From the very beginning the islands showed us the power they had. Our check dive in Las Cuevas had calm surface conditions but as soon as we descended the strong current took hold. We found protection among the large boulders of the site and spotted many oceanic stingrays buried in the sandy bottom with plenty of small electric rays gliding by. As we passed through the caves nobody knew to take first photos of the 6 white tips resting on the bottom or the group of huge lobsters hanging from the ceiling. A fast paced dive set the tone for the following morning.
Again with ideal conditions we started the first full day of diving still at San Benedicto Island diving the Boiler. The morning was dominated by playful dolphins showing us how to handle the fast current. As always these ever smiling animals were curios of our small groups of divers and delighted in teasing us with there graceful moves. As the day went on, Oceanic, Chevron and Black Mantas showed up in force and totally stole the show. For some time we had 5 mantas slowly circling our group, it really doesn’t get much better for a first day.
The 2nd and 3rd dive days were spent out at Roca Partida to make the most of the good weather window we had a available. During both days the current was changing directions so often that we never knew where the next sharks would arrive from! The Silver Tip and large Galápagos sharks were constantly soaring through the massive schools of Jacks forcing them to continually to change their pattern in the water which made for a wonderful display. On most dives we saw large schools of smaller Tuna passing by in the blue, sometimes for up to 10 minutes they just kept on passing by. The huge Tuna ‘Big Sam’ was patrolling the shallow areas on the second day and giving us some real close passes. We had seen a few Hammerheads during the first day but it wasn’t until the second the schools of them came out of the distance and allowed us a closer look. After these close up encounters everybody on board said goodbye to Roca with happy smiles on their faces.
Day 4 and we were at Socorro Island and at Cabo Pearce for 3 dives before the check in at the Naval Base. Beginning the day we were checked out by a small pod of dolphins, they were very tentative and kept some distance as they had 1 young they were protecting in the group. From then on the day was spent glimpsing Hammerheads passing by and waiting for that evasive large school to materialize out of the rushing current.
Another day and a different Island where we had El Canõn all to ourselves. Within the first 30 seconds of the first dive we were greeted by a large dolphin in the act of chasing down an Amber Jack. Dolphins again for the second dive and a graceful black manta. For the whole day the action at the cleaning station was great, Silver tips of all sizes circling over the rocks mixed with large Galápagos and a couple of large black tips out in the distance. The hammerheads were passing close to the wall itself but once we ventured into the blue we started to see the larger schools of 30+.
We spent the night at the Boiler and again had the site all to ourselves. Jumping in the water at 7am making our descent everybody was looking around for the dolphins we had already seen on the surface and could hear. While we were all looking out into the blue the first dolphin had snuck up behind us and was in a vertical position watching us! Once we saw him he began to come closer and play with the group right before the rest of the small pod arrived. After playing for 10 minutes the dolphins vanished in to the blue just as the mantas showed up to put on their show. That was exactly how the day continued, full of Mantas!
Finishing the trip we were back in El Canõn being protected from the strong wind that had picked up. Life underwater carried on as usual and we were treated to encounters with 6 different species of shark. A couple of Mantas flew by and even on one of the dives a dolphin was so busy hunting it swam right through one group and didn’t even give a second look as it relentlessly chased down a Jack.
Another great trip with a wonderful group, we had birthday celebrations and new friends made for life.