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Whale Shark Encounters in Mexico
Tiger Beach tiger shark diving
Great hammerhead shark diving
Beluga Whale Diving
giant manta dive at Isla Socorro
humpback whale diving
sailfish diving
killer whale orca encounter
Dive with Great Whites, Sevengill Sharks, Makos, Blue Sharks, 5 species of Catsharks and Spotted Gully Sharks in False Bay, South Africa.
sardine run diving
Salmon shark diving in Alaska
 
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SOCORRO ISLAND

MARCH 2018 TRIP REPORT

 

Diving with Mantas in Socorro.

 

Socorro March 2018 in a nutshell: Great conditions, World class Manta action, plenty of sharks, friendly dolphins and rivers of yellowfin tuna.

 

Diving with Mantas in Socorro.

 

San Benedicto Island

As usual, our first dives were at the The Canyon; a sharky dive site off San Benedicto Island. San Benedicto is the closest of the three islands that we visit so its a good first dive if you just want to get there and get wet.
The highlights on our first day included getting buzzed by silky sharks, our first manta fly-by and an encounter with an enormous longtail stingray that was surrounded by whitetip reef sharks.

 

Diving with stingrays and sharks in Socorro.

 

After the dives we snorkelled off the back of the liveaboard with around a dozen silky sharks. This led to some excellent photography opportunities as the sun sank into the Eastern Pacific.

 

Silky shark diving at sunset

 

Roca Partida

We knew the weather was supposed to deteriorate as the week went on on, so we sailed overnight towards Roca Partida; an exposed pinnacle that is great for pelagics but not so great when the seas pick up.

 

roca partida.

 

The action around the rock was pretty good; quite a few Galapagos and Silky Sharks and scores of resident whitetip reef sharks that swarmed the pinnacle.

 

Whitetip Reef Shark diving at Roca Partida

 

Whitetips are very social sharks. When not hunting, they settled onto small rock ledges and took naps together.

 

Whitetip reef sharks at Roca partida

 

We often see large yellowfin tuna hunting at Roca Partida. This year was no different except that there were enormous individuals chasing schools of jacks and a monster school of smaller yellowfin tuna that swum in a river of fish at the edge of visibility. It was a refreshing spectacle to see so many tuna in one place. Hope for the future!

 

Yellowfin tuna hunting.

 

Diving with schooling yellowfin tuna.

 

While I was chasing tuna the DM took the group out into the blue to look for schooling hammerheads. The hammers were there but stayed deeper than usual, perhaps in response to warmer water which they are not fond of.

Close to the surface, I found a layer of large wahoo hunting in small groups. Other than the hammers, it felt as though everything was a bit easier to approach on this trip.

 

Scuba diving with wahoo and other pelagic predators.

 

When the sun was low, I also tried my hand at blackwater photography. This is the art of shooting critters that rise from the depths every evening. This nightly event is considered the largest migration of animals on earth. It wasn't actually dark so I was limited towards what I could shoot but these salps made for some fun photo subjects.

 

Blackwater diving with salps.

 

Blackwater diving in Mexico.

 

Isla Socorro

After two days at The Rock, we moved on to Socorro Island; the largest landmass in the Revillagigedo Archipelago. We dropped anchor at Cabo Pearce; a famous spot with multiple manta cleaning stations. It is also a great place to bump into friendly bottlenose dolphins.
Neither species disappointed us :)

 

Diving with friendly bottlenose dolphins in Socorro.

 

Diving with Mantas in Socorro.

 

After two dives with the mantas and dolphins we relocated to Punta Tosca. Exploring a new site in the shallows, we came across some large silkies and a few very cute baby Galapagos Sharks.

 

Baby Galapagos shark in Socorro.

 

While exploring the area, I also stumbled on a couple of giant electric rays. Although they are called ‘giants‘ most are only 50cm long.

 

Diving with giant elelctric rays in Socorro.

 

As the sun sank into the sea, we jumped in again with the silkies. This time, I concentrated on seeing how many sharks I could fit in a single shot.

 

Snorkelling with silky sharks in Socorro Island.

 

The Boiler

That night we made our way back to San Benedicto. The following day we dove with lots of giant mantas at The Boiler.
The Boiler rarely dissappoints. It is a large flat topped pinnacle that invariably attracts giant manta rays. Officially the rays are there to get their parasites removed by the resident cleaner fishes but the mantas seem to spend more time playing with divers that actually getting cleaned.
 

Diving with Mantas in Socorro.


It was a great day. So good in fact, that on our last dive day we decided to stay at the boiler and squeeze in another three manta dives.
After the final dive, the crew spotted some humpbacks and the guests scrambled into the zodiacs and caught up with them. After a quick dip with the humpies, everyone retired to the liveaboard, happily exhausted, ready to relax on the way back to Cabo.

 

Snorkelling with humpback whales at Socorro Island.

 

The Best of the Rest

there was plenty more to see while we dove if you could drag your eyes away from the big animals. There were far too many to include in one trip report but here are a few that I managed to get snaps of:

 

Scuba diving trip to Socorro.

 

Diving with twinspot octopus in Socorro.

 

Diving with moorish idols and other fish in Socorro.

 

Sheephead wrasse at Roca Partida.

 

Mexican lookdown at Isla Socorro.

 

Diving with cottonmouth jacks at Roca Partida.

 

Another great trip to Socorro!

Without exception, it was a great trip. That is the beauty of Socorro; every trip is different but the encounters are always world class. I am looking forward to leading our next trip. Sadly that will not be until March 2020. I hope you can join us there: Socorro Manta Diving 2020

 

Diving with Mantas in Socorro.

 

A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS FROM BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS FUNDS

THE PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT

predatorsinperil.org

 

 

Snorkel with Japanese Giant Salamanders

American crocodile diving

 

 

READ THE LATEST:

Socorro Diving  Report March 2018

 

Andy Murch Trip Leader

Andy Murch

EXPEDITION LEADER

Andy Murch is a fanatical big animal diver.

He has photographed and dived with more sharks than most people on this planet and he's very good at it.

Andy's images and shark stories have appeared in hundreds of books and magazines around the world from titles as varied as Canadian Geographic, Scuba Diving, FHM, Digital Photography,  and the Journal of Zoology.

Andy is the Creator of the ever expanding Shark and Ray Field Guide on Elasmodiver

 

When not running big animal expeditions or on photographic assignments, Andy lives and dives on Vancouver Island, Canada

 

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Predators in Peril

Andy is also the driving force behind the PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT which shines a spotlight on many endangered species of sharks and rays that are largely overlooked by mainstream conservation groups. Predators In Peril is entirely funded by Big Fish Expeditions.

 

Find out more here:

 

pip.org

 

Predators in Peril Project