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Published: February 13th 2013
As a human being, you allways try to do better...and when it comes to discover....to go one more step further. Thanks to Chip, I had put for the last few months the Socorro Archipelago way high on my diving wishlist. I've so far dived in 39 countries and my top list would read something like Galapagos, Palau, Protea Bank (South Africa), Tubataha (Philippines), PNG or even Sipadan...all done! So what was going to be a week diving on the Solmar V in Socorro, Mexico?
It was pretty impressive...but I'm still not sure it's now my prefered place to dive in the world....yes, I'm a spoiled kid is the way you can put it....but if you have never heard about this...let's say that there is not much better in the world when it comes to dive with the big fishes!
So how do you write an entry about Socorro without making it 3000 words and way too boring to read...let's speak about where is that place that you have never heard about...than we'll go on the boat and the guests...than maybe going
through the diving...
Socorro...is in the middle of nowhere....well, in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific out of the coast of Mexico. It's simply a 24 hours ride from Cabos San Lucas. I first spent the night in Cabos after my two flights from Miami. Let me tell you, there is not much to write about this place. It reminds me of the South of Spain...a lot of buildings...and as Puerto Banus, not much local culture here. Bear in mind, I would have stop here 2-3 days if I had my golf bag...they have some seriously luxury hotels...with pretty amazing golf courses....but that's where the good part of Cabo stops!
We board the Solmar V for 8 days...good crew of 10...a group of 11 russians...and an international band of 10.
The crew were pretty amazing. Great divemasters, and great food....drinks...and panga drivers....a really fun and cool crew!
The russians....were sadly...very russians...and not in the nice way. 10 young roosters and a trophy girlfriend trying to show off their big toys....but who could dive no longer than 25 minutes on average...The best part was when in the middle
of the trip they got bored...and wanted to chartered a private jet to the military base of Socorro to go gambling in Las Vegas...not kidding. If only they would have been proper diver....but that was a complete joke!
Good news, the crew was great and could deal with these guys. So there were 10 others of us on the boat...english, welsh, my cabin buddy a canadian, spanish and 3 americans....and that was a team! I don't remember having so much fun on a liveaboard....bear in mind...PNG with only four great guests was something too back in July 2012! We dived a lot...there is no night diving in Socorro...so yes from sunset it was another party most evening! Hope to dive again with many of them pretty soon!
So now the diving...5 days of diving ( and two days of sailing just to get there)... 19 dives. The idea is to dive three islands...Isla San Benedicto, Roca Partida and Socorro. Sadly the winds were too strong, and we never made it for Roca Partida...another excuse for me to come back!
What you don't have here is...well...there are close to no corals...no nudibranches,
no frog fishes...and anything that could be called macro...doesn't exist around here. Oh yes, and if you are wondering....this is serious diving....better be easy with stong surge, tide...and your air consumption. For info, out of 21 divers...only one idiot on air, everybody else is on nitrox...and yes, I'm the idiot...still in some kind of diving shape! But hey, water was between 24 and 26 degrees....that's pretty warm...specially with my 7mm!
What we had was....13 dives out of 19 with mantas...and 4 dives with dolphins. Should I say that most of the time the mantas were staying with us for at least 20 minutes...and that they were up to 5 of them on any dive...so I have my filing of mantas for a while.
We had also the dolphins...on 4 dives...once they only stay for 2 minutes...but the 3 other times, you speak of 10 to 20 minutes encounter...one time at the exact same time, we had the mantas...and this is simply out of this world...there is nothing more fun in term of diving....well....maybe 500 hammerheads right on you can compete (done, Galapagos). With the dolphins and the mantas interacting with you....for more than 10
minutes....you need to remind yourself that you are on air...not a fish...and that you need keep track of your air consumption...and your depth....because this is just out of this wolrd...for this experience, thank Chip!
Than there were the sharks...silkies, galapagos, hammerhead, silver, white tips...they were all around. On average 10 of them minimum per dive. Being a regular of South Africa, 10 sharks on a dive is a little meager for me to be blown away...so shark interaction won't receive more than a 7/10.
We also saw heaps of eels, lobsters, stingrays, electric rays and school of fishes. One of the funniest moment must have been to jump in a baitball...thousand of fishes scared like hell...when silky, galapagos and silver sharks are making a feast...plus hundreds of tunas...all hunting right below us snorkeling in the pack. The pics are not great as the action is way too frantic...you speak of tunas and sharks hitting us trying to get at the fished...not for the faint hearted!
My only disappointement must have been the whales. We saw them all around the place while on the boat, but we never saw them while diving.
On two dives, they were around, singing all along...we tried to find them...no luck...I'll have to be back!
This is it...I seem to even managed to keep this blog short. The pictures will speak for themselves. I will be back on the Solmar V. Galapagos was a one time, but I believe Socorro is different. Because you encounter only the big ones...there is a clear element of chances. The russians had less than 5 minutes encounter with dolphins...total time, when I was clocking way above 45 minutes...and we were on the same boat. I missed a group of 15 hammerheads...who cares, I had 500 last november...so luck does count here!
So when next...well, some will laugh...but this could be a perfect graduation present for Leslie and Tiffany...as they have 2 years difference...I could even do it twice...will have to wait no more than 6 or 8 years...that sound like tomorrow!
There will be less diving trip in 2013 for me...because there is not only diving in life...but trust me, more diving refered as "way out of this world" coming pretty soon! Because if you dive less often...doesn't it need to be
way better?? We are only humans!
So now I invite you to click on the below link, this is a 5 minutes of our little week done by a professionnal....and yes you can find a direction connection with that video and my little video of the dolphins....and yes, the idiot playing the manta is only me!
Next entry, back to South America with Leslie and Tiffany...and a lot fo smiles! And Happy Valentines by the way!
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