Socorro Season Openers Rock

November/December 2006

The SOLMAR V has just returned from our first two "season opening" cruises to the Socorro Islands (officially called the Revillagigedos Archipelago, but since no one we know can pronounce this, we call them the Socorro Islands or simply "Socorro"). 

This was the 14th year we‚ve made this return voyage, and even with the remarkable conditions we‚ve seen over the years, this year topped the all-time list of Socorro "season opening" diving adventures.

It started, as it often does, with fabulous encounters with Giant Mantas at "the Boiler" on San Benedicto Island (one of the three islands we usually visit on Socorro trips). The mantas were out in force, bigger and more curious than ever. The giant mantas, for those who have not been to Socorro, come to shallow water spots to be cleaned of parasites by colorful adult Clarion Angels and other fish.

Somewhere along the way, the Giant Mantas just came to accept that divers were a part of the landscape, and started approaching us in open water. They swim by, then approach closely, and flare their wingtips right over us, just as they do at the cleaning station. This is NOT an "on your knees, don‚t move" type of manta encounter.  These are open blue water encounters with free swimming mantas. The photo ops are incredible, but the feeling is even better. Up close and personal on the manta‚s terms in blue water.

So after a couple of dives, we departed for Roca Partida (Split Rock) the second island we visit. Roca is really just a giant rock sticking up out of the ocean.  Sometimes it rocks with big animal marine life, and other times it ‚s quiet and only home to giant schools of fish and the resident friendly dolphins. 

Well, on this trip, we might as well have thrown away our log books, since no one will believe us anyway. The shark activity was phenomenal.  We saw many different species of sharks (galapagos, hammerhead, silvertips, whitetips, silkies, and more), and the activity was exciting and intense. But, we might have been able to sneak that one into our log books since we‚ve seen this type of activity at Roca on many other trips.

But, it was the seven whale shark encounters in two days that tipped the scales toward "lies, damn lies, and statistics". But it was true. Now mantas and sharks we‚ve come to expect on every trip, but whale sharks are not seen on every trip! Seven in two days, even for Socorro, was exceptional, and the divers had smiles as wide as the crossing from Cabo to Socorro!

Our logbooks in tatters, these 2006 "Season Openers" to Socorro" stretched even the crew‚s ability to take every day "one big animal encounter at a time".  The final straw was donning snorkels to swim with what appeared to be (from the surface) giant dolphins. And, in a way, they were! These were False Killer Whales (large cousins of the dolphins), measuring from 12-16 feet in length. A school of about 25 or so.

While we have seen False Killer Whales before in Socorro, it has been rare, but even our most experienced and jaded Socorro passengers have come to expect the "unexpected" when cruising in the Revillagidedos. "Wilderness is The Ultimate Luxury", and the Socorro Islands certainly did not disappoint us this year on our inaugural season openers.  Please join us for some fantastic wilderness diving on board the luxury Solmar V this year.


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