Wrapping up 2018 with Sharks, Dolphins and Mantas at Socorro

It certainly feels like the wild west of diving down here in Revillagigedo. This remote diving has given us some of the most magical creatures in the world that only a few are even lucky to experience. From pods of dolphins, including a mama with her baby, to 200+ hammerheads swimming in unison, to a whole menagerie of sharks. But the prize has certainly been the mantas for me. This is why I came to Socorro and they have not disappointed. It isn’t until you look deep into a manta’s eyes that you truly feel like you have seen into her soul and this has happened on multiple occasions. These mantas truly crave human interaction unlike anything I have ever experienced and I will miss them.

Shout-outs to Ivan and Sten, our incredible divemasters, who have made us feel prepared, safe, and even regaled us with some hilarious stories. Osa, our host, and Felipe, our chef, worked tirelessly all day to ensure that all of our needs were met. All you had to do what think of something you needed and Osa was suggesting it to you. Happy Hour was a big hit and Osa’s mojitos were amazing! Thank you to the entire crew for all of your hard work in making this the trip of a lifetime. How do we go back to regular life after this?

–Mel, Canada

Definitely one of the best diving trips we have ever had; when you are considering “normal” to meet up with giant mantas or several types of sharks at every and I mean every dive, you really understand how stunning the Socorro Islands are. But we cannot forget to mention hammerheads schools, dolphins, turtles, big Galapagos sharks and a tiger shark in the shadow, plus the amazing and enthusiastic crew on board. Obviously a special mention with regards to Sten and Ivan, our divemasters and friends, together with Osa our perfect host and Geronimo, our skipper who knows the dive spots by the square-inch. But the whole crew was more than perfect, on duty 24/7, permitting all of us – an awesome band of new friends coming from all over the world – to enjoy each moment, both above and underwater. A very memorable trip!

–Andrea & Francesca, Italy

Firstly let me say that this was my first liveaboard experience so my comments are directly in response to this trip and no other. Often words are inadequate to effectively describe superlative experiences however I hope this report accurately reflects my impression formed on this trip to Socorro.

In every way the staff of the Nautilus Explorer exemplified the meaning of service. No request for help or information was refused or declined and the care and attention displayed by each and every member of the ‘team’ was nothing short of excellent. Daniella and Dulce in the dining quarters worked tirelessly to ensure guests were looked after in every respect. Their attention to concerns and questions were always met with a cheery smile and a speedy response. They were an absolute delight and made the trip especially enjoyable.

The divemasters were quite exceptional and clearly brought their own level of professionalism to each and every dive. Whilst not wishing to single out a particular individual there are aspects of their approach which need complimenting. Luis was always on hand to solve problems and ensure that diver’s equipment was in good order and his knowledge of the marine world was extensive. Nico, with his wonderful sense of humour, friendly manner and continual interest in the marine world, was constantly noted. One divemaster, in particular, was considered by many in the group to be quite exceptional and that was Ari. His patient, quietly professional approach to detail and the safety of divers both on the surface and in the water was very noticeable and thoroughly appreciated by many. Personally in my 35 years of diving I have only found a handful of really exceptional divemasters and Ari has certainly joined that group.

Now for the Skipper! “Good Morning Divers!” Not the ‘warmest voice’ to hear first thing in the morning but clearly he had considerable experience in handling the ship and was always friendly and his updates in the evening during dinner were full of interesting information. No question ever went unanswered and his concern to make sure everyone enjoyed the trip was always noticeable.

One suggestion: It might be an idea to have a television screen constantly on display showing the position of the ship as this is often in the mind of passengers and would undoubtedly be of interest to everyone.

Personally I was incredibly impressed by the whole crew and the extraordinary lengths they would go to to ensure everyone had a good time. They worked tirelessly to ensure this and I think this is one of the hallmarks of the trip I will remember. I would wholeheartedly recommend this adventure to anyone.

–Ian McKillop

I have been completely blown away by how awesome the crew and service has been. As a vegetarian, I don’t normally eat well when traveling or on liveaboards, but I was always extremely satisfied with the food. The diving was second to none, there was not a single dive where something new or interesting didn’t happen. Our manta encounters were like nothing I had ever seen before, they were calm, curious, and obviously intelligent and playful. The highlight of my trip was a dive when we encountered an amazing dolphin underwater, an experience I will never forget. What really stood out to me was the crew, and from my previous liveaboard experiences this crew was second to none. The crew was always present, always willing to help. The dive guides were extremely knowledgeable, able to adapt to changing water conditions and animal activity. I can’t imagine returning to my normal life after this and all I want to do is keep on diving!

–Arjun, USA

Possibly the best dive I’ll ever have in my life at Cabo Pearce dive site! Many manta rays, 8 dolphins, hammerheads – can you imagine? Wowee!

–Sarah, Beaufort, North Carolina, USA


A curious dolphin checks out a diver
A curious dolphin checks out a diver


This trip has exceeded our wildest expectations! First of all, the giant mantas have been plentiful, playful and consistent on every dive! Sten and Ivan, the divemasters, demonstrated how to enjoy the mantas, make eye contact with them and get the most of out the interaction. I think the most mantas we’ve seen on one dive is seven, but sometimes we’ve seen three feeding in a spiraling overhead circle. It’s breathtaking.

The divemasters are incredibly knowledgeable and go out of their way to show us everything they can. Safety is obviously their first priority and the crew all work together like a well-oiled machine. Sten and Ivan give great dive briefings and remind us that there is a lot of little life and many macro things to see when you take your eyes off the big stuff! We’ve had dolphins and hammerheads on some dives as well.

On the boat, the food and company have been fantastic. We are well taken care of with snacks after every dive and a great variety of choices at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Felipe has made some awesome meals, but my favourite has been fish tacos! Osa, our host, works what seems to be 24/7 to make us all feel pampered! We’ve made lots of friends on board this week. The crew and fellow passengers have made this trip even more memorable!

–Brian & Heather, Canada

Roca Partida is an ultimate dive experience, the dive briefing was exhilarating but the 30 sleeping whitetip reef sharks made it wonderful. It’s a mind-blowing experience, almost spiritual, and specially watching those huge tunas screaming by us, and then a beautiful chevron manta came to take a look and said bye-bye.

–Monica, Harleysville, Pennsylvania, USA

The seas have been kind to us and the biggest challenge this trip has been deciding which direction to look underwater. Everywhere you turn, there is something spectacular and unique. Should I look at the 5 manta rays circling around us? Or the 4 dolphins swimming between us? Or the hammerhead that cruises back and forth out in the blue? Oh wait, dolphins swimming with us again…and here they come again! They are inquisitive and interactive. This dive, definitely pay attention to the dolphins. Tomorrow…well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

–Chris, Lansdale, PA, USA

Roca Partida gave us amazing Christmas gift: a super dive with a 5 metre Black Manta and a Chevron Manta. The whole 66 minutes of the dive was beautiful. 30 divers all over the place in the world truly enjoyed arm length distance encounters and even eye contact. Thank you for great mother nature giving us such a great time. Thank you for all the fabulous crew – you are the best of the best.

–Ted Domae


📷 by Dan Tirtowidjojo

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