2007 Socorro Season Review

 

Mantas continued to soar through
the 2007 Socorro Season

photo by Kevin Moore
'06 Photo Contest Winner

The Solmar V has just finished its last spring cruise to the Socorro Islands, marking our 14th consecutive year of exploring the underwater and topside wilderness of the Revillagigedos Archipelago. 

Each year we learn more about the islands, add new dive sites, and explore exciting alternatives to offer our guests on future cruises. The marine encounters, like the tide, ebb and flow from year to year. Our crew logs the diving highlights of each trip, and at the end of each season we review them to get an idea of how to plan for next year.

Topping the list of new encounters this past season was a noticeable increase in the amount of Tiger sharks we saw underwater, followed by an unusual amount of schooling hammerhead action earlier in the year. Tigers are rare, and while we can not say they were common this year, they were spotted on more trips than ever before. Usually in the company of other sharks (Hammerheads and Galapagos Sharks, typically) so maybe we‚re just getting better in our Field ID of these magnificent big animals!
Hammerheads are common in the Revillagigedos, but large schooling action is often a hit and miss proposition. This year we hit more than we missed, but looking back over our many years of exploring we see certain years are better for schooling than others. This pattern will likely continue over future years.

Mantas continue to be a consistent standout in the all star cast of marine encounters in Socorro. Our best Manta hotspot, The Boiler, is usually as close to a guarantee as you can get in the underwater world, and when we found mantas at the Boiler we usually saw more than usual (4,5 or more at one time).  
There were, however, several trips when there were no mantas at the Boiler! But, we checked our logs, and found giant mantas at alternate sites we‚ve used over the years, and we‚re happy to report the manta population in Socorro appears to be very healthy and growing.  

Wild dolphin encounters continue to increase in frequency (nearly every trip, several encounters) AND duration, with the dolphins coming closer and staying longer. Not only at Roca Partida, but also at San Benedicto and Socorro. 

Plus, and this is amazing and new, even to us after our 14th season, the dolphins are mixing with the mantas on many occasions! Where do you point the camera? Many guests this year got images of mantas and dolphins in a single shot, and we certainly hope to see some of them in this year's photo and video contests (details below). This was high voltage wilderness diving at its best. 

Humpback season was notable for our topside encounters, which were frequent. Underwater, with SCUBA, it was "light" by previous season standards. We're still exploring our snorkeling opportunities with humpbacks, and we will continue to proceed slowly and with caution when interacting with the mating and calving whales. Whale Season continues to be popular with our guests and runs from late January through early April.

Ending our 14th season on a high note, our Whale Shark encounters were also up this year, and we had a better than average year of diving with the largest fish in the sea! All of our November and December trips (except New Year's) had whale shark encounters!


This article is from the Solmar V eNEWS Article Archive

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