Diving In Socorro
Diving in Socorro Island has become one of the most popular live aboard diving experiences in the world, Socorro is part of the Revillagigedo archipelago, this group of islands is located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, approximately 250 nautical miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the tip of the Baja peninsula.
These islands have been compared to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador or Cocos Island in Costa Rica because of the big animal encounters they provide, such as giant mantas, humpback whales, playful dolphins, tuna and over 7 shark species give you the best animal diving on earth! On occasion we also see orcas, false killer whales, bait balls and plenty of other surprises!
The Revillagigedo Archipelago consist of 4 islands – San Benedicto Island, Socorro Island, Roca Partida and Clarion. They are wild, remote and unpredictable.
San Benedicto Diving
San Benedicto Island is the third largest in the Revillagigedo group at about 2.6 miles long. It has two prominent peaks, one that is very obviously a volcanic crater. The walls of the volcano are eroded, leaving vertical ridges from top to bottom. The crater is almost 1/2 a mile wide. At the base of this volcano is a lava delta that reaches out into the ocean. The north half of the island is green with vegetation.
One of our diver’s favorite sites here is “El Boiler”, a large pinnacle that reaches from the depths to within several feet of the surface. Its small enough to swim around several times in one dive and is large enough to be a favorite gathering point, attracting marine life from miles around.
The Boiler is known as the home of the world-famous Giant Pacific Manta, this diving spot is perfect for up-close and personal encounters with the. Giant mantas can grow to a wingspan of over twenty feet, yet they are gentle creatures. On a regular dive in San Benedicto we can also have humpback whales, whale sharks, and schooling hammerheads encounters.
What makes this site so magical is the congregation of this friendly Giant Pacific Mantas. They often greet our divers even before we get into the water and swim with us all day. Divers may observe many mantas who come here to be cleaned by the endemic clarion angelfish. They seem to enjoy swimming closely over divers and stopping directly above to experience the bubble Jacuzzi on their bellies formed by exhaling bubbles from the divers. They often swim from one diver to the next posing for every photographer along the way.
On the other side of the island is “The Canyon”. Here we commonly dive with mantas, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks and silky sharks.
Socorro Island Diving
Socorro Island is our second stop on our Revillagigedo diving adventure.
Diving trips to Socorro Islands started around 1994 but it was not until year 2000 that became popular among wild life enthusiast, divers, underwater photographers and expeditioners.
Socorro Island is about 30 miles south of San Benedicto. The island is about 10 miles by 9 miles in size and is home to the Mexican Naval Station since 1957.
Solmar V usually visits dive sites here which include the Aquarium, Punta Tosca and Cabo Pearce
The island was discovered by Spanish explorer, Hernando de Grijalva and his crew in 1533 and had been rediscovered in 1542 and again in 1608 when it was given its name “Socorro”, meaning “Help”.
In the center of the island rises volcanic Mt. Evermann, who’s top is 1130 meters above sea level. The mountain was named after Dr. Barton Warren Evermann, director of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California in honor of the scientific exploration he promoted there at the beginning of the twentieth century.
It’s most recent eruption was in 1993. The island is covered with low order vegetation—sage, some grass and a dense growth of cactus that grows around the lava outcrops and lines. In September 1997 the island was struck by Hurricane Linda, one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded.
Roca Partida Diving
Our last stop in our Revillagigedo diving expedition is Roca Partida. Our guests commonly encounter schools of hammerheads, white tip sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, giant manta rays, dolphins, an occasional whale shark and even humpback whales visiting from Alaska.
Roca Partida is a small pinnacle located west of Socorro and San Benedicto, about 250 miles south of Cabo San Lucas. It is only 115 feet high and 300 feet from end to end. It’s the smallest island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago.
This stony pillar attracts pelagics and large schools of jacks and tuna. Beneath the surface the wall drops straight down to deep water. There are many shelves and ridges that give refuge to the animals that hide there.
At about 40′ there are large caves where groups of whitetip sharks can be found sleeping most of the time. Depending on the current, is possible to swim around the pinnacle several times in the course of one dive. Other times divers prefer to just hang out in one area and watch the pelagics swim by.
Seasons & Conditions
The Revillagigedo Islands diving trips are only available November through June due to weather conditions. During all these months, giant mantas, playful bottlenose dolphins and sharks are plentiful.
The water temps are 75F – 80F in November, December, and sometimes into January and also in late April, May and June.
In mid-January, February, March and the beginning of April the water varies between around 70F – 74F. The humpback whales visit Socorro during these cooler water months. You can hear these gentle giants singing on almost every dive and as previously mentioned, underwater encounters with these whales are increasing every year.