Join us for a Photo Excursion
Diving the Revillagigedos Archipelago (Socorro Islands)
Aboard the Solmar V
- SOLD OUT
Dec 12-21, 2013 9 days/8 nights* + one optional
night in Cabo prior to departure.
not including 11% Mexican tax, $15 chamber
Price is per person, double occupancy
you ever been face-to-face with a giant Pacific manta ray? Would
you like to twirl with a dolphin? Have you ever heard the song
of a whale?
Any one of these is a life-changing experience. To be
able to find all three and more in one dive trip is even more amazing!
That's why Socorro is often called the "Mexican Galapagos".
March is the time of year when humpback whales migrate through this area.
We'll see whale tails and breaches all day long and will hear their song
underwater. If we get really lucky, we may even have an underwater encounter!
us for a magical trip aboard the 112' luxury live-aboard Solmar V. This
vessel has been visiting the Socorro Islands for over 17 years and has
more experience there than any other live-aboard. She's a gorgeous vessel
with warm mahogany decor accented with etched glass and brass. There are
12 staterooms on board that can accommodate up to 22 divers. The cabins
on this boat are small, but there's plenty of storage area. Each cabin
has its own ensuite head and shower.
The food on the Solmar V is really good and plentiful!
Each morning we'll be served a hot breakfast made to order. Of course
they have coffee, tea, cereals and fruit for the early risers. Both Lunch
and dinner are a sit-down three course meal. If we find any particular
dive area especially active, they'll keep the dive deck open and serve
up a simpler lunch, such as tacos or sandwiches, so we can eat quick and
get back in the water. There is also plenty of snacking between meals
too. On top of this, We'll will put in our order for extra chocolate for
our charter and Margaritas for happy hour!
DETAILED ITINERARY - Don't
read this if you don't want to get sucked in!
We will fly into Cabo San Lucas the day before
the boat leaves port. It is possible to fly in the same day,
but its not recommended. If you missed a flight or lost your
luggage, you would have no time to recover. That evening we'll
stay at the Quinta Del Sol in Cabo San Lucas. You'll have some
time to tour around Cabo, do some shopping or take in some
of the other activites. On the 12th we'll board the Solmar
V around 2:00 in the afternoon. Be sure to bring your C-card
and NITROX card if you plan to dive NITROX. We'll get settled
in, complete the trip paperwork, have some great snacks and
Margaritas. The boat leaves the port around 3:30-4:00. Have
your camera ready because we'll cruise right past El Arco for
some good photo opportunities.
The trip to Socorro is about a 22 hour steam
from the time we leave port, but the time goes quite fast on
the way out. After happy hour margaritas and a sumptuous dinner
we settle in for the night. The next morning we enjoy a late
breakfast, have plenty of time to get our dive gear and camera
put together, get to know the other passengers, get the boat
and dive briefings out of the way, and maybe watch a movie
if there's time. Of course there are way too many interruptions
by the breeching whales we pass, the dolphins that ride the
bow of the boat and the gorgeous sunset.
The first island we'll reach is San Benedicto
around 2:00 the next day. Here we'll do a check-out dive and
anchor the boat for the evening.
The next day is when the real diving begins.
We typically visit The Boiler first. This is a pinnacle
that rises to about 30' from the surface and drops down to
160'. The giant manta rays come here to be cleaned by the Clarion
angelfish. Seems like the mantas thing us divers are a bunch
of big cleaner fish too, since they come right to us. We've
also seen large schools of jacks being bombarded by feeding
dolphins. This is also were on a past trip we've come face
to face with a humpback whale. Sorry, but I was do dumfounded
I didn't get any good pictures!
Center photo by Marty Snyderman, bottom
right photo by Bill Downey
Depending on the manta activity, weather,
and wind we may also visit The Canyon on the other side of
the island. This is a shallower area where mantas and dolphins
are commonly seen. On the wall side the rocky slope is full
of eels, octopus and cleaner fish. The wall attracts Galapagos
sharks, black tips, silver tips, silky sharks and hammerheads.
We've seen dolphins here several times in past trips too! Near
the shoreline I found a huge old anchor that was so encrused
with coral it was hardly recognizable.
The next stop is either Roca Partida or Socorro
Island depending on weather and animal activity.
Roca Partida is a tiny pinnacle in the middle
of nowhere that rises about 105' out of the water. Its about
as long as a football field and is frosted with a thick layer
of quano. Smells horrible, but underwater the steep wall of
the rock drops down to the bottom at about 260'. Roca is a
magnet to marine life. Here we commonly see mantas, white tip
sharks, large schools of jacks and tuna, silver tips, Galapagos
shark, dolphins and sometimes even whalesharks. Its possible
to swim around this rock at least once during one dive. Inside
the rock there are caves and crevases full of lobster, eels,
cleaner fish and more. It is here that we are most likely to
get close to schooling hammerheads also. On past trips the
passengers voted to spend several days at Roca, but we always
keep our options open to go where we'll find the best diving.
Our last island is Socorro Island. Here we'll
stop by the Mexican Navy Station to clear customs around breakfast
time, then move the boat to The Aquarium or to Cabo Pearce,
where we have been greeted by many dolphins both on the surface
and underwater. On one trip several years ago, we dived with
dolphins for the entire dive.
After our amazing trip we head back to Cabo
San Lucas to arrive the evening of April 16. We usually have
enough time to go into town to play. Dinner is served on the
boat for those who want to stay, or guests can go into town
on their own. The food is so good on the boat, guests usually
stay onboard. The last night is spent on the boat while she
sits at the dock and passengers disembark early the next morning,
right after breakfast. If your flight out isn't until later,
we'll arrange a day room at the Solmar Hotel to hang out. Transports
will take you back to the airport for your trip home. :(
DIVING REQUIREMENTS: Diving here is
not for beginners. California divers do quite well because the water is warmer
and clearer than what we're used to, but before you decide to join this trip
you need to ask yourself the following questions:
Are you comfortable diving to 100+ feet in at
least a 5mm wetsuit and the appropriate weight?
Are you comfortable diving in bottomless water?
This means you have the skills to control your depth and buoyancy
at all times, even when you're distracted by pesky dolphins, mantas
Will you make the right decisions in the event
of an emergency?
Are you comfortable diving in a current or surge?
Current can pick up at some of the dive sites.
If you are afraid of sharks, dolphins, mantas
or whales we recommend you stay home, because here you're going to
get really, really close to them!
Socorro is about 22 hours away from reality, so if you
screw up, the whole boat suffers the consequences. We don't want do discourage
you. We just want to make sure that you are comforable enough with your
skills to fully enjoy what this amazing destination has to offer.
As with all my workshops we recommend that if you don't
consider your buoyancy to be perfect, you should think about leaving your
camera behind. Your safety is most important and we need models.
About the Photo Workshops -
Because the dive, eat, sleep schedule on live-aboards is already
really intense, we'll keep the presentations to a minimum. I will
offer one presentation about how to photograph mantas on the way
out and will be available to assist through the entire trip. I'll
also be doing Photoshop mini-sessions with those who are interested
in learning the best way to process blue water images. There is a
nice wide screen TV in the lounge of the Solmar V that I can hook
my laptop to, so this makes it possible for several people to join
in on these sessions.
I have many other presentations available about topics
such as photo composition, digital workflow, image size & resolution,
and file formats. Let me know what you need and we'll tailor the schedule
Camera Recommendations - Bring
a still or video camera with a wide-angle or fisheye lens. The mantas
are big and they do get very close IF you don't chase them. At least
one external strobe with an extra long arm is recommended. Two would
be even better. There are some macro opportunities, but you know that
as soon as you put that macro lens on, the big animals will show up.
If you need help getting your camera set up for this trip, please contact
me ahead of time.
Of course you may just want to come to enjoy the experience
also and leave your camera at home. That's OK too!
RT airport transfers
9 nights aboard the Solmar V
All meals while on board
Photography assistance and instruction
11% Mexican taxes
Chamber fee - $15 cash
Crew gratuity - generally
about 10% of the price of the cruise...these guys are good!
Extra nights in Cabo
Post trip shenanigans at Cabo Wabo and/or El Squid
Please remember that this area is very remote. Mother
Nature has the final say about where we go and what we see. Visibility,
water temperatures, currents, surface conditions can change quickly
and as the organizers of this trip we have no control over this. These
animals are wild and are in their own habitat. Big animal encounters
are totally random and are at the choice of the animal.
*It takes one full day to get there and one full
day to get back from Cabo. The boat leaves around 3:00 on day 1 and
arrives back around 6:00 p.m. on day 8. You'll depart the boat the morning
of day 9. We'll likely get 1 dive in on day 2 and have five full days
of diving the rest of the trip.