Mexico – Cabo & Socorro

Becky found a last minute special (50% off) to Socorro with Bluewater travel. Other divers had been taunting us with amazing images and stories from this popular dive destination, which is touted to be one of the best places to swim with friendly giant mantas and bottlenose dolphins. The only catch was the US was now requiring a negative COVID-19 test result for any inbound US traveler, so we were a bit worried about getting a false positive and having to quarantine in Mexico for 2 weeks after the liveaboard. But we took out a comprehensive travel insurance and rolled the dice and can now say that it was an excellent decision. Cabo San Lucas in February is peak season for humpback whale watching so we flew in two days early to ensure we had a full day with the whales and it did not disappoint with lots of whales breaching and lobtailing. But the main reason we were in Mexico was for Socorro, and it turned out to be absolutely amazing and lived up the the considerable hype. Our 10 day liveaboard was with the Rocio del Mar, a locally owned and operated no nonsense liveaboard with compact rooms, amazing food, and phenomenal staff. Our tour leader for the trip, Nirupam Nigam, was leading a photography workshop for 18 divers and we quickly started meeting our fellow passengers after getting settled into our room and setting up our gear. It took about 26 hours to reach the Revillagigedo Archipelago (aka Socorro) and our first dive site was off San Benedicto Island at the canyon. We were divided into 3 dive groups and opted to join the video dive group led by divemaster Luis. The first day here impressed us as the canyon was chock full of marine life – a turtle, mantas, dolphins, and sharks galore. The dolphins were especially playful as they heard us excitedly greeting them and a couple hovered upright and then upside down right next to us! Several of the other divers who had been to Socorro several times told us that today showcased the best of what this amazing dive destination had to offer. The rest of the week here (San Benedicto – the boiler and the canyon, Roca Partida, Cabo Pearce) kept us happy with more sightings of giant mantas, dolphins, sharks (galapagos, silky, white tip, silver tip, a whale shark, tiger and hammerhead) and humpback whales! When we weren’t diving or eating, we were upstairs in the lounge soaking up information that Nirupam was putting out during the daily photo workshop lectures. Since neither of us is into underwater photography, Nirupam also put together a few sessions on underwater videography and how to edit clips using Shot cut. All too soon our amazing adventure came to an end, and we thoroughly enjoyed our Socorro experience. It will be hard to top this trip as it hit so many highlights!

View of La Sierra de la Laguna mountain range as we approach Cabo San Lucas Sea lion statue outside Caboland pharmacy El Arco is the most famous landmark in Cabo San Lucas and marks the tip of the Baja Peninsula (where the sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean) A humpback whale lobtailing (positioning itself vertically and repeatedly slapping the surface with its tail); Cabo San Lucas A humpback whale breaching backwards We spent a magnificent afternoon watching humpback whales play in the Sea of Cortez. February is a great time to visit the whales! A sea lion warns away hungry pelicans as it claims this boat for itself Gorgeous sunset over San Jose del Cabo Statues in the main square of San Jose del Cabo The weekly Thursday night "art walk" is a great time to visit San Jose del Cabo because the art galleries and restaurants are open for business Art gallery in San Jose del Cabo Entrance to "Puerto Los Cabos", a 2000 acre resort community Getting ready to board the Rocio del Mar liveaboard, our home for the next 10 days Robby and Bill discussing best GoPro settings A brown footed boobie greets us upon arrival to San Benedicto Island Our tour leader Nirupam took this photo of us about to head out for some diving. We were in dive group C along with Yuriy, Azadeh, Ron and Eric with dive master Luis On our very first dive we saw a turtle and it ended up being the only one of the trip A dolphin came to play with Becky on her birthday! A pod of playful dolphins A silver tip shark Socorro spiny lobsters Chef prepared carne asada tacos for dinner on the top deck - seriously yummy! Enjoying our meal with beautiful San Benedicto Island in the background Roca Partida (split rock) is the smallest of the 4 Revillagigedo Islands Stacks of white tip sharks - a common sight at Roca Partida A white tip shark with lock jaw Over a dozen white tip sharks resting at Roca Partida White tip sharks at Roca Partida A massive school of jacks around Roca Partida A school of bonito fish, Roca Partida Surgeonfish checking us out Redtail triggerfish Miguel laughs as he pours more wine - he was our favorite and always made us smile A spectacular sunrise in Socorro Cabo Pearce dive site Peacock flounder Sting ray; Cabo Pearce Spot the stone scorpionfish Electric ray Flag cabrilla (starry grouper) hiding in the coral Porcupinefish A giant manta appeared before the end of our dive at Cabo Pearce Spotted sharpnose puffer Barberfish at a cleaning station in Cabo Pearce White tip shark at the boiler Giant mantas are common at the boiler Giant mantas come out to play A giant manta at the boiler Creole fish at the boiler School of cottonmouth jack Robby and giant trevally A manta soars past us at the boiler Close up of a friendly manta Giant trevally A guineafowl puffer hangs out with a reef fish, lobster and an eel at the boiler Scrawled filefish Chinese trumpetfish A lobster hunting for food Brown footed boobie checks us out from the water's surface Chef prepared a delicious steak for dinner San Benedicto was where we spent our last two dive days Silver tip shark Green moray A whale shark emerges from the deep Becky swam up to the whale shark and gazed into its eye Even though it was a juvenile whale shark, it was still pretty big! With a final swoosh of its tail, the whale shark disappears into the blue Nirupam captured video of Becky and the whale shark - here is a snapshot of them together A bottlenose dolphin chases a fish for amusement A pod of dolphins swims past A school of black jack A manta soars overhead just a few inches away (check out the remora) Robby and a giant manta A manta effortlessly glides by A dolphin shows off its baby Cottonmouth jack surround us A school of fish hanging out near the cleaning station at the canyon dive site Pacific snake eel Galapagos shark Sharks gather at the cleaning station at the canyon Photo of Becky taking video of a shark Hammerhead sharks Two humpback whales were encountered by dive group B on the last 5 minutes of the last dive of the trip at the canyon! Humpback whales are a magnificent sight to behold underwater Drinking a margarita and beer to celebrate a wonderful trip to Socorro Robby, Benji and Luis laugh at Karen's GoPro video of the humpback whales Sunset over Socorro as we reluctantly prepare to head back to Cabo Tico, Jaime, Pollo, Luis (back row) Eric, Kyle and Nirupam (front row) watch as each of the crew members is thanked for a wonderful trip A doctor administers our COVID-19 tests which are now mandatory before flying back into the US. Thankfully we all tested negative! Offloading everyone's bags at the dock near Hotel El Ganzo Interior view of Hotel El Ganzo Robby preparing for the long journey home visuallight boxby v6.1

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