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February 5th, 2020 – February 13th, 2020 (Socorro Islands) #TripReport

February 5th, 2020 – February 13th, 2020 (Socorro Islands) #TripReport


Feb 6, 2020
Dive Day 1: San Benedicto
Site: Fondeadero
Visibility: Moderate, 15m/50ft
Current: Moderate
Water Temp: 23C/72F
We arrived at San Benedicto Island and anchored at Fundeadero for our groups first check out dive of the trip. We sorted out weights and descended down onto the dive site, wherein we had a great dive with lots of reef fish, moray eel, electric stingrays, southern stingrays, octopus, and even two giant mantas passing by overhead. We surfaced just before a beautiful sunset, excited for the dives to come.

Feb 7, 2020
Dive day 2: San Benedicto
Site: El Cañon
Visibility: Good, 25m/85ft
Current: High to Low throughout the day
Water Temp: 23C/72F
We started out jumping in at the Cañon with a strong current from the west. Staying low to swim into it we were greeted with several passing hammerheads. On the safety stop we had 6 Bottlenose dolphins swim past one after the other. They were on the move but slowed just enough for us to get a good look. Dive 2 brought us an amazing manta show, with three very playful chevron mantas swimming in circles around us again and again. The last two dives of two dives of the day we had good sightings of hammerhead schools as well as several huge yellowfin tuna passing by in the blue.

Feb 8, 2020
Dive day 3: Roca Partida
Visibility: Excellent, 30m/100ft
Current: Moderate to High
Water Temp: 24C/74F
The morning at Roca was beautiful, calm seas and good current. We had sightings of hammerheads, Silvertips and big Galapagos sharks, as well as a massive school of skipjack tuna followed by a silky shark. Sam the yellowfin tuna came by making several fast passes. All three dives of the day we were met with the same two playful mantas. They were first dancing and doing somersaults with eachother and then came to play in our bubble streams, doing barrel rolls and giving everyone of our divers a special manta moment. We had humpback whales throughout the day on the surface, one even came up for a breath ride in front of the Solmar V as we were readying to up anchor.

Feb 9, 2020
Dive day 4: Socorro Island
Site: Roca O’Neill & Punta Tosca
Visibility: Good, 25m/85ft
Current: Moderate to High
Water Temp: 24C/74F
The surface conditions were exceptionally calm at Roca O’Neill as we dropped in for our first dive. We explored the cavern openings full of resting white tip reef sharks and lobsters. We turned around to exit and saw three bottlenose dolphins swim right by the opening. They hung around us briefly before darting off into the blue. We kept swimming in their direction and saw several passing hammerheads and a curious silky shark. Meanwhile another group from the Solmar V played with a curious black manta for much of the dive. On the way back to the boat in the zodiacs we spotted a humpback whale and readied our masks and fins for a chance to swim with it. We were able to jump in the water just as it was swimming towards us, giving everyone an amazing view. Such a privileged experience to have. Our second dive brought a few more hammerheads and a very playful chevron manta that joined us all the way til surfacing, and then hung around under the panga doing somersaults, allowing to jump back in for a snorkel. We then went for a panga ride around the western side of Socorro Island while the Solmar moved over to Punta Tosca where we had our third dive. We had a strong current so ended up doing a long drift dive, with a few hammerhead sightings along the way.

Feb 10, 2020
Dive day 5: Socorro Island
Site: Cabo Pearce
Visibility: Variable, 12m/40ft-20m/60ft
Current: Strong to Moderate
Water Temp: 24C/74F
We dropped in on our first dive with dolphins straight away. The current was quite strong heading to the northeast and we saw them pass by quickly. We waited a bit to see if they would return and instead of the dolphins passed a big black manta, that lingered a bit in front of us before continuing on its way down the wall. We made our way with the drift down to the manta cleaning station and encountered another chevron manta hovering above who played in our bubbles for quite sometime. The second and third dive brought more great manta encounters
and some distant whale sounds, and several Silvertip sharks hunting in the deep. The last dive of the day we had a big hammerhead come very close to us at the receiver.

Feb 11, 2020
Dive day 6: San Benedicto
Site: El Boiler
Visibility: Excellent, 30m/100ft
Current: Low to Moderate
Water Temp: 24C/74F
We ended our trip at the Boiler with some incredible dives. The first dive we had 6 very playful bottlenose dolphins that hung around with us for most of the dive, as well as 4 mantas that kept returning to play in our bubbles. The second dive we had one very curious dolphin on its own hanging out vertical and releasing a slow stream of bubbles from its blowhole, and the mantas came and swam over top of it! We had again the same 4 mantas that were chain feeding all together and doing somersaults. We didn’t know where to look as the mantas danced around us and the dolphin swam amongst us. We thought it couldn’t get any better, until on the surface interval from the Solmar we spotted a pod of False Orcas hunting and breaching from the bow. Excitedly we hopped into the pangas and there they were as we descended! Just below the surface they passed by us making loud vocalizations. We saw about 7 individuals in the pod and could hear them throughout the remainder of the dive. If this encounter wasn’t enough, after about 20 minutes a big Tiger shark emerged from the deep. It swam parallel to us for long enough to really see its stripes and then turned head on towards us! Everyone got a great view just before it turned away and disappeared into the blue. The Boiler provided an amazing end to a great trip!

Sarah Pulitzer
PADI IDCS Instructor #292791
IANTD Full Cave Diver #137698


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