Tales of Ocean Giants!
The big, beautiful manta in this image was photographed last month at the Socorro Islands, off the west coast of Mexico. Giant Mantas, like this one, often reach up to 7m in 'wing span' and can weigh up to two tonnes!
The lady behind the camera was Anne-Marie - who many of you know from her time as dive guide for us in the Maldives. Along with her husband Matt, she hosted our Exclusive Tour to the Socorro Islands in April.
Scroll down to read her trip report.
SEA LIONS IN LA PAZ
The Scuba Tours Worldwide 2016 Socorro expedition started a few days early for some intrepid travellers who flew into La Paz and day-dived in the Sea of Cortez. You go to La Paz for the sea lions and they really were the stars! Curious juveniles played with divers, sneaking up behind photographers and tapping them on the head or playfully swimming up and down in bubbles. Larger females were too interested in playing with each other or swimming quickly past divers as they set out on hunting expeditions. The large male beach-masters just watched from a distance and honked loudly to remind us to keep out of their territories. We also visited scenic reefs and wrecks and tried to snorkel with the super-speedy whale sharks in the 2 metre deep lagoon, we had to swim fast and it was great exercise and good fun.
SHARKS AT THE CANYON
The main group gathered at the Holiday Inn in Cabo San Jose’. We enjoyed the all-inclusive drinks and food and most chilled out next to the pool looking forward to our Socorro adventure. Early next morning we transferred to the nearby marina and joined the Rocio Del Mar and were warmly welcomed by the crew who helped load the seemingly huge amount of dive and photo equipment on-board.
We set off soon after 9:30 and arrived at San Benedicto around 11:00 the next day. Sea conditions limited us to diving the southern area of the island and we were offered 7 dives at the Canyon over the next two days. We saw sharks on every dive ranging from silky sharks hanging around in the shallows to solo or small groups of juvenile and adult silvertips over the rocks and single and even large schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks over blue water.
Other highlights at the Canyon included an incredibly friendly giant manta who stopped to play for 25 minutes and a torpedo ray. What appeared to be the elusive tiger shark was seen in the distance by one group. Every dive was different, you just didn’t know what you were going to get.
CABO PEARCE AND PUNTA TOSCA
We then travelled to Socorro island and spent two days diving at Cabo Pearce and Punta Tosca where the highlights were the nosy dolphins, several mantas including our first meeting with a black manta, Galapagos sharks and several long-tail stingrays. The weather conditions continued to be windy preventing us travelling to Roca Partida.
THE FAMOUS 'BOILER'
We travelled back to San Benedicto to spend a day diving at the famous Boiler. We had exceptional manta action throughout the day and saw at least 9 different giant mantas including the beautiful “Cerralvo” who was there throughout the late morning and just swam from one diver to the next checking us out and playing in the bubbles. Between manta shows we photographed the white tip sharks and the school of jacks. Some lucky divers were visited by dolphins.
The wind dropped enough to make a comfortable crossing to Roca Partida where we spent two days and made 7 dives around this tiny rock in the middle of nowhere! We saw heaps (literally) of white tip sharks, Galapagos and Silky sharks, sleek silvertips and many hammerheads. Huge yellowfin tunas and long wahoos swam past as they hunted. We had mantas in and out during most dives, short visits by sneaky dolphins and just enjoyed the massive schools of big eye jacks and cottonmouth trevallies. The diving here is wild as we needed to dive into big seas and be careful to avoid the enormous swell at the ends of the rock. Most of the time was spent over deep water looking for big stuff and this was equally frustrating and rewarding and again, every dive was different.
ROCIO DEL MAR
After 7 days diving we made the 36 hour return journey and used the time to catch up on photo editing, book reading and sleeping whilst enjoying the excellent food and hospitality of the Rocio del Mar crew.
It was a wild and exhilarating trip with the highlights being the extra special giant manta shows and the variety of sharks seen - if that's what you want to see, then Socorro is the place for you!
If Anne-Marie's report has tempted you ... our Exclusive Tours page shows the dates for other Exclusive Tours to Socorro - click here.
Or, if you can't make one of our group tours, our Sales Team can tailor a trip to your specific dates - just ask!
For more images from Socorro, see our Pinterest site - click here.