing animals with their menacing looking dorsal fins and distinctive white “eyes”.
A real treat! Today was our second and final day at Clarion and we enjoyed three dives at two different seamounts around the west side of the island. Beautiful clear blue water offering over 100 ft of visibility at both sites and some beautiful fish life including schooling bonitos, black jacks, grunts, butterfly fish, wahoos and more, as well as a couple of silver-tip sharks, hawksbill turtles and of course the resident dolphins.
As I write this we are heading back to Roca Partida for some more world class pelagic action first thing tomorrow morning. The weather continues to be on our side so far and tonight will be another easy transit (knocking on wood).
Lots more diving to come so check back in soon!
Captain Gordon Kipp
Surface conditions: mostly sunny, temps 26-30C, light winds and calm seas Underwater conditions: water temp 23-24C, visibility 80-100ft, current mild to moderate