First time at Socorro

This has been my first time diving in Socorro and decided to use Nautilus for the liveaboard accommodations. The experience up to this point has been nothing but exceptional.  

We began our journey on the Belle Amie liveaboard where we left port from Cabos San Lucas at approximately 8pm. We were handed flutes of champagne when we boarded the boat and began mingling with the crew and fellow passengers. This is a great time to meet people from all over the world. People who have different cultures, languages, and life experiences, but all who have a profound love of the Ocean and all the creatures that reside there.  

For the next 24 hours we sailed across the Pacific Ocean to the infamous Socorro Islands. This time I was liveaboard savvy enough to bring sea sickness medication to quell any nausea that may arise. It was good thing I did. The way out to the islands was intense and the waves were relentless. Fortunately for me my bed was rocking up and down instead of side to side. It kind of gives you the sensation of being rocked in a crib.

Saturday night I was able to sleep with the help of the Ocean cradle rocking me in to a slumber, but the night we arrived I was unable to sleep at all. I am going to assume it was from all the excitement of the days ahead, so I spent a lot of time on the top deck that evening watching the stars, waves, and fish.

It is hard to describe how the stars look when you are not surrounded by light pollution, but they were out full force that night. The Milky Way made her presence known by showing me her lighted pathway, and the moon casted a silver shimmer on the rolling waves. The lights from underneath the boat attracted hundreds of fish who I watched jump out of the water to get their late night meal. But they were not the only visitors. Out of the shadows I saw a dorsal fin breach the water. When it came in to the light I recognized the graceful way only a shark swims, and watched him circle the boat. He was not the only one as I counted a total of 6 sharks at one time. It was later confirmed that they were silky sharks who like to greet the boats when they arrive to the islands.

The first island we dived was San Benedicto. A volcanic island surrounded by black sand and very little vegetation. It was beautiful in an other worldly kind of way. The day started early, 5:30 am to be exact, where we gathered our equipment and headed to the dining area for a continental breakfast at 6:00 am. A muffin and some orange juice was enough to satiate my tummy while I got ready for the first dive at 7:00 am.

With all my equipment assembled I climbed aboard the skiff and we were on our way to some fantastic diving.

My dive group back rolled off the skiff into the water, which was a little chillier that I expected, but my 3mm did the trick for me. I would not suggest that for every body since I have the cold tolerance of a polar bear. Most people were wearing 5mm to 7mm with layers and some were still chilly. Once I was able to overcome the cold I was mesmorized by the blue that surrounded me. In that blue there were more fish than I could count, sharks, and of course manta rays. All of the mantas we saw were chevron mantas, but there was an all black manta that came to say hello. He didn’t play with us like I was hoping and continued on his way to do manta things. We also had a pod of dolphins swim right through our group to take a quick gander. They must have also had dolphin things to do because they didn’t stop to interact either. It was still amazing getting this close to these magnificent animals. There was also large turtle who was eating breakfast on the seabed. He was not bothered at all by our presence and continued to chomp on whatever vegetation he could find. This was just day one.

The second day of diving was at Roca Partida which is basically two volcanic rocks sticking out of the Ocean and the numerous sea birds that call it home. This dive was more in the blue with hardly any topography for reference. The only topography was the rocks that you did not want to get close to, especially with the current. We just drifted with the current and waited for the animals to come to us, and they did not disappoint. I heard the divemaster send out a signal alarming us that she had seen something. When she got our attention she pointed down to approximately 70 feet where I saw a large flat mouth and many, many spots. It was the whale shark I have been waiting my whole life to see. Not only was she approximately 30 feet away from me her length was determined to be around 40 to 50 feet. Even the divemaster was awestruck by her size. She was MASSIVE!!!!! I was completely mesmorized by this encounter as were the other divers. I held back the tears in fear of fogging up my mask and just watched her swim majestically underneath us. Those spots seemed to go on forever. She came around one more time and then disappeared in to the blue. I would love to see her again.  

This is only the second day of diving and there has been so much activity. With the profound knowledge of the crew they were able to guide us to the most active areas, depending on the currents of course.  

A few more days of diving left, and with how lucky we have been, I have a feeling we will have many more surprises to come.  

Happy Diving!!!!!
Jen, Wisconsin

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