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Dive Review of Rocio Del Mar in
Mexico (Western)/Sea of Cortez

August, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Bob DeFeo, CA, US
Contributor   (18 reports)
Report Number 5654
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Indonesia, Phillipines, Roatan, Caymans, Puget Sound, Monterey, Channel
Islands, Hawaii, Texas, Socorro Islands, N. California Coast
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
calm, choppy, currents  
Water Temp
70   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive computers required. Night diving dive time limits  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large camera tables, rinse tanks.  HD wide screen for viewing/showing
pictures and video.  Very careful crew when handling cameras.  Crew goes
out of their way to accomodate photographers during the I've
seen anywhere to date. Photographers' heaven in the Sea of Cortez and on
the Rocio Del Mar!!!
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
OUTSTANDING diving, superb accomodations, jovial crew, and great food! Dora
& Lolo Sandoval have created a diver's dream cruise on the Sea of
Cortez. Book now because this operation will soon be booked out far in
advance once word spreads.  How about snorkeling with 10 whale sharks for 2
hours?  Ever have your very own whale shark to swim with?  Happened for us
on this trip! Incredible. The variety of aquatic life on our dives was
beyond belief: families of sperm whales, hundreds of common &
bottlenose dolphins, a dozen whale sharks, hundreds of sea lions, groups of
octopus, squid, lobsters,frog fish, seahorses, manta rays, 200 lb groupers,
Mexican hogfish, parrot fish, jaw fish, garden eels, sting rays, electric
rays, guitar fish, angel sharks, trevally, creole fish, yellow-flowering
black coral, gorgonian, nudibranches, crabs, yellow ribbon clams,
barracuda, and a whole slew of other species. These are the ones I
personally saw. Large, plentiful schools of fish. Four dives per day for a
week, 2 night dives and a 2-hr snorkel with whale sharks. Nitrox 32
available @ $100 for the week. Spacious dive equipment set-up/storage
areas. Two inflatable runabouts for to/from dive sites and for diver escort
as most drives are drift with sometimes very fast currents >5 knots.
Currents caused by tidal flow.  Tidal movement is 22' in the Sea of Cortez
and with the depths (to 6k'), numerous islands, and large volume of
upwelling, currents are prevalent. Bring your safety sausages! Diver safety
is important to crew...very watchful and responsive.  Because of upwelling
you can hit water temps of 70 despite starting in 86 degree water.  Dives
go in/out of cold/warm water that makes you feel it more than if you just
stayed at the lower temp. Southern midriff islands are warmer--82 @ depth
but middle and northern have the temp variation. 5mm with a hooded vest
available would probably work best all around for August. Food is plentiful
with great Mexican meals and very good traditional meals. Continental
breakfast at 6 am, 1st dive at 7:30 followed by great full breakfast. Lots
of fresh fruit all day. Full lunch after 2nd dive, delicious snacks after
3rd, and dinner after the 4th. Thursday nights-Mexican BBQ on top
deck--great traditional Mexican! No illnesses onboard stomach or
respiratory during trip. Surface intervals a healthy 2 hours.  Dive times
averaged, for me, 60-70 minutes. Towels provided after dive.  Rocio has
beautiful and spacious top sundeck, indoor/outdoor salon/lanai on mid deck,
main berthing off dive deck and galley below deck. Berths are spacious with
private baths with separate showers, sink, toilet...large windows, not
portholes, in each cabin, ceiling fans. Entire inside of ship is
airconditioned & we needed it as temps went over 100 with high humidity
despite being an almost zero rainfall area. Beds are a bit
uncomfortable--short for medium height people. But I put some clothing on
the drawer top at the foot of the bed and was fine. Plans are to replace
outboard beds with twin mattress in the very near future. Easy to get from
Phoenix airport and back via arranged van...3 1/2-4 hrs one way, A/C of
course. Trailer in back takes all bags. Crew handles bags on arrival and
departure--with great care. I'm going back on this liveaboard..and why not?
 Short flight, great people, great boat, great price, and a diver's dream
come true! Five Stars for the Rocio Del Mar and my deepest thanks and
gratitude to Dora Sandoval and the crew.  I had a total blast with all.
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