This was our fifth trip to Socorro aboard the Nautilus Explorer, and it was one of the better ones. The boats left from San Jose Del Cabo, rather that Cabo San Lucas, so the trip from the airport is only 20 minutes, but the boat ride is longer. We stayed at the Tropicana Inn, near a newly built shopping plaza; the hotel is older, but clean, has a very nice pool area, and the food was awesome. We’ll stay there again next time. The meeting place was El Ganzo, a $10/person, 5-minute taxi ride away from the Tropicana, and where the boats dock. After spending the afternoon at El Ganzo, we finally boarded the boat around 8:30pm and were off.
Half way there, we were notified that the boat was turning back; a compressor part had come loose and hit a divemaster, cutting his head and slamming him into another piece of equipment. Luckily there was a doctor on board, who monitored him, and after two hours declared him sound, so we turned around again, back toward Socorro, where we arrived a few hours behind schedule.
We did 5 days of diving. There are more boats than ever, and the dive sites are not that big, so there is some jockeying for dive times. We ended up doing a 6am dive at Roca Partida on the last day—not doing that again, as there was not much to see at that hour. The day we went to the island of Socorro to check in with the Navy we were only able to do 3 dives plus the night silky shark snorkel.
Our first dives took place at the Canyon, where over 4 dives we saw white tips, lobsters, eels, octopus, and a couple mantas, one staying with us an entire dive. We ended up under the boat on one dive, where there were schooling fish and several silkies hanging out. The second day we headed to Socorro and spent two days diving at Punta Tosca and Cabo Pierce, Cabo Pierce being the most interesting spot. We saw mantas being cleaned by dozens of Clarion angelfish, and butterflyfish sheltering from the current. On one dive I saw octopus, eels, a hammerhead close by, and a school of 10 dolphins that came over looking to play for a few minutes—awesome, to see the video clip, click here.
The last two days were spent at Roca Partida, where there was a total of 5 boats at one point. Each boat managed to keep their divers on a strict schedule so there were never more than a few minutes of overlapping dive groups under water. We started wondering if we were going to visit The Boiler at all, but were told that there were no mantas at The Boiler and that the visibility at The Canyon was down to 15 feet—that made Roca sound pretty good. Divemaster Maya led us out close to the blue and we saw silvertips, Galapagos sharks, one turtle, hammerhead schools, silkies, silvertips, and mobulas, one of the two best dives of the week! Tying with that dive was the appearance of a 30-foot whale shark, which we were able to spend quality time with. And one dive, my husband & I started swimming around the island, not seeing very much, but when we got almost completely around, we were amid all kinds of sharks and a young, very exuberant black manta spent several minutes swirling around us.
There were familiar crew members along with new ones, all interacting well together, always busy and smiling. Enrique was our chef again, and we were happy to partake of his fabulous feasts!
Even before we left for this trip, I booked another in 2020. I can hardly wait!