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


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december 2017

Travel story - Scuba diving with sharks, mantas, 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 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 the Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean


San Benedicto the boiler

Photos of the dive sites the Boiler in San Benedicto 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.


Photos of the dive sites Roca Partida in the Pacific Ocean


roca partida

Photos of the dive sites Roca Partida in the Pacific Ocean



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.


Dive trip to the Revillagigedo islands


Since we were so euphoric about our dive trip to the Revillagigedo islands with the beautiful yacht Nautilus Belle Amie last year, we decided to return to this marine paradise this year.


Friday 15 December 2017

From Antwerp Central to Amsterdam Schiphol, to Mexico City and final distination Cabo San Jose


Just like last year, we start our long trip in Antwerp Central by train in just under an hour to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, where we hop on the ca 12 hour KLM flight toward Mexico City. Being sat on a plane is never a fun way of killing time, but the quite extensive range of entertainment, the spacious seats and complimentary drinks soften the blow considerably.

In Mexico City, we get to deal with a transit time of 2.5 hours for our next flight to Cabo San Jose. Normally, this is a sufficient amount of time, but as we find out, a number of flights have landed at the same time and a long queue at the Immigration Counter starts to line up. We are slightly panicked because a 'fast lane' with which we quickly go through the administrative merry-go-round doesn't exist. We venture into the lion's den and dive down the secretion ropes, so that we fairly quickly end up at the start of the row. Fortunately, the other passengers are very understanding and let us go in front without grumbling.

After having passed the immigration, we pick up our luggage from the belt and re-check-in. Finally, we take the air-train to the other terminal. In the end, we've only got 10 minutes left to catch our flight to Cabo San Jose, but once arrived at the gate, there turns out to be an hour delay. Hurried for no reason!

Around midnight local time we arrive in Cabo San Jose. From here it only takes a 30-minute drive ($US 20 per person with Enterprising Travel to Cabo San Lucas, where we'll stay for two nights in hotel Tesoro).


Cabo San Lucas en hotel Tesoro


cabo san lucas mexico

Pictures - photos of Cabo San Lucas and the hotel Tesoro in Mexico



Saturday 16 December 2017

A day of chilling in the marina of Cabo San Lucas


Today we have a scheduled a day of chilling and gazing to recover from our long journey and jet lag. After a delicious breakfast, we relax at the pool; to eventually go for a walk around in the cosy marina Cabo San Lucas with its many inviting restaurants. Of course, we opt here for some tasty margaritas and enjoy a calorie-rich plate of nachos. Delicious!

Since we're still a little disturbed by our long journey and the hourly difference, we go to bed quite early.


Sunday 17 December 2017

A short day-trip in Cabo San Lucas to the arch and humpback whale watching


Since we can't embark the Nautilus Belle Amie until later tonight, we decide to go for a short day-trip from Cabo San Lucas. Along the marina, you find many 'tour operators' which offer different excursions. Compare considerately and pick the right one is therefore the message. Our eye falls on a two-hour whale watching tour ($US 40 per person). We are lucky that there are no fellow passengers, and so have the whole boat to ourselves.

After setting sail from the marina, we make a stop to take photos at 'the arch'. A natural arch in the rocks which always results in charming pictures. Then the master sets sail toward the other boats, who have already signalled a humpback whale.


Cabo San Lucas


cabo san lucas mexico

Pictures - photos of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico



Even though we're following the impressive animal with at least ten small boats the and the Mexican music echoes loudly through the speakers, the humpback couldn't care less and continues his route imperturbable.


Humpback Whales in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico 1


humpback whales mexico

Pictures - photos of Humpback Whales in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico 1



Our captain is one of the better sailors and manages to manoeuvre the boat in a way so that we can admire the whale on less than four meters distance. To our great surprise there appear to be two humpback whales, who alternately come to the surface to gasp for air. From time to time, they even show their huge tail fin. Our cameras are working overtime, but just when one of the animals makes an air jump, we react just too late to capture this spectacular image on the sensitive plate. Such a pity!


Humpback Whales in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico 2


humpback whales mexico

Pictures - photos of Humpback Whales in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico 2



After two hours of fun at sea, we get dropped off back at the quay and go for another tasty margarita and nacho dish on a cosy terrace before proceeding to the nearby located Cabo San Jose. Promptly at 16.00pm we are picked up by the pre-arranged taxi (65 $US per route with Enterprising Travel), and after half an hour's drive we get dropped off at Hotel El Ganzo, where we are welcomed by an enthusiastic employee of the Nautilus Belle Amie.

First, the necessary paperwork including insurance, diving certificates, etc. gets concluded, where after we have plenty of time to go for a bite to eat in a nearby cantina. Hotel El Ganzo is rather far away, but close to the marina in which the Nautilus Belle Amie is docked. Shops, cosy bars and exuberant night-life are unfortunately not found around here.

Around 20.00pm we hop on the ship, where we're warmly welcomed by the crew with a glass of bubbles. As the crew works with some sort of rotation system, we know except for our dive master Felipe none of our previous trip. About half of the fellow passengers come from Israel, the other guests come from, among others, Canada, Croatia, France and the United States. Remarkable is that this time there aren't any German or Dutch people on board!

After the first meet and greet everyone gets assigned to their room. We once again opt for cabin E on the lower deck, because this deck normally has less heaving at a rough sea. Around 21.00pm the bunches are unloaded and we start to sail. For a while we follow the lights of the mainland, but then we dive into the vast darkness of the Pacific Ocean. As it promises to be a tiring trip, most of us crawl into bed fairly early.


Ship the Nautilus Belle Amie


ship nautilus belle amie mexico

Pictures - pictures of the ship Nautilus Belle Amie in Mexico



Monday 18 December 2017

To the Revillagigedo Islands


As the Revillagigedo Islands are located about 34 hours of sailing from the west coast of Baja California, Mexico, we have a rest day on-board. However, there are several activities planned so we certainly don't have to get bored.

After breakfast, everyone starts unpacking and gets their diving equipment ready. Afterwards, we once again are warmly welcomed by Captain Gordon and the crew gets introduced to us one by one. This is followed by a safety exercise and an information session about the islands. Among the various activities, we can relax on the upper deck and enjoy the exuberant sun. In the evening, we're offered a presentation about the diverse underwater life. Fascinating and instructive!

After dinner, all the fellow passengers retract to their cabin back fairly rapidly and it's not even 22.00pm when everyone's already in bed. Tomorrow is a big day!


Tuesday 19 December 2017

Arrived on San Benedicto


Tonight, we're frightened awake a couple of times by a few bright lightning bolts. The wind has increased significantly, making the Nautilus Belle Amie starts to rock back and forth during the crossing on the open ocean. Fortunately, the ship has sufficient stabilizers so we don't roll from our bed.

We are awakened by the loud rattling sound of the anchor that hits the water. Yes! We've arrived on San Benedicto!

For the early birds with a growling stomach a continental breakfast is served at 6.30am. Many of us firstly enjoy a nice cup of hot, steaming coffee, before we're expected on the upper deck for a briefing about the dive site at 7.00am. The first sunshine slowly appears through the veil clouds and everyone is eager to start this dive adventure. It promises to be a great day!

The 29 passengers are firstly divided into three groups, each leaving the big ship with a speedboat on a difference of 15 minutes. This way everyone has enough space on the back deck to get ready. By rotating the groups, everyone also gets the chance to be the first to jump into the water. Each group takes on a dive master whose job it is to make sure the dive runs smoothly.


Diving at the dive site El Fondeadero in San Benedicto in the Pacific


The dive site El Fondeadero consists of three rectangular blocks covered in a little bit of coral and many cavities. The dive site in the south starts at a depth of 30m and runs over to the north in the direction of the island of San Benedicto. At the end, the depth is only 10m. Between the boulders are strips of sand. The underwater life that the different dive groups perceive here are white tip reef sharks, moray eels, angel fish, crown of thorns starfish, sea urchins, hogfish, golden phase or guinea fowl puffer, squirrel fish, giant hawk fish, spotted sharp nose puffer, different types of jacks, trumpet fish, wahoo and leather bass. While snorkelling, there even appear about 10-curious dolphins that come so close we can nearly touch them.


Photos of diving at the dive site El Fondeadero in San Benedicto in the Pacific ocean 1


diving el fondeadero san benedicto

Pictures - photos of diving at the dive site El Fondeadero in San Benedicto in the Pacific ocean 1



Diving at the dive site The Canyon in San Benedicto in the Pacific


The dive site The Canyon resembles a large horseshoe of rocks with on the inside a sandy bottom. The depth sometimes get up to 40m. Nitrox divers need to be sure that they don't go too deep. On a depth of 38m a large tiger shark passes by our group at the start of our dive. Unfortunately, he slowly continues swimming and we get to only catch a glimpse of the impressive animal. A remarkable feature of this dive is the fact that there are several octopuses carelessly swimming around; something exceptional, as these tasty snacks usually stay at their well-hidden hiding place. The usual animals like white tip reef sharks, angel fish, jacks and moray eels are presented frequently during this dive. When making the safety stairs a black manta slowly passes by. Unfortunately, the animal is in transit and the Manta doesn't come back to take some good pictures. While snorkelling a silver-tipped shark is spotted.


Photos of diving at the dive site El Fondeadero in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 2


diving el fondeadero san benedicto

Pictures - photos of diving at the dive site El Fondeadero in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 2



Diving at the dive site The Canyon in San Benedicto in the Pacific


The view during our second dive at the Canyon is much worse due to the upcoming sun and wind. In the beginning, we see as far as 20m, but at the end of the dive the sight is limited to only 15m. When our snorkeler encounters a medium-sized tiger shark, she tries to move as little as possible and continues to look the tiger shark in the eye until the animal has disappeared from her purview. A scary moment! Meanwhile, the divers spot except for the traditional fish a nice hammer shark of ca 3.5m long, a decent school shark of wahoos and a group of dolphins that unfortunately doesn't look for rapprochement.


Diving at the dive site The Canyon in San Benedicto in the Pacific


During our last dive on the Canyon, the sun is quite low, almost resulting in a night dive. The advantage of diving in twilight is that the white tip reef sharks begin to hunt, which always result in some spectacular shots. Except for the traditional fish, the main attractions are a tiger shark in the distance, a barely visible manta and silvertip shark.


Photos of diving at the dive site El Fondeadero in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 3


diving el fondeadero san benedicto

Pictures - photos of diving at the dive site El Fondeadero in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 3



In the evening, there's a Mexican taco night planned on the upper deck. Just when everyone has filled up their plate, dolphins and silky sharks are recognized to be hunting in the bright light around the ship. We satisfy our bellies, while admiring the animals in action. What a brilliant ending to this successful day!


Wednesday 20 December 2017

Diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific


The dive site El Boiler consists of a lava rock which is 5m beneath the surface. On top of the rock, diving is not allowed because of the strong billow. This way, divers can get injured badly, but the delicate coral can also get damaged. On the eastern side is a small plateau at a depth of 15m and 18m. Further east, you'll find another small pinnacle. In the west of El Boiler is a plateau at 25m depth. Around the lava rock the site is 45m deep, and the bottom just consists out of sand. For nitrox divers, it's therefore impossible to dive on the lower edge, and the divers with air must be careful and make sure they don't deco-diving.

When you're in the blue and dive with the current towards these lava rocks, you have a chance to spot small schools of hammer sharks which swim over the bottom. Unfortunately, the previous rain, lacking sun and strong wind cause a limited visibility of only 30 to 35m.

The dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto is known as 'the place to be' to go Oceanic mantas watching. When entering the water, we stumble on two mantas swimming just below us. What a great way to start this dive! A total of five large mantas hang around us for a full hour. The dive is even more spectacular when a school of dolphins keeps us company and seeks our attention. They want to play continuously and carry out their ornate 'belly dance'. We must be careful that these 'evil dolphins' don't trick us in going further than the recommended depths. It's an absolute must to keep an eye out for depth, time and pressure gauge during the diving with mantas and dolphins. El Boiler in San Benedicto is really a top dive site and deservedly one of the favourite destinations of many divers!


Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 1


diving el boiler san benedicto

Pictures - photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 1



Diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto


Again, we dive at the dive site El Boiler. Soon we are accompanied by two mantas and then at the same time see four of these magnificent animals. After a while, the mantas disappear from our purview for a quarter of an hour and we enjoy a few passing schools of fish. Then, from the infinite blue, three mantas dive up and continue circling around us until the end of our dive. Thankfully the billow has calmed down a little, but this also means the visibility has gone down to 30m. A fog curtain has formed in the water that plays tricks on us. Fortunately, the mantas approach us on very short distance, so we're able to take pictures and video clips. Unfortunately, the dolphins lump sum during this dive.


Diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto


For the third time, we dive at the dive site El Boiler. At the start, we see two manta rays, which unfortunately don't remain with us for too long. The next 15 minutes we don't see anything at all and we start to lose our faith a little. We fortunately see some beautiful schools of fish, and at 45m depth come across a hammer shark at the bottom. While going back up we see five mantas circling around the divers. From then on, the fun has begun and we're back on track taking photos and videos.


Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 2


diving el boiler san benedicto

Pictures - photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 2



Diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto


The last dive of today, takes place on the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto. During the first quarter we see, except for the classic fishes, no mantas or other interesting marine life. For the rest of our dive time, the mantas stay in our company and flutter continuously through our air bubbles. At a given moment, one of the mantas pushes me a down with its flipper. It seems as I have no resistance against the force of this impressive animal. Its skin feels tough and leathery. What a unique experience! Along the bottom, we spot a nice hammer shark, but it's too far away to capture a good picture, unfortunately. At the end of the dive the mantas follow us to the surface and even stay for a bit, watching us getting back on board. At that time, we also see a Wahoo (which looks like a barracuda) under the boat.


Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 3


diving el boiler san benedicto

Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 3



Thursday 21 December 2017

Diving at the dive site Roca Partida in the Pacific


Roca Partida is a large lava pinnacle that starts at the bottom on a depth of 85m and rises 20m above water. With a little imagination, the top appears as a head and two horns. The faeces of the many birds that are present, have ensured the entire rock to be coloured white.

The dive site Roca Partida is only accessible and suitable for diving when the wind is not too strong. The visibility of our first dive is with its 25m very disappointing. Last year in June 2016 when we were on the same dive site Roca Partida we got spoiled with a view of up to 100m!

At the start of our first dive at Roca Partida we're immediately accompanied by two black mantas and three chevron (black and white) mantas. They hang and circle round us for over 15 minutes. We interrupt our dive and remain on the spot to enjoy and make the most out of this wonderful spectacle. When the mantas leave, we move slightly further away from Roca Partida and see a gigantic fish ball which almost reaches from the bottom all the way up to the surface. For more than five minutes, we're surrounded by a million bonito-fish, this mega fish ball seems to be never ending. Here, we also see many hunting silky sharks and a grey shark, for which it's easy to fill their hungry stomach. The sharks flash by so fast that it's impossible to photograph them. Fantastic!

During our safety stop, we're once again accompanied by a black manta, which continues to swim in laps. This soon ensures our safety stop to be taking 15 minutes instead of the usual 5 minutes. Finally, we see some stunning wahoos under the boat that's picking us up. Roca Partida 'rocks' and really is a top dive site.


Diving at the dive site Roca Partida in the Pacific


During our second dive at Roca Partida our intention is to spot hammer sharks. The current is quite difficult to estimate and doesn't run as expected by the hour and the phase of the moon. As the first dive team immediately drifted off and came up, we can't go too far from the lava rock.

Unfortunately, we don't see hammerheads during this dive, but we're watching a beautiful mobula of up to 2m large, multiple white tip reef sharks, many parrot fish and some very large langoustines of up to 40cm long. They are so excessive that it's even impossible to grab their bodies with two hands to determine the thickness. Absolute whoppers!

During this dive, some mantas come over to take a look. At the end, we see four manta rays, but unfortunately don't come as close as at El Boiler. On the other hand, they do make a nice dive formation, in which now and then at least one gets close enough to be able to photograph or film. Again, we see some wahoos underneath the boat that picks us up.


Photos of diving at the dive site Roca Partida in the Pacific Ocean 1


diving roca partida

Pictures - photos of diving at the dive site Roca Partida in the Pacific Ocean 1



Diving at the dive site Roca Partida in the Pacific


During our third dive the fog at Roca Partida is getting worse. It takes a while for the mantas to show. Suddenly, there are two black manta rays, of which I initially only see one. As I'm filming the animal, I suddenly feel a knock on my head of the second manta who apparently also desires some attention. The manta spins around at least three times just above my head. Woah, this is incredible! Then we see nothing special for a while. Much later, three other mantas greet us, but unfortunately, don't hand around too long. The next 15 minutes we dive into the blue with in the background the silhouette of Roca Partida. Unfortunately, there is little life, and it's decided to end the dive.


Diving at the dive site Roca Partida in the Pacific


During our last dive at Roca Partida, the sun is very low and there are foam heads on the Pacific Ocean. The current on Roca Partida has increased and is now limited to 15m. Except for some white tip reef sharks, one large silver tip shark and two massive Galapagos sharks we see nothing during this dive.

Due to the strong wind, it's not possible to spend another diving day on Roca Partida. Captain Gordon decides therefore to return to El Boiler in San Benedicto, where there are several hidden opportunities to protect the ship from the turbulent Pacific Ocean.


Photos of diving at the dive site Roca Partida in the Pacific Ocean 2


diving roca partida

Pictures - photos of diving at the dive site Roca Partida in the Pacific Ocean 2



Friday 22 December 2017

Diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto


Today we wake up early as we're going to dive with a school of dolphins which contrive on the dive site El Boiler for sunrise. When we jump into the water, a group of over 17 dolphins accompany us. Unfortunately, they almost immediately dive down to a depth of 40 to 42m. As nitrox divers are limited to a depth of 32 to 33m, the majority of our group is doomed to observe these fantastic animals on a certain distance. Unfortunately, at this time of the day, the sun is still far too low, so the photographers with their wide-angle lens and flash can't take any good pictures. After a quarter of an hour of playing with the dolphins, they disappear into the deep end, but fortunately it doesn't remain silent for long. Soon after, two mantas swim upon us. One turns completely around us and even does a somersault, so that we can admire its beautiful white belly. Very impressive! Subsequently, the manta rays disappear from our purview and we see except for a school of jacks not much more. During the safety stop we encounter 12 dolphins, two mantas and two silky sharks that come to say goodbye. What a fantastic end of this dive on this beautiful dive site! The other groups also come across a nice hammer shark and two dusky sharks.


Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 4


diving el boiler san benedicto

Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 4



Diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto


At this time of the day, dolphins are mostly busy catching food, but at the beginning of the dive we get the opportunity to play with four dolphins. Together we slowly dive down to our maximum depth of 33m (nitrox mixes), where they animate us for a quarter of an hour with their seductive 'belly dance'. At 40m depth passes a beautiful hammer shark and during the rise to 12m, we also get accompanied by two mantas. Suddenly, our dive master gives us the signal of a tiger shark, but as we've almost reached our maximum dive time, we can't go back down. The only thing we can see is the silhouette of this mighty shark. What is diving on El Boiler in San Benedicto beautiful.


Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 5


diving el boiler san benedicto

Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 5



Diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto


This time we don't see dolphins on El Boiler, but a beautiful hammer shark, a silky shark and manta rays ensure us of a spectacle. Unfortunately, the visibility is extremely reduced to 20m and to top it off it started raining. Spotting the shy hammerheads and tiger sharks is therefore much more difficult.


Diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto


During our fourth and last dive on El Boiler we have mainly been focussing on spotting sharks. Therefore, we dive deeper into the blue and a bit further away from the rock. This decision turns out to be a success because we see two hunting hammerheads, multiple hunting white tip sharks, Galapagos sharks, a silky shark, a silver tip shark, a dusky shark and a very large rog. The last dive team also spots a tiger shark, but we've missed out on this. The visibility again has reduced and is only 15m. When we come up, a lot of dark clouds have formed and we even see it raining in the far distance.


Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 6


diving el boiler san benedicto

Photos of diving at the dive site El Boiler in San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean 6



In the evening, we are served pasta with scampi and then the crew entertains us with a fun quiz about the Revillagigedo Islands. The one who thinks to know the answer to the question, must show so, by putting up their hands and make the sound of his or her favourite animal. We hear a lot of funny sounds, but the imitation of the sea lion is by far the most hilarious. The atmosphere has never been better! During the last job, we have to put the six dive masters from young to old. That's easier said than done because we need a lot of attempts to find the correct order. In the end the winner may choose between a Belle Amie T-shirt, a cap or a bottle of wine. This was a very successful end of this fantastic diving day.


Saturday 23 December 2017

Sunny weather we had expected in Socorro - Mexico


Today, the weather gods fail totally because we wake up under a grey sky that promises a lot of rain. This isn't the warm and sunny weather we had expected in Socorro - Mexico!


Diving at the dive site Cabo Pearce in Socorro


The dive site Cabo Pearce is a narrow lava-arm with capricious structure, which is heavily overflown with water. During the beginning of our dive we encounter a beautiful hammer shark. What a great start! We also watch two elegant silky sharks, a few white tip sharks and a beautiful stingray chilling on the bottom. The last 15 minutes from our dive a large manta comes to entertain us with all kinds of graceful movements. Due to the weather the visibility only goes to a distance of max. 20m and there's a reasonable strong current. Snorkelling is rather well impossible.


Diving at the dive site Cabo Pearce in Socorro


Again, we dive at Cabo Pearce. At the beginning of the dive we're accompanied by a school of 25 young silver tip sharks, there's not much else to see. In the meantime, it started to rain heavily, the waves of the Pacific Ocean are much larger and the visibility is limited to 15m. This is by far the worst dive of the entire holiday.


Diving at the dive site Cabo Pearce in Socorro


This is the very last dive of this holiday. We spot a beautiful Galapagos shark and at the end of the dive 12 dolphins come to visit us for five minutes of entertainment. Yet a beautiful end of this rainy day!


Photos of diving at the dive site Cabo Pearce in Socorro in the Pacific Ocean


diving cabo pearce socorro

Pictures - photos of diving at the dive site Cabo Pearce in Socorro in the Pacific Ocean



Night snorkelling with silky sharks and dolphins


Around 19.00pm, the large lights on the stern of the Belle Amie are lit to attracts the silky sharks and dolphins. These animals like to hunt for their favourite snacks in the bright lights. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be very hungry today, because apart from some sporadic silky sharks, there is little life to find in the water. The visibility is also very bad and the snorkelers can't even see their own fins. Off from the boat instructions must continuously be given to the snorkelers to know where the silky sharks are located. Even though few animals appear, it's quite an experience swimming around in the dark murky water, without knowing what's going around in and underneath you. Just suitable for the daredevils!


Sunday 24 December 2017

Back to the mainland of Mexico


This night we start the 36-hour journey back to the mainland of Mexico. Which means that today we have plenty of time to relax, to catch up on some sleep and dry the diving equipment.

After lunch, we're presented a video in which our dive master Felipe has joint our best photos and recordings in a playful way. In a few minutes, we relive our most beautiful moments of this dive trip and everyone gets to take home a nice souvenir.

Between 14.00pm and 16.00pm it's 'checkout time' and everyone goes over to Marcella to pay the outstanding bills. Nitrox, rent of the material (diving bottle and lead), consumed alcoholic drinks, port taxes (65 $US per person), but especially the tip for the crew (ca 10% of the total cost) which results in a big bite in our budget. They are, however, worth every single penny, as this year again, the service was provided exceptionally well.

From 17.00pm a few nature documentaries are shown and attentively overserved by the fellow passengers. Since we no longer go diving, we enjoy a tasty margarita in our international company in the meantime. The Israeli group always causes a convivial atmosphere and this evening as well there's a lot of singing.

Around 19.30pm we shuffle our feet under the table, and although anything but a classic Christmas dinner, it isn't less tasty. Since we are far away from the inhabited world, we hardly realize that it's Christmas Eve. It gives us a bit of a double-feeling.

Everyone hangs out at the bar a little longer this evening, but the fatigue of the diving is still in everyone's body. Around 23.00pm, it's 'over and out' and we crawl into our bed. Merry Christmas Everyone!


Monday 25 December 2017

Leave the Nautilus Belle Amie


After a refreshing shower, we mess around and get our luggage together and for the last time head to the dining area for a hearty breakfast. At 9.00am, it's time to leave the Nautilus Belle Amie and say goodbye to the fantastic crew and fellow passengers. Strange, how in such a short time, you can build up friendships such as. Everyone cuddles, wishes and greets as never before.

Then we have to wait on the terrace of Hotel El Ganzo for about 4 hours, because the taxi doesn't come to take us to the airport of Cabo San Jose until 13.00pm. When the taxi arrives, we learn there are only 10 seats, while our group consists of 11 people and the accompanying luggage. Nothing left to do, but putting the suitcases up to the roof to accumulate and hand baggage under our legs. The 11th person can just crouch down somewhere on the side of the bottom. We feel like a group of hunted illegal Mexicans who want to cross the border with the United States! Fortunately, the ride to the airport takes only half an hour (15 $US per person).

Since we neither on the ship, nor at the hotel via online check-in, could retrieve our boarding passes, we still must collect out boarding passes at the airport. As expected, our desired seats next to the aisle are no longer available as with our outward flight, we're referred to the cabin crew to ask if there's any possibility to change seating.

The two-hour Aeromexico flight from Cabo San Jose to Mexico City leaves with a 30-minute delay, making our transfer time very narrow. When we finally land in Mexico City, the ground staff make matters worse by appointing us to the incorrect exit. Which we don't find about until we get to the gate and ask for the opportunity to change our chairs and we're told we're in the wrong terminal. We switch to panic mode because to reach the other terminal, we must first take the air train, go through security again and do a lot of walking in this huge airport. We walk like we're being followed by a bull and when we arrive at the gate, soaking wet, the final call calls out our names. Just in time! Still panting, we ask the flight attendants if it's possible to change chairs, but the KLM flight to Amsterdam is completely full. Change of seat is therefore excluded. In addition, the sound system of one of our seats malfunctions, which makes it very difficult to watch a film. The inconveniences pile up!

After dinner, we take a sleeping pill so that we're able to sleep the majority of the 9-hour flight. The medication works and for a few hours we're send off to dreamland.

When back on the mainland of Schiphol in Amsterdam, we find out our misery has not ended yet. We don't see our luggage appear on the conveyor belt. When we ask the ground personnel, it's confirmed that the suitcases have arrived in Amsterdam, but because the label on them says Antwerp (instead of Amsterdam) as final destination, they haven't been put on the belt like the other baggage. We are asked to wait patiently for about 10 minutes to obtain our suitcases, however, we know that always takes longer than expected. After some 'kill'em with kindness', calling here and there, we finally get back our suitcases. All's well that ends well!


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

















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