Big Encounters of Socorro

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The Socorro Islands, located 250 miles off the coast of Mexico, are known for their big pelagic encounters and are a more affordable alternative to Cocos and Galapagos.  UK-based tour operator Scuba Tours Worldwide organised an ‘Exclusive Tour’ to Socorro during the month of March to coincide with humpback whale season … and their Dive Guide, David Allison, lead the trip and shares his experiences in this trip report.

The Islands

Arriving at San Benedicto Island to a dramatic scene of a volcano with lava fields – the backdrop to an ocean where dozens of humpback whales have made a short stop on their migration – is a pretty amazing experience.  Whales breaching and tail slapping calves with their mothers; this is just one of the experiences that made this trip so special.

Hammerheads Galore

Our first full day’s diving got off to a great start at El Canon with hammerheads galore coming into the cleaning stations, silvertips, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks and whitetips.  That’s an incredible variety just for one dive!  On top of that, some of the guests were then spoiled by the sighting of a tiger shark swimming by.

Hammerhead

Whalesharks

We spent two days at Roca Partida – just a rock in the ocean nine hours sailing from San Benedicto.  A sea mount, remnant of a volcano, with sheer walls, great visibility and ocean current is again home to many species of shark. We encountered schools of hammerhead, silky sharks, silvertips, galapagos sharks and residential whitetips.  We also saw huge yellow fin tuna and large schools of jacks, but I have to say the main highlight was a 5m whaleshark seen on two dives – she was very inquisitive with the divers and by account of the guides should not have been there at this time of the season!  Last but not least we were treated to a manta birostris (giant mantas) showing up on our last dive before heading back to San Benedicto.

Whaleshark

Giant Mantas at ‘El Boiler’

B&W Diver and Manta‘Manta madness’ at El Boiler was unbelievable!  Giant manta birostris, amazingly beautiful, are very friendly to divers.  It seemed as if they only showed up once we were on the dive site as there was always a 5 to 10 minute wait, then they would show up using our bubbles as a ready made ‘jacuzzi’ and spend the whole dive hanging out with the divers.  El Boiler is a great dive site, easy to dive and not only home to the manta but also the odd hammerhead shark, schools of jacks, leather bass and a residential pod of very friendly bottlenose dolphins.  We were fortunate enough to play with the dolphins on several occasions. El Boiler was that good we would not only spend the day there but return over another 2 days to get our ‘manta fix’ and some great photos.

More Amazing Diving…

Some other very memorable dive sites were Cabo Pearce and Punta Tosca at Socorro Island.  At Cabo Pearce we were again able to play with dolphins, but my favourite was Punta Tosca with schools of hammerheads. I even saw a huge Great hammerhead following two manta rays across a sand and rock bed at the end of one of my dives.

Every diver got to see humpbacks when they were either snorkelling or diving and, although they were brief encounters, they were always memorable.  On one occasion one of the groups were out on the pangas trying to get in with the humpbacks (which were being very difficult at the time!) but they all ended up snorkelling with a 4m tiger shark!

Dolphins

At the back of the boat at night on several occasions were dozens of silky sharks. Some of the divers managed to get some ‘up close and personal’ photos.

Our last day’s diving was at San Benedicto, back at El Canon dive site where we started the trip. Again, fabulous hammerheads!  We then finished off the trip at El Boiler to say ‘adios’ to the mantas.

Whitetip sharks

Photos: David Allison

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Experience the Socorro Islands for yourself…

Scuba Tours Worldwide LogoHere are the dates:

03 Mar – 13 Mar 2017 * 10 nights aboard Nautilus Belle Amie from £2,533pp

Prices includes accommodation on board Nautilus Belle Amie in a triple stateroom, all meals, soft drinks, snacks and all diving. (Please ask for alternative cabin categories).

18 Jan – 26 Jan 2018 * 8 nights Rocio del Mar from £2,605pp 

17 Apr – 25 Apr 2018 * 8 nights Rocio del Mar from £2,605pp

Price includes accommodation on board Rocio del Mar in a twin/double share cabin, all meals, soft drinks and snacks, local beer and wine and all diving.

For more information or to book, contact the Scuba Tours Worldwide team on +44 (0)1284 748010, email sales@scubascuba.com or visit www.scubascuba.com.  

For more specials and Exclusive Tours from Scuba Tours Worldwide, visit www.scubascuba.com/specials/exclusive-tours.

To see more of Dave’s photos from this trip, click through to the Scuba Tours Worldwide Pinterest page: www.pinterest.com/scubascuba/daves-socorro-trip-report/

David and Lisa Allison

David and Lisa Allison

David and Lisa managed MV Sea Queen for over eight years and they are back in the Maldives from April 2016 to take over MV Sea Spirit. Before joining Scuba Tours Worldwide they spent a number of years operating a Jersey Dive Centre in the summer and a Sri Lankan Dive Centre in the winter. Both are PADI Instructors with considerable dive experience and qualifications. Lisa is a Martial arts and Fitness Instructor and has completed the Three Peaks 24 hour challenge. David is also a Fitness Instructor and he plays a mean guitar.

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