Wow it’s good to be back! Today I went on my first dive at Isla San Benitos at the renowned dive site on the North-West side of the island called “The Boiler”. This volcanic rock comes all the way up from the ocean floor to a depth of 10′. It’s called “The Boiler” because sometimes as the surf breaks on top of it, the water churns and boils at the surface. Underneath the surface, however, things are tranquil, and the rock is a magnet for every kind of sea life.
The captain anchored the Nautilus Explorer in the perfect position, so that when we went in off the back deck, we could see the rock a short swim away. As soon as I began my descent, I was amazed at the sheer number of fish everywhere! As I approached the rock, and the schools of fish began to get thicker, I began to make out an unfamiliar shape in the distance. Not unlike a very large bird that moved with a calm and gentle ease, the giant manta ray slowly glided towards me. It swam right by me, only a couple feet away, and it was all I could do not hold my breath! What a magnificent animal. I felt so lucky to have had such a close encounter on my first dive here. But this was only the beginning. As I circled around the rock, there were two more! And as I began my return to the Nautilus Explorer, a lone manta drifted towards me, and at the last minute went over top of me, passing right through my stream of bubbles! An experience of a lifetime, and one I will never forget.
Today I was fortunate to be able to dive a second time at Isla San Benito’s famous “Boiler”. A volcanic rock that rises 150′ up from the ocean floor to just a few feet short of the surface. This rock is a magical place in the underwater kingdom, because this is where the magestic Giant Manta Rays come to have the Clarion Angelfish clean the ectoparasites off them. Known as a “cleaning station”, this particular site attracts a lot of mantas.
Today the rock and surrounding waters were teeming with fish of every color of the rainbow. There was even a group of four white tip sharks huddled together in a nook in the rock, waiting for the light to wane so they could begin hunting.
The first thing, yes, the first thing! I saw when I got into the water today, were two mantas swimming below me towards the boiler. What a way to start your dive! And when I began to descend and make my way to the far side of the rock, I was blown away to see four more mantas all circling about between 40′ an 60′. But, as if this wasn’t enough, seemingly everywhere I turned, there were more mantas. Alone, in pairs, the mantas were everywhere around the boiler. What a show!
I cant’ wait for another chance to swim with these remarkable creatures.