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Travel and diving with sharks, mantas, sea lions and dolphins in Mexico Socorro Island


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Travel story - Scuba diving with sharks, mantas, sea lions and dolphins in Mexico - Socorro Island - San Benedicto - Roca Partida - Revillagigedo archipelago in the Pacific Ocean



Where can you go diving with sharks, giant manta rays, sea lions and dolphins in Mexico - Socorro Island - Revillagigedo archipelago in the Pacific Ocean


map socorro san benedicto roca partida mexico


Info about the Revillagigedo islands - Mexico in the Pacific Ocean:


The Revillagigedo Islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean and consists of 4 Islands Including Socorro, San Benedicto, Roca Partida and Clarion. We dive during our trip around Socorro, San Benedicto, Roca Partida, where after we also have 2 diving days in the Sea of Cortez - Mexico at the dive site Los Islotes.

The Revillagigedo islands belong to Mexico and are ground home for many sharks including the Hammerhead shark, Tiger shark, Side shark, Galapagos shark, Whitetip reef sharks and Silvertip sharks. Giant Manta rays and dolphins are also abundant. In addition, you'll find large sea lion colonies in the Sea of Cortez there are. As avid divers, time so to book a trip to the Revillagigedo islands - Mexico in the Pacific Ocean to dive with these ocean giants.


Photos of the dive sites in San Benedicto, Roca partida and Socorro in the Pacific Ocean


photos Socorro San Benedicto Roca-partida

Pictures - Photos diving at dive place San Benedicto, Roca Partida and Socorro in the Pacific Ocean



General info about Socorro Island - Mexico


Socorro Island - Mexico is with 12km x 8km the largest island of the Revillagigedo archipelago and is situated 451km south-west of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean. The Cerro Evermann volcano is with 1130m the highest point of the island. This volcano has burst several times already and its last erupting dates back to 2003.

On the furthest south-west point of Socorro Island - Mexico live about 250 people, who all work for the Mexican Navy. The island is uninhabited and is not accessible to visitors. At the naval base is a decompression room but there isn't always an operator present.

A few things that grow on the volcanic bottom of Socorro Island - Mexico are especially cacti, grass and shrubs.

The fauna on Socorro Island - Mexico consists mainly of seabirds, lizards and land crabs. It's a very important feeding and breeding ground for different types of seabirds. The man has introduced sheep, cats and rodents, which unfortunately have damaged the nature massively. Especially the cats have caused bad damage to the bird population.


Info about diving at the Revillagigedo archipelago - Socorro Island - San Benedicto - Roca Partida - Mexico in the Pacific Ocean with the Nautilus Belle Amie:


Most people talk about Socorro Island when they actually mean to talk about the Revillagigedo archipelago.

The Revillagigedo Islands - Socorro Island - San Benedicto - Roca Partida are popular places to dive with sharks, giant Manta rays, dolphins, Tuna and other conceptual fish. As there is no public airport, it's only reached with liveaboards. The best months to visit the Revillagigedo Islands - Socorro Island is from November to May, when the weather and sea conditions are best.

Scuba diving at the Revillagigedo archipelago - Socorro Island - San Benedicto - Roca Partida - Mexico is only suitable for experienced flow divers, which don't fear to dive in the blue. To be able to help yourself in heavy weather conditions is an absolute must and panic attacks are unacceptable. A pill against seasickness is recommended as well, unless you've got strong sailor legs. For your own safety and that of others it's also of great importance that you properly follow the instructions of the experienced dive masters.

During the liveaboard on the Revillagigedo Islands - Socorro Island - San Benedicto - Roca Partida - Mexico there are 4 dives a day, on average. That's why it's recommended to dive with nitrox (Nautilus Belle Amie provides nitrox for US$ 20 per day). 1 hour diving or 40 bar is the minimum pressure to end the dive at. Decompression diving and drinking alcohol between dives are obviously prohibited. Each dive has a safety staircase to build in extra safety and it's recommended to come to the surface with sufficient Nitrox, when there's a heavy golf stroke. In this case, keep breathing in the nitrox, so that the desaturation is accelerated by the elevated particle oxygen pressure.

Since strong currents may be present in the Pacific Ocean, drifting off is always possible. For safety reasons, an OSB, air emergency sound signal and emergency radio with GPS positioning and satellite connection are also mandatory for every diver.

Pure oxygen is sufficient available on board and first aid can be administered.

The diving is done from ribs and the group of maximum 36 divers, is divided in three fixed part groups (red, blue and yellow). Each group departs with a quarter of an hour in between so the dive locations don't get overcrowded. This also prevents the drums on the deck and gives everyone a very pleasant free holiday feeling. With a backward roll and empty jacket, we dive in, so that we quickly can descent. Else you could possibly drift off too much because of the strong current.

There is a choice between aluminum and steel dive tanks. The bottles have a volume of 12l or 15l with a single crane, DIN or international bracket connection. For the steel dive tanks of 15l the Nautilus Belle Amie asks a supplementary cost of US$ 38 for the entire trip.

The crew provides clear guidelines on how to act on the Mantas and dolphins. Teasing, chasing and touching is strictly prohibited, but nothing prevents the Mantas and dolphins of, sometimes accidentally, touching the divers. Caution, Manta rays and dolphins tend to slowly lure divers in to the depth and dangerous depths can be reached. To prevent this, you always have to keep track of your diving computer regulary.


General info about the Nautilus Belle Amie


In 2014, the Nautilus Belle Amie still was a blank open ship that had to be completed and furnitured with rooms, a dining area, lounge, bar and infrastructure. The ship is 44m long and 11m wide, the water speed is 9 knots, with a maximum of 11 knots.

The Nautilus Belle Amie has 8 double rooms with toilet, washbasin and shower, 1 quadruple room, 6 wider suites and 2 Premium suites. The water undergoes desalination, so it can be used for showers and drinking water.


The Nautilus Belle Amie


ship nautilus belle amie mexico

Pictures - Photos of the ship the Nautilus Belle Amie in Mexico



At the stern of the Nautilus Belle Amie is a spacious dive deck, where there is a place to stall all diving equipment. There's also a separate table for charging camera batteries.

Drinking water, coffee, tea and all soft drinks are included in the price. Beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages are available after the last dive for democratic prices. Hungry stomachs can be filled richly with either a continental breakfast or American breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. They do also consider certain wishes and allergies (gluten free, vegetarian, etc.). During the entire trip, there are two people available to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. We're treated and pampered like kings and queens.


Ship the Nautilus Belle Amie


ship nautilus belle amie mexico

Pictures - Photos of the ship the Nautilus Belle Amie in Mexico



Travel Story - diving in the Revillagigedo archipelago - Socorro Island - San Benedicto - Mexico with sharks, giant Manta rays, dolphins and sea lions in the Pacific Ocean



Thursday 16 June 2016:

from Amsterdam to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico


Who wants to visit the most beautiful dive sites the world, must be prepared to travel. We start with a quiet train ride from Antwerp to Schiphol, where we depart for a 10.5 hour-long KLM flight to Mexico City. When we arrive, we pass through immigration, get our luggage from the belt and take our heavy suitcases to an air train that takes us to another terminal of Aero Mexico. Exhausting after such a long flight. Finally, we must queue to check-in again. They're not very fast and our boarding time comes dangerously close. Stressful, but we're still in time for the last embarkation of our flight to Cabo San Jose. Once we take seat in the airplane, it thunders and an extreme storm breaks out, it seems we're not due to leave for at least another hour. After about a half hour, it's all calmed down a bit and we take off. Just after midnight, local time, we land in Cabo San Jose. The pre-ordered transfer (US$ 20 per person) is already waiting for us and we set off for a 45min drive to Tesoro hotel in Cabo San Lucas. Once arrived, we immediately go to bed.


Friday 17 June 2016:

Stroll in the marina of Cabo San Lucas


After a good night's rest, we take a refreshing shower and have breakfast on the roofed terrace on the second floor of the Tesoro hotel. Here we enjoy the beautiful views of the marina of Cabo San Lucas.


Port of Cabo San Lucas and hotel Tesoro 1


photos hotel tesoro cabo san lucas mexico

Pictures - Photos Tesoro hotel Cabo San Lucas in Mexico



After breakfast, we go for a stroll along the harbor, which is full of really beautiful yachts that are mainly owned by Rich Americans. The biggest ship costs about 250 million dollars and even has a helicopter on the deck. Pure decadence, but nice to look at. The cozy harbor is also accommodated with nice bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. They will definitely not starve to death here!


Port of Cabo San Lucas and hotel Tesoro 2


photos marina cabo san lucas mexico

Pictures - Photos of the beautiful marina of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico



We're regularly approached by street sellers, trying to make us buy all kinds of jewelry, cigars or day trips. Fortunately, they are not too intrusive and let it go, when we're not interested.

At the end of the marina of Cabo San Lucas is an oblique strip, where the boats are let on or leave the water. A man is feeding a residential sea lion fish scraps. The animal recognizes the person and fearlessly comes out water to pick up its snack. The man beckons us and for a few US$ 5 we, ourselves can feed the adult sea lion, that upright, must be at least 1.5 meters. He even let us touch him, which of course turned into some fun photos.


Port of Cabo San Lucas and the hotel Tesoro 3


photos marina cabo san lucas mexico

Pictures - Photos of the beautiful marina of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico



At night we find a nice restaurant where we spoil ourselves with nachos, burritos and other Mexican delicacies. Of course, accomplished with margaritas!


Saturday 18 June 2016:

Rest day at the pool of our hotel Tesoro in Cabo San Lucas and embarking on the Nautilus Belle Amie in Cabo San Jose


Since we'll be diving four times per day, in next days, today we're planning on doing absolutely nothing. Chill at the pool of our hotel and enjoy the great weather and the beautiful views of the marina of Cabo San Lucas.

At 19u00 all 29 guests get together at the Nautilus Belle Amie in Tesoro hotel in Cabo San Lucas, where we all meet the first two members of the crew of the vessel. We get a first short introduction, where after, we get taken to the marina of Cabo San Jose and the Nautilus Belle Amie is moored.

We are welcomed with a glass of champagne in the Nautilus Belle Amie in Cabo San Lucas and get greeted by Jorge and Sylvia, the couple that will take care of us for the upcoming 11 days. Next, the rooms at the Nautilus Belle Amie get assigned and for an additional cost of US$175 per person we get the option to take an upgrade to the luxurious Cortes room. While we have a look at the room, a different couple immediately decided to take the offer. We're a bit annoyed, because that room is at least three times bigger and much more comfortable than our booked cabin on the lower deck. Bad luck! On the bargain, our room is very damp. Even the bedding is clammy and the air conditioning doesn't get the small room cooled. Therefore we crawl in bed with mixed feelings.


Sunday 19 June 2016:

Sailing on the Nautilus Belle Amie from Cabo San Jose to San Benedicto - Mexico


Today we will sail with the Nautilus Belle Amie San Benedicto - Mexico for a full day. Since we're only expected at 9.30am for breakfast, we take advantage of this opportunity to sleep in. We are spoiled with a tasty quiche, hearty sausages and there is even chocolate for breakfast!

At 11u00 we're all asked to come to the central living room for the general briefing of Captain Bryden and the representation of the entire crew. Especially Chef Marco gets a big supportive applause from our group. After that, a further evacuation exercise gets held, in which we need to try on our life jacket. The Nautilus Belle Amie clearly, doesn't take any risks!

After lunch, some people take place at the sundeck to laze and sunbath, others enthusiastically get their diving material ready for the next day.

In the afternoon there's an extensive safety briefing, where the loss procedures during the diving are explained and we get an interesting pleading about the giant Mantas, dolphins and their behavior, by the Divemaster and former scientist Ronald.

At 19u30 we may slide our legs under the dinner table for a nice meal. In the meantime, we become a bit more acquainted with our (mainly German) fellow travelers and we hear each other out about our diving experiences.

At night, some diving videos are played on a large flat screen in the living space, but most of us, fairly quickly make their way to the cabin, as we all want to be fresh for our first dive tomorrow.


Monday 20 June 2016:

Diving on the dive sites The Canyon and El Fontiro Point on the island San Benedicto


San Benedicto is a rough, robust, strip and volcanic island where you can still find the most recent lava flows.

The dive site, The Canyon, is a U-shaped pit of lava rocks that except for some moss are fully barren. The maximum depth is 31m. The Canyon runs from north to south and looks like a mountain range under water. During the dive we see Groupers, Jacks, Tunas, hunting Morays, Flute fish, Butterfly fish, a large Hammerhead shark and multiple Whitetip reef sharks. Unfortunately, the sharks are on too far of a distance to take good photos. We can't find any trace of the Mantas, but another diving group did spot some eating Mantas.


Canyon dive site on the island of San Benedicto


photos the canyon san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at Canyon dive site on the island of San Benedicto



The soil structure of Point El Fontiro on San Benedicto is similar to that of the Canyon. When we jump into the water, a large Manta passes immediately. A great start of our dive. There are also 2 Whitetip sharks in a very small cave. During the dive a major Manta continues to spin around the group for at least 20 minutes, at the last 5 minutes we also see 2 smaller and playful Mantas of ca 4m. They seem to be racing each other. A magnificent spectacle!


Dive Resort El Fontiro Point on the island of San Benedicto


photos point el fontiro san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at Dive Resort El Fontiro Point on the island of San Benedicto



The third dive again takes place on the Canyon. Because of the bright sun, there's a lot of fog in the water, causing limited visibility of only 15m. We only see 3 whitetip sharks, 3 silky sharks, a beautiful group jackets, but regrettably no mantas.

During the last dive, we are dropped halfway through the canyon and is the intention to dive south ways to the opposite diving site, where the northern point of Point El Fontiro is situated. The soil is covered with rocks, while the north and center of the canyon only have a sandy plate, there's not much entertainment to find here. Halfway through the dive a large manta passes, which turns round to the divers and shows his big belly. Some are even touched by the manta. An unique experience! A little further, we also find 2 scorpion fish, which aren't camera-shy. Then we see a peacock fish, a guitar ray, tunas, groupers, butterfly fish, some parrot fish, a school of jackets and 2 silky sharks.


The Canyon dive site on San Benedicto


photos the canyon san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at Canyon dive site on the island of San Benedicto



After dinner at the Nautilus Belle Amie we are shows a short presentation on the different types of sharks we on this dive trip may encounter, held by the marine biologist and fellow passenger Edgar. Very informative and useful for the next few days in order to identify different types of sharks.


Tuesday 21 June 2016:

Diving at Roca Partida


Roca Partida is seen as an island, but it's really nothing more than a rock of 75m to 10m with 2 points (north and south), 85m depth, rising up to 25m above the surface of the water. The rock is very steep and has a special grove structure. On the top of Roca Partida many seabirds have build a home. It's totally teinted with their faces, so a white color and corresponding smell appear. Despite its small size, there's abundant marine life to find around Roca Partida and visibility is about 60m. Nevertheless, during a dive, you must always be aware and make sure not to drift off and keep the rock in sight. It's also important to check your depth and nitrox stock in order regularly. There's so much great life to find around Roca Partida, you easily get distracted.

During the diving we see hunting dolphins, tunas, wahoos (a mackerel like fish, more comparable with a barracuda), whitetip reef sharks, galapagos sharks, silky sharks, hammer sharks, morays, huge schools with thousands of fish, a manta, etc. This dive site is a top recommendation and when the weather is prosperous, also very suitable for snorkeling.


Dive Site Roca Partida - what they call an island


photos the canyon san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at Dive site Roca Partida what they call an island



At the beginning of the second dive we can see many dormant whitetip sharks on only just 15 m depth, and they aren't camera-shy. In the cracks of the rocks many morays are present, which are practically fully visible. Wahoos, silver tip sharks and galapagos sharks should also not be missed. After 10 min, we see a large manta which claims the attention for the rest of our diving time. The manta flutters from diver to diver and visibly enjoys its bubbly bath. During the safety stop, there's also a second manta creeping in, which boasts a lovely somersault in the water.

During the third dive, it's our intention to firstly spend some time in the blue, to search for hammerhead sharks. Due to the bright midday sun and the cold water, that gets stowed from the depth, there's a lot of fog in the water. so that the visibility isn't any good. It's impossible for us to watch any hammerhead shark now. We dive further, against the current, but we hardly go forward. I decide to let go the and stay, hang at a place where many white sharks, some silky sharks and galapagos sharks are there to admire. I even get company of a manta for a while then ascent with a different dive team.


Dive Place Roca Partida


photos the canyon san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at Dive site Roca Partida



During the last dive, the dive master takes my note about preferring a smooth and quiet dive over diving against a very strong current into account. That's why we're now, against usual, are dropped in the blue and drift with the current. We straight away go to a depth of 32m depth and see 8 hammerhead sharks, before we've even reached the walls of Roca Partida ranges. It's a beautiful view to come across a very large school of tunas, and in the distance the silhouette of a hammerhead shark. Further during this last dive of the day, we also find silky sharks, galapagos sharks, white and silver tip sharks. Even though the visibility is reduced to 30m by the fog, we see a total of 5 different types of sharks during on dive. Very impressive!

At night we have a 'Taco Fiesta' on the top deck of the Nautilus Belle Amie and get treated to all kinds of Mexican specialities. Delicious!


Wednesday 22 June 2016:

Diving at Roca Partida


Again, we start our first dive at Roca Partida to search for hammerhead sharks. We spot a total of 3. When we get to the rock wall of Roca Partida, we see a large school of fish, among which, many galapagos and whitetip reef sharks and some silky sharks. This time we also want to see some hunting dolphins, so the dive master leads us to the other side of the small island against the strong current. As I prefer to stay in the quieter waters, I leave the group and drift off gently. I soon discover a crawfish in the company of a baby whitetip reef shark from about 30cm in a rocky gap. Very cute! Then I hang back in the fish ball for a while and see another diver of our group doing the same. Stunningly beautiful, these hunting sharks! Suddenly I find myself in strong current, that drifts me to the open Pacific Ocean. I let go my OSB and after a safety stop, get picked up, quite far from Roca Partida, by our skipper. Only the last diving group manages to see the hunting dolphins. We all hope to see them at our next dive.

During the second dive of the day we are once again, dropped in the blue, where we find 6 hammerhead sharks. Unfortunately, they do not come closer, so taking photos is impossible. Because of the nitrox we, unfortunately, can't dive any deeper. We again see some of the classics: whitetip sharks, silvertip sharks, galapagos sharks and silky sharks. Arrived at Roca Partida the currents looks fine, but halfway at the rock it fully turns around. The Divemaster wants to return, but some fellow divers like to go. I, again give it a pass and stay on site to take a series of fun photos of dormant whitetip sharks, a crawfish, and many other fish which are present here richly. Once done, I leave and drift back to the blue, let go my OSB, but even last minute am able to enjoy a galapagos shark, which passes me on a distance, less than 2m.


Dive Place Roca Partida


photos the canyon san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at dive site Roca Partida



At the third dive, we are literally dropped in the middle of a school of fish with hunting galapagos sharks. We head down to a depth of 30m and can easily see to the bottom, where there are some hammerhead sharks. At the rock wall of Roca Partida, there are, again a lot of schools of fish, tunas, whitetip sharks, flute fish, butterfly fish, etc. Suddenly a strong current comes up. The other divers accept the battle, which means the dive master must follow. However, I decide to stay in the confined area to enjoy the life here on the site. After 10 minutes, I see air bubbles coming my way. This is the group back; tired and without nitrox stock!

Also during the last dive at Roca Partida we're dropped in the middle of a school of fish in which whitetip and galapagos sharks are hunting. I take it easy and shoot some clips of the large schools of fish that pass through. At the end of the dive some hammerhead sharks come up a little more to the surface. Unfortunately, still not enough for photos, but in any case, it's a beautiful ending on the Roca Partida.

After the last dive, the engines of the Nautilus Belle Amie are turned back on and we sail towards Socorro Island. Tonight, we'll sail through the night to get to our destination.


Thursday 23 June 2016:

diving on the dive site Cabo Pearle on Socorro Island


Any vessel in the surroundings of Socorro Island, needs to undergo a detailed audit of the local Mexican marine. They take this test quite seriously because, they come with no less than four people on board (including one armed), who inspects each room of the ship. In addition, all passengers and crew have to get together in the central living space for a formal namecheck. Meanwhile there are two other soldiers walking in circles around the Nautilus Belle Amie. All very professional and impressive until the men in the patrol boat start waving and the armed man on board poses a strike for our cameras. He even gets out his own smartphone for some snaps with 'The Gringo's'. Hilarious!

Due to the extreme inspection, our dives are delayed a little and we must reschedule our dive planning somewhat, but in the end will be able to go for our first dive on Cabo Pearle, known as manta and hammerhead shark cleaning station. During the briefing, our dive master tells us that we'll be especially looking for mantas and alerts us also that the current of Cabo Pearle near Socorro Island can be very strong. If we drift off to the Pacific, the OSB need to be used and the dive will be ended.

As with all previous dives, we let ourselves go to lower depth with empty jackets, where we can admire the fanciful structure of the rocks by lava flow. Next to several galapagos and whitetip sharks, we also find a stingray on a small sandy area. As feared, the current at Cabo Pearle is very strong. For a while we know how to evade and get in to a slightly quieter cavity, where a large manta passes above our heads, but the current soon gets too strong again and we abruptly have to end the dive. During our safety stop we fortunately still see a massive mobula passing by, great ending!


Dive Resort Cabo Pearle on Socorro


photos socorro cabo pearle

Pictures - Photos diving at Dive Resort Cabo Pearle on Socorro



Then again, we dive on Cabo Pearle. Not even 5 minutes have past and we already see two mantas, which continue to rotate around us for the next 25 minutes. After, we also see a school of tuna, a galapagos shark and another passing manta, which this time unfortunately doesn't remain very close. A few minutes later two dolphins swim upon us. The dolphins play for more than 20 minutes with us and not much later we're surrounded by seven dolphins. Despite the fact that the sun and the cold and hot water, cause a lot of fog in the water, this was a spectacular dive on Cabo Pearle.

Our last dive on Socorro Island starts again on Cabo Pearle. We follow the lava flow hill to the cleaning station of the hammerhead sharks, but due to the limited visibility of up to 15m we can't see a thing here. Fortunately, we find three mantas, of which one remains in our vicinity for 12 minutes. The other two mantas, unfortunately only passed through. And that's all for our last dive on Socorro Island.


Dive Resort Cabo Pearle on Socorro


photos socorro cabo pearle

Pictures - Photos diving at Dive Resort Cabo Pearle on Socorro



After the darkness kicks in, there's a night snorkel organized with silky sharks on the deck of the Nautilus Belle Amie. The animals are tricked to the ship with powerful lamps and then begin to hunt in the bright light. It's a real experience, because the silky sharks narrowly swim around. Some passengers give it a pass, but it's perfectly safe and a really unique experience.


Friday 24 June 2016:

Diving on dive site The Boiler on San Benedicto


Today we dive on San Benedicto island for four times. The dive site owes it's name to two boulders that almost rise from the water. Around the boulders, water can swirl so well, it looks like it's boiling. It's also known to be a very frequent visited manta cleaning station. The chance that you'll find mantas here, is huge.

As always, we jump in the water with an empty jacket and immediately descend to the two pillars in search for mantas. Our group finds at least five different mantas, some of which are spinning around the divers continuously. It's a pity, that because of the sun and the cold and hot water the sight is limited to 20m. In the event of my safety stairs, me, our biologist and the dive master see a Swordfish. Unfortunately, the Swordfish swims away quickly, when I try to approach it gently to take a photo. It was for us all, the first time we saw a swordfish while diving. Wonderful experience!


Dive Place The boiler is on the island of San Benedicto


photos the boiler san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at Canyon dive site on the island of San Benedicto



When we jump into the water for our second dive on the boiler on San Benedicto, we literally almost stumble upon a manta, for a full hour the manta stays with us. The gigantic animal flutters ornately from diver to diver. Everyone gets a personal greeting and even our snorkeler doesn't get left out of any attention and a 'close encounter' with this beautiful animal with a wingspan of more than 5m. After 30 minutes dive time, two other Manta rays join us. They take their time to observe at close range and seem to appreciate our company. Our dive master sees a Tiger Shark on 30m depth and tries to inform us by knocking on his bottle, but ultimately no one else got the chance to see the tiger shark, because of the limited visibility. A pity, but it obviously doesn't weigh up to the euphoria about the mantas.


Dive Place The boiler is on the island of San Benedicto


photos the boiler san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at Canyon dive site on the island of San Benedicto



During our third dive on The Boiler on San Benedicto the current has increased and the visibility has become even more limited. Two Mantas accompany us for the last 15 minutes of our dive and continue swimming in circles. Sailing back to the Nautilus Belle Amie we see a manta and some dolphins passing by.

Our last dive at the boiler on San Benedicto is all about manta spotting as well. We are spoiled, because sometimes there are even four mantas at the same time circling around us. For an hour-long we don't know where to look first because there are on top, below, on the left-hand and right-hand side, mantas everywhere! The boiler, truly is a prime location. If you don't spot any mantas here, you're either blind as the night or extremely unlucky!


Dive Place The boiler is on the island of San Benedicto


photos the boiler san benedicto

Pictures - Photos diving at Canyon dive site on the island of San Benedicto



Immediately after the last dive, the armature is examined and we set off to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. The trip will take ca 36 hours.


Saturday 25 June 2016:

Sailing day on the Nautilus Belle Amie to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico


Since everyone is fairly tired of the past dive days, today we mainly sleep and laze on Nautilus Belle Amie. There are also a few diving documentaries played on the large flat screen, in the central living space. Furthermore, everyone can pick their best photos and movies and send them to dive master Felipe, who, at the end of the trip, will put these into a nice compilation on a CD. A nice souvenir which we can enjoy forever.


Sunday 26 June 2016:

Diving on the dive sites Carpenter Rock and la Reyna in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico




Photos of the dive site la Reyna and Los Islotes in the Sea of Cortez - Mexico


photos la Reina los islotes Sea of Cortez

Pictures - Photos diving at Los Islotes dive site in the Sea of Cortez Mexico



The dive sites in the Sea of Cortez are oddly, colder than those of the Revillagigedo archipalgo (Socorro) in the Pacific Ocean. Below 22m the temperature is only 18°C, between 22m and 14m it's 22°C and above 14m ca 23°C.

The dive site Carpenter Rock consists of three pinnacles, that of a 30m deep sandy soil isolate and one of which protrudes above water. On Carpenter Rock diving is easy and quiet. Among many other things, we spotted, nudibranchs, octopuses, butterfly fish, groupers, morays, soldier fish, coral hawk fish, suitcase fishing, doctor fish and angel fish.


Dive site Carpenter Rock in the sea of Cortez Mexico


photos carpenter rock Sea of Cortez

Pictures - Photos diving at Dive site Rock to The Carpenter Sea of Cortez Mexico



Dive Resort La Reyna is just a small rock in the Sea of Cortez, with a warning light for the ships. On the rocks you generally find sea lions lazing which occasionally take a dip to cool off. The rock formation has a weird structure and runs obliquely to a depth of 20 à 25m, where the sandy soil begins. We dive in La Reyna in the Sea of Cortez only to a depth of 15m so it's easier and quicker to get to the sea lions. When we arrive at 7m, we remain stuck but the sea lions provisionally retain a safe distance. As agreed in the briefing my group swims to a nearby wreck where only the motor housing remains, but I prefer to stay in the area the sea lions are in. After 15 minutes, I can finally come nearer to the animals, up to 5m distance. The sea lions now and then come look for me to be able to observe a bit better. The sight is about 10m, better said; pretty bad, but I succeed to take some clips and photos of the sea lions. Once finished, I go back to the blue and open my OSB. The current has drift me, against all expectations, past the Nautilus Belle Amie.


Dive Resort La Reyna in the Sea of Cortez Mexico


photos la reyna sea of cortez

Pictures - Photos diving at Dive resort la Reyna in the Sea of Cortez Mexico



Again, we dive at la Reyna in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Now as well is our intention to spot sea lions, but most animals go for a siesta on the rocks and enjoy life to the fullest having their sunbath. That's why we first dive in kind of canyon around the small island. The visibility unfortunately still is even worse, because of the amount of plankton. When we return to the start point, we come across a male sea lion, that makes an extreme roaring sound, to make clear we can't come too close to the females. Even under water this sound is audible. Despite its territory demarcation, we are able to get some great photos and clips to share.


Dive Resort La Reyna in the Sea of Cortez Mexico


photos la reyna sea of cortez

Pictures - Photos diving at Dive resort la Reyna in the Sea of Cortez Mexico



For the night dive a light beacon is lid up near the Nautilus Belle Amie to lure Mobulas. Per team we go in the water and need to (up to 50 minutes) sit down on our knees in a large circle on without causing substance. Except for nekton, there's nothing to see and the dive master is right to break off the dive after 20 minutes. The water temperature is less than 20°C and everyone is shivering from the cold when they come back on board. Since there's a beautiful open sky and except from our boat there's no light, our skipper first ships a bit farther to extinguish all lights. Behind the rib, we see the bioluminantie appear; a beautiful green glow in the dark water under a fabulous starry sky.

Eventually the Mobulas appear and from the deck of the Nautilus Belle Amie jump we can admire the animals, jumping out of the water. Better late than never!


Monday 27 June 2016:

diving on the dive site Los Islotes in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico


Today we dive three times a loose Islotes in the Sea of Cortez in the vicinity of sea lions. As usual we jump into the water with an empty jacket and we make our way through a wide rocky gap to the other side of Los Islotes diving, where we find some sea lions playing in the water. We take in some strategic locations to take videos and photos, but due to the amount of plankton in the water the visibility is limited. This does however, not spoil the fun and excitement to enjoy these creatures to the fullest. When we are all back on board of the rib, the captain takes us along the rocks very slowly, so that we are given the opportunity to, here as well, take some good shots of the puppies drinking milk with their mothers. Awesome!


Los Islotes dive site in the Sea of Cortez Mexico


photos los islotes sea of cortez

Pictures - Photos diving at Los Islotes dive site in the Sea of Cortez Mexico



Again, we dive at Los Islotes in the Sea of Cortez and we start looking for sea lions. Fairly quickly, we find a group of which the females are rather playful. But, this is not the meaning of the male, who has to work very hard and swim laps to control his females. At a given moment, the male with its loud roar clearly lets the divers know, that we're approaching too close. That is why we take it a few meters back in the water. Unfortunately, the bright midday sun has worsened the visibility to approx 7m. When I after the dive, climb back in the rib, a playful female approaches me in true 'Jaws style' and swims upon me, full speed. The other divers who are already in the boat, begin to recall that 'the attack is set in and that I should be careful'. I thought that they were talking about a male and jump in moment of panic literally in the rib. In the meantime, the others are laughing of the shelf; my reaction apparently was hilarious! During the return trip to the Nautilus Belle Amie we see a whole herd of sunbathing sea lions on the rocks of Los Islotes.

Our last dive of this unique trip, occurs between the sea lions of Los Islotes in the Sea of Cortez. After a while a female comes to play with me but I try to keep a sufficient distance, because I know that in their enthusiasm, tend to bite. Nevertheless, she insists and like a playful dog bites me softly. This results in a hole in my wetsuit, but nevertheless a fun experience. A fellow diver gets the company of another playful female, which has a special interest for his camera and almost tries to creep into his wetsuit. After an hour, our last dive is over, unfortunately. From the rib, we can enjoy the large sunbathing sea lion colony with their little ones, one last time.


Los Islotes dive site in the Sea of Cortez Mexico


photos los islotes sea of cortez

Pictures - Photos diving at Los Islotes dive site in the Sea of Cortez Mexico



This last night, our Chef Marco treats on a juicy steak with a delicious sauce. The dessert as well, is again of exceptional quality. Our stomachs were spoiled with amazing food here, every day. Subsequently the freak flags are flying and everyone digs deep in to the alcohol. Especially the tequila here tastes much better than the greasy stuff that we usually get in Belgium. We fraternize one last time with our German, Canadian and American friends and slightly after midnight it's time for cot.


Tuesday 28 June 2016:

Back to home


Since our diving equipment wasn't completely dry yesterday, we have to get up a little earlier today to pack everything. The tequila vibrates in our heads, but the sickly feeling fortunately disappears after a refreshing shower.

Around 7.30am we enjoy our last breakfast on the Nautilus Belle Amie and then the time has come to say farewell to the co-passengers, but also and in particular the crew. With all their good care and impeccable service, they have ensured that this really was a unique experience. Thanks Captain Bryden and your wonderful crew!

At 9u00 the taxis are ready to take us within hour to the airport of Cabo San Jose (US$ 15 per person). We wait till 12u25 for our domestic flight to Mexico City, which only takes 1u45. Unfortunately, we have to wait for our flight to Amsterdam and kill over 5 hours. A bit passed 9pm we set off for our 10 hour flight to Amsterdam, where we finally take the Thalys to Antwerp.



Movie diving with mantas in Socorro - Roca Partida and San Benedicto in Mexico in the Pacific Ocean






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