After four years in Socorro, I have learned two things: firstly, every trip delivers completely different encounters. And secondly, although it always feels like it couldn’t possibly get any better than last time, it frequently does!
This year, the humpback whales stole the show. There were humpies everywhere we went. In fact, it was rare to look around from the deck of the liveaboard and not be able to spot a whale or two swimming by or breaching or tail slapping. More importantly, we were lucky enough to have multiple underwater encounters.
A couple of times, our divers saw humpies randomly swimming past the dive sites that we were exploring, twice mothers brought their calves over to see our divers on their safety stops, and on a number of occasions we managed to slip in on snorkel to capture images of families of humpbacks on the move. Each encounter was an unforgettable experience!
This year’s trip started as usual with a quick dive at the Canyon on San Benedicto with a small group of scalloped hammerheads and a brief encounter with a tiger shark. That night we sailed onward to Roca Partida; usually the highlight of any trip to the Revillagigedo Archipelago because of all the sharks that hunt there.
This year the action at the rock was relatively slow but the resident whitetip sharks were still tightly packed on their volcanic ledges, Galapagos sharks, silkies and giant tunas still made random appearances and we saw huge schools of fish and some sizable schools of scalloped hammerheads off in the blue. We also had our first in-water humpy encounter there, but still we decided to move on after one day at Roca to see what Socorro Island had on offer.
Socorro was where we had our best humpback encounters including a snorkel with two adult whales escorting a very small calf along with two bottlenose dolphins riding the pressure waves in front of the adult whales. We also enjoyed some great reef diving at Punta Tosca and Rock Oneil. The latter was a new site for me with great topography, racing currents and our first giant mantas of the trip.
Although there was much more we could have explored around Socorro, we ran overnight back to San Benedicto to rendezvous with another liveaboard because we had a broken compressor – normally a showstopper on a liveaboard but fortunately we were able to fill tanks with the help of 3 other boats so we barely lost any dives during the week. Moving to San Benedicto was a very good decision because ‘The Boiler’ (a world famous site for manta action) was on fire this year!
We had huge pods of dolphins, we had 11 different mantas at the same time, we had amazing visibility and we even saw a few hammerheads. For three days we conducted dive after dive inside a huge cloud of megafauna. We also managed to do a couple more dives at the Canyon (including one dive that was very sharky) but the boiler was just too good to leave alone for very long.