"The Boiler" at San Benedicto is world-renowned for the up-close and personal encounters divers experience with the Giant Pacific manta ray. This pelagic, which is a relative of the shark, can grow to a wingspan of over twenty feet, yet they are gentle giants. Mantas commonly greet divers upon their arrival and stay as long as there are divers around.

The Solmar V has made more than 300 trips to the Socorro Islands since 1992. The crew has kept extensive notes identifying each manta by the markings on their bodies. They have established a special relationship with many of them and have a tremendous respect and admiration for these animals. Riding or chasing the mantas is not allowed. The mantas initiate the interaction by approaching the divers. If they like you they will return and again and again. This creates a truly magical experience for everyone.

The mantas are only some of the large animals seen at San Benedicto. At "The Canyon" divers have spotted schooling hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, duskies, white tips, dolphins and even an occasional humpback whale or whale shark.

Photographer Michele Westmorland captures two giant mantas as they play at "The Canyon".