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  • Tuna at Clipperton Atoll

    Loads of fish at Clipperton Atoll

    Shark life was evident almost immediately with several juvenile silver tips cruising around under the boat and checking out the divers. Green and fine-spotted morays roamed the reef bottom, free swimming and often following divers. One diver reported a large hammerhead shark, and I saw an adult silky shark cruising the blue as well. Lots of leather bass, moorish idols, butterfly fish, the endemic Clipperton Atoll angelfish, damsel fish, sergeant majors, blue and gold snapper, trevally jacks, black triggers, goldrim surgeonfish, among others completed the beautiful reef scene.

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  • Huuhhh?? After our best season ever for big animals at Socorro Island, the last couple of days have been slow.

    1945hrs We’ve just departed Socorro Island for our annual Clipperton expedition. We spent the last two days diving at San Benedicto and Socorro of the Revillagigedo chain of islands. The diving was a little disappointing with minimal big animal activity. A few hammerhead sharks here and there and one giant manta for a couple lucky honeymooners. Not as dramatic as it should be but occasionally these slow periods do happen. Our main destination for this expedition however is Clipperton atoll which is the lone island in this part of the world forming part of the Republic of France. This is the Nautilus Explorers 5th expedition to Clipperton, and my 4th personally after Captain Mike took the first exploratory trip down. We can expect water temps to increase from 22C at Socorro today, to around 28 or 29C when we reach Clipperton. The island is surrounded by a barrier reef covered in mostly hard corals, reef fish, pelagics, and of course the infamous Clipperton Morays (more on those critters in a future installment). Our encounters with sharks at Clipperton has varied greatly each of our times spent there, and we are hoping to find a healthy population of adult hammerheads, silkies,…

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  • Guest Blog – Hammerheads, and what I am Certain was a Tiger Shark – Clipperton

    Another sunny day at Clipperton. Today diving around the NE side of the island. A lot of activity on the reef for the pre-breakfast dive with White Tip Reef and Galapagos sharks cruising in. If you hung around too long a Moray would be over to check you out. Excitement on the third dive: hammerheads and what I am certain was a Tiger shark – a substantial outline with those silver and black stripes – just checking the video now – it cruised into the reef and skirted us and then back into the blue. Reports from the fourth dive include a turtle sighting .. Nadine Day started well, backward roll straight into the blue and a circling school of big eye jacks. On the second dive I saw a hammerhead, not in the blue but cruising on the reef at 26 metres. I sat out the 3rd dive which is not to be advised on Clipperton as I missed 2 more hammerheads! But on 4th dive, with a great deal of fish activity, we saw another scalloped hammerhead but it was on the small side. Towards end of dive we also saw a wahoo above us near the surface.A…

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  • Captain’s Blog – Three beautiful dives on pristine coral reef – Clipperton – 10th April 2011

      7am – up early and there it was – Clipperton on the horizon – the edge of the circular atoll a wider expanse than expected between the groups of coconut palms – by 8 am we were there escorted by schools of dolphins and diving Boobies! (It is lucky to get pooped on by a Boobie isn’t it?) We cruised around the southwest of the island – the deserted flagpole, the coconut palm grove where the settlement had been, the wrecked boat – the rocky outcrop who knows if Clipperton’s treasure is still there? But then it was dive time – three beautiful dives on pristine coral reef with reef fish – the unique blue Clipperton Angelfish was spotted straight away, morays came to check us out and White Tip and Galapagos sharks skirted the edge of the reef. On the last dive of the day a Tiger shark was reported – now 6.45pm and just waiting to see the photos. Nadine We caught our first glimpse of the historic Clipperton Atoll this morning around 0700, after a transit south by east from Socorro Island. We had a very comfortable ride down the entire transit, despite a breeze kicking…

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  • 50 trips to Socorro Island and I still find new experiences above and below the water to take my breath away – First Mate Log – May 17, 2010

    Good evening! This is first mate Sandy writing, from the beautiful Sea of Cortez near La Paz, Mexico. We have anchored in a small bay on the island of Espiritu Santo for the night, before heading back to the local California sea lion colony, Los Islotes, for some adrenaline-filled diving with some gregarious marine mammals tomorrow morning.  It’s been more than 3 years since I’ve been on a trip to the Sea of Cortez, and there certainly is something magical about it. Some may say that her day is past – that the crowds of pleasure boats and luxury yachts have encroached upon the serenity of the islands, or that the inevitable byproducts of a dramatically increased human presence in Baja California has lead to a negative impact on the local ecosystem – but for anyone whose curiosity may have been piqued by Steinbeck’s classic will still find much to marvel at in the calm, turquoise waters or the stark desert coastline. It has been my pleasure to work aboard the Nautilus Explorer for more than 4 years now, and although I may be fast approaching 50 completed voyages to the Islas Revillagigedo, Socorro and the Sea of Cortez (in…

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  • According to the size of the uterus, these sharks are ready to give birth + unbelievable humpback whale behavior around divers. April 24, 2010. Guest log.

    My God!! Easily one of the best whale encounters of my life. A mother and calf humpback playing and relaxing around our ship, approaching snorklers for over an hour. At one point, the calf approached me to within a meter or two to look me directly in the eye. An amazing experience!!!!     Scott Davis Today we started the shark tagging program in Mexican waters! One receiver was set on the west side of Roca Partida at 127 ft. The location is excellent and a shark cleaning station is very near from it. After we set it we saw three scalloped hammerheads 50 ft north of it. The sharks species seen during these dives were: scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), Silver tip (Carcharhinus albimarginatus), Silky (C. falciformis), Galapagos (C. galapaguensis) and White tip reef (Triaenodon obesus). All the different individuals from these species were adults and in the case of the white tips two pregnant females were seen on the middle of the island at 50 ft. According to the size of the uterus and the behavior of the females (occasional movements out of their caves) they were ready to give birth. By 11:15 am we saw a humpback whale with her…

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  • Hammerhead shark field report – big jump for shark research project conducted onboard the Nautilus Explorer on the Clipperton Island expedition – Guest blog – April 23, 2010

    We are coming back from Clipperton island by now. This was a small step for our project but a big jump for shark research. We set three different underwater receivers located to the NE, south and NW of Clipperton. In previous years we have tagged several species of sharks in different island from the Pacific. My colleague James Ketchum has tagged scalloped hammerheads and galapagos sharks in Galapagos, Cocos and Malphelo. They have found connectivity between this three islands of the Pacific but the puzzle its bigger than that. We have the theory that long migration species such these follow a “migration corridor” in the Tropical Pacific from these islands on the south as north as Baja California including The Sea of Cortez. Because of this, we have started a project covering all the Mexican Pacific islands. Clipperton (previously Mexican) was the most ambitious project that we included on the project. Thanks to the support of the Nautilus Explorer we started with a great success. All the crew from the boat was very supportive with our research and without the help of every person on the crew this endeavor would have been impossible. The shark population looks better than on…

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