Roca Partida is a tiny rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean but apart from die-hard divers, not many people are aware of its existence. It is so off the radar, that the news of its existence first filtered out to the world from this remote location only after a tuna boat crashed into the rock some years back.
Today, it belongs to the marine park around Socorro Island and is not only the 2nd most remote dive site on the planet but also the most magnificent so far as the rich marine life around it is concerned. On Saturday we finally pulled into Roca, my dream location and dive site.
The conditions around are quite challenging but Roca provides some respite. There is a small area that is protected from the strong currents that batter this tiny rock daily. It is our oasis in the ocean as current whips around the rock. Every dive into this oasis was amazing. We saw a mass of white tips, rather a super highway of white tips running around the rock, and occasionally resting en mass on the ledge on the east side. We also faced a large gathering of silky sharks, hundreds of them fighting the current as well as a massive tuna flying by us to say hello.
Magical moments in Roca Partida
Each of our 4 dives was magical, but one sticks out as particularly special and filled with nonstop action. Rolling back in Roca is not easy, there are massive swells, and a back roll can turn into backward acrobatics, which in my case resulted in me losing my mask. To a silky shark, a mask gently falling to 7000 feet looks like a dead fish, so this bunch of over 100 silkies went for it while I sat on the surface thinking that my dive was done before it started.
Not to be outdone though, our brave DM (Elise) dove down into the mass of silkies and rescued my mask. A million thanks to Elsie for helping me to continue with the dive.
Little did we know that this was the beginning of the adventure that Roca offers divers. We descended into the mass of silkies and encountered a massive tuna, followed by a small pod of hammerheads that suddenly appeared out of the deep blue.
We were enjoying the plethora of sea animals when we were hit by a deadly current that we knew can happen anytime in Roca. Splitting as it hit Roca, we clung onto this tiny rock, adjusting our masks to make sure they stayed in place. Driven by the current, the pod of silks parted in the middle, reminding us of the division of the Red Sea in the Bible.
At this moment, with all the life around us, we had one simple thing to do, we had to let go and allow the current to take our group, trust the ocean, and trust this rock. And our faith in the ocean was not betrayed. As we got thrown out from the side of Roca, we found gentler water and the same companions – the silkies that moments ago had thought my mask was an opportunistic snack.
We eventually made our way to the surface the same way we descended, surrounded by a huge aggregation of beautiful sharks, and massive schools of blackjacks.
Roca was a beautiful experience for us. If there can be a paradise on earth, this is it!