Captain Al's log : We found ourselves watching a sea lion harassing a giant manta ray at Socorro Island

It is great to be back. It seems like forever since I was last on the boat. I was lucky to have been away coverting around SE Asia with my wife for the last month so was just about completely isolated from the boat. As I was getting ready to travel back down to Cabo I found out that the guests this trip were some longtime groups of divers from the Pacific NW that I have done many trips with in various locations. Then as it turned out, we ended up on the same flights down to Cabo.
So with all my old friends on board we departed Cabo San Lucas bound for San Benedicto, our first stop for this trip. Within an hour of leaving Cabo we found ourselves throttling down to stop and whale watch, as we had a group of 4 adult humpback whales swimming close by our course. Later on as is the usual case, just as we were making our approach to San Benedicto we had a large group of dolphins appear on the bow and ride in with us for the last hour.
Day 1 at San Benedicto we spent at the South end of the island and started for a couple of dives at the canyon. By our standards down here it was a little slow, had a few silver tips and other sharks coming by the cleaning station, one manta moving around the group and one oddity with a Sea Lion dogging the Manta. Personally I have never seen a sea lion in these water so that caused me to question the group, but of course they are from the Pacific North West and they know a sea lion when they see one.  Water temp for this time of year is warmer than normal ranging from 76 F – reports of 78F, I think that gauge is off a bit. Vis to start was excellent but dropped by the afternoon from 100F in the morning to 70F in the afternoon. We moved for the last dive over towards SW Pt and dove the boulder field and drop offs. The rebreather gang we have on board had a few hammerheads come in for a visit.
Day 2 we stayed at San Benedicto and moved around to the West side of the island and set up for a days diving at the Boiler and it did not disappoint. This is what people come for. Right from the start we had three giant mantas for the entire dive and as the day wore on it became 4 mantas. vis and conditions were excellent in the morning and wind came up a bit in the afternoon which dropped the surface vis a bit but bottom remained clear. We also had some dolphins, hammerheads make appearances, so everyone was happy at the end of the day.
It is interesting for the crew, here they have a group of guests who all know each other, they obviously have years of diving experience, are well travel and have seen most things, yet there were those mile wide smiles that told the story, these guys were having some of the dives of their lives, this was what it was all about. The Mantas had done it again.
Today we are sitting at a different location, and half way through the day the contrast between dive 1 and 2 for the group today is huge.
Dive one we had a reasonable amount of current to deal with, the only appearance this dive was one manta. So when the previous day you have 4 mantas a dive, when you get one if feels off.  That why we need to remind ourselves whenever we travel to these far flung places we go that nature is wild and we do not control it.
Dive 2 was wild, Mantas following the divers around, Dolphins came in, not just for a swim by but to stop and look at all these strange creatures, everyone reported dolphins coming up in front of them, one, two feet away again and again. Great experience, just never know when it is going to happen.
As these folks out from the Pacific NW, they are of course diehard Seahawks fans, so for the Super Bowl we had our Tailgate party at Roca Partida. We ran out overnight for a dive before the game, then sat back, lit the Bar BQ, watched the Humpbacks breaching and listened to the Big Game. Oh did I mention, I think there may have been the odd brewski consumed.
See you in a few days,
Captain Al
Nautilus Explorer

By Nautilus Staff

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