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  • Schooling hammerheads delight at Socorro. Photo by Dan Tirtowidjojo

    100+ Schooling Hammerheads and Mantas Everywhere

    A massive group of schooling Hammerheads joined another massive group of schooling hammerheads and then there were over 100 sharks swimming close together in the misty water.

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  • Vortex!

    All went well.  Everybody on the entire boat got along well together and no issues.   Thank you for making this reunion happen. We had some intense Vortex currents off Roca Partida.   I ended up pulling 3 people out of them.   It sounds like they are rare, but we had them for one and a half days.  All were on the side where we usually drop in, near the white tip shark caves.  It’s tough because unless there are fish or bubbles spinning around in them, you can’t see them.  When I was in the vortex,  I had little “traction” with my fins due to the intense water movement.  It was like a propeller spinning in white water.  It just wouldn’t  bite in. It appears it is rare, but I saw it once before at Roca Partida.  Much less intense then compared to this trip.  Sten also told me about one that he was in.  All the same place.  So rare, but wondering if it is something that needs to be included in the D/M briefing at Roca?  Arturo had a vortex briefing after we encountered i

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  • Nooner

    So, the surge came down some and the current weakened a touch but the rock was still a bit of a challenge today thus far. Vortex of doom still here, actually 2 today, but at least swimming around the rock was possible. Yesterday some folks drifted and came up next to the NEX and climbed up the ladder. Worked just fine. Clear sky, lt NE wind and long low nnw swell. Mellower today. Had a turtle come by and say helloo and same as yesterday for under water action. Silkies, pogos, mantas getting close, dolphins and lots of fish and white tip reefers. Zombie sharks. Creepy. Gonna pull the hook around 2100 and split over to San Benny for a canyon/red bluff/boiler bonanza manana. Some of the guests are having a tough go with this surge and current so we will have a relaxed last day and get them in the water for a few. All is good here.

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  • No "vortex of death" today

    Perfect conditions today.  No “vortex of death” today, but Ed saved another life.  He pulled a fishing hook out of of a manta.  The manta was very happy and came back to greet Ed and the entire team after the event.  PADI now has “vortex diver” and “manta rescue” certifications… Today was a great day.  Clear water and lots of manta action at Roca. Can’t beat Roca Partida, it has never let me down for over a decade of diving here.  For me, it was a good day of diving.  Everyone had “ascents = descents” so for a diving doctor, that is a good thing! The crew is great!  The food is great!  Zale Parry gave a great presentation last night and our hostess, Maria, looks like a young Zale Parry.  Marco, you are a lucky man… but we have Zale!

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  • Socorro Vortex swirling

    Swirling Socorro vortex of death at Roca Partida ?

    Very interesting video pasted in below recently made the rounds on the internet.  It  shows a  horizontal vortex capturing a couple of helpless pufferfish supposedly caused by the change in season at Roca Partida from spring to summer.   hmmmmm.     First of all, I feel badly for the pufferfish.   Poor guys.   Second thing is that this is really cool video.    But the third thing is that the Socorro vortex has nothing to do with the change in seasons.  We have observed this vortex many times over the last 11 years of diving Socorro and have never noticed a seasonal component.  Our theory is that on a heavy current day at Roca Partida (which is when it becomes most “sharky” and when the big tuna come in  –  YAAYYHHHH), the streams of current can go up.  Or go down. Or the current streams can go horizontal  ie.  when the current upwells from 11,000 feet and hits the wall at Roca, it has to deflect in some direction which is sometimes horizontal.   When diver bubbles get entwined in the interface between calm water and streaming current, we sometimes see these amazing horizontal vortex.  CAUTION to divers…

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  • Why are the water temperatures 4 – 5 degrees warmer than normal at Socorro Island right now? Is this a good thing??

    Whooohooooo. Current water temperatures at Socorro are in the high 70’s which is very warm for this time of year. Our guests are diving in lightweight skins instead of 7 mm. wetsuits with hooded vests. Life is good. Or is it?? The thing with abnormal temperature variation is that “something has changed”. And change = a shifting equilibrium for the ecosystem. Sure, yes of course our divers are happy to be diving in skins instead of 7 mm wetsuits. We are not yet sure about the impact on our beloved big animals of Socorro but in previous El Nino events, our diving has been even better than normal with exceptional shark encounters. Especially with schooling hammerhead sharks. My theory is that the sharks migrate north from Cocos and Galapagos during El Nino events into the relatively cooler water around Socorro. The problem is that we don’t think this is an El Nino event. This is shaping up to be our third year in a row with abnormally high water temperatures. Something different and not well understood seems to be happening.. The eastern USA experienced the second coldest back-to-back winter in the last 68 years. Only once in the 1970s when…

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  • The water at Roca Partida was the most gorgeous inky blue and was stacked with huge schools of fish.. what a privilege. November, 2011 – Socorro Island, Baja California, Mexico.

    I have been fortunate to dive some of the best places in the world during my time diving and based on what I have seen in the past 2 days, Roca Partida is up there with the best. We did 8 dives over 2 days so it was a fairly tiring schedule, but one has to make the best of a golden opportunity! This morning’s early dive was truly one of the best and most enjoyable I have ever done. Paul and I dropped onto the north point and slipped down the rock to 14 meters, straight onto a shark cleaning station. We were alone and calm so the shark action was top drawer with galapagos and silvertip sharks coming almost face to face with us as they skimmed over the rocky wall. After 2 other divers arrived the sharks got a bit skittish and went deeper so we dropped to 22 meters and spent ages with them using the full benefit of nitrox fills to gain extra time. It really was a circus of sharks with non-stop action. At one point several galapagos and silvertips tore into a distressed fish and it all got a bit heated for a…

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