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

September, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Bob DeFeo, CA, US
Contributor   (18 reports)
Report Number 5719
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Monterey, N.Coast Sonoma County, Puget Sound, Philippines, Indonesia,
Roatan, Caymans, Texas Lakes, Socorro Is, Channel Islands, Sea of Cortez
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, currents  
Water Temp
84   to 68    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Max depth 130'; dive computer required; safety sausage required  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 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 rinse tanks, large camera table, HD TV available for viewing,
extremely careful handling of camera equipment by crew.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 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    
1 stars   
5 stars    
This was my second trip on the Rocio Del Mar in 5 weeks!  I love this crew,
boat, and the diving. Obviously, since I returned so quickly! We swam with
a dozen whale sharks again! Incredible experience. Saw hundreds of pacific,
common, and bottlenose dolphins jumping comepletely out of the water and
riding our bow waves. Crew took those who wanted to see whales breeching,
dolphins jumping, out several times in the zodiacs for up close viewing.
This is an easy trip to make for those in North America.  Fly to Phoenix,
van picks you up right outside baggage claim and loads luggage into a
trailer behind a 15-pax van ($100 roundtrip).  Ride for 4 hours to Puerto
Penasco including a stop for lunch and at the duty free shop at the border
crossing arriving at the boat around 3-3:30 pm.  Rocio sails around 5pm
Saturday and returns around 5-8am the following Saturday. Dive stations are
spacious! Large under-seat storage spaces, great rack for drying wetsuits
and easy entry from back dive platform into 2 zodiacs for all dives. 
Nitrox 32 available ($100 extra)in aluminium 80s with good fills. Park fee
is $25. Currents are rapid, unpredictable and omnipresent---especially
during weeks of the new and full moon with tidal exchanges reaching over 20
feet. Numerous upwellings of cold water around all the midrif islands where
the Rocio travels. If you haven't dove in fast hard currents, this may be
scary for you.  Not recommended for beginners with poor buoyancy control or
for anyone nervous in sweeping currents.  Even slack tides don't mean zero
current because of wind, upwellings, and convective forces.  One dive we
had 84 degrees on the surface and 68 degrees at 60 feet. Recommend no less
than a 5mm wetsuit for this time of year. You swim in and out of cold/warm
water horizontally so you really feel it when you hit the colder water. 
Visibility can vary on one dive from 25 feet up to 100 feet depending on
the upwellings and water mixing. No dive had poor visibility for the entire
dive. The currents provide for a wonderful variety and quantity of aquatic
life: turtles, hawksbill, green, leather neck turtles; hundreds of playful
sea lions just waiting for you to dive with them; green and jewel eels;
cortez damsel fish; seahorses, frogfish, scorpion fish everywhere;
nudibranchs; sponges of great purple, green, red, orange, yellow, and white
& black polka dots; arrow crabs; electric rays; bullseye rays; diamond
rays; guitar fish; hogfish; creole fish; balloon fish; synapted cucumbers;
cushion stars; sunstars, various anemone; black coral; gorgonian; basket
stars; dorado; parrotfish; huge 100-200lb groupers; squid; shrimp; sargeant
majors; tuna; yellowtails; trevally; butterfly angel fish; and more. 
Accomodations are superb with large two-to-a-room cabins with large windows
and private baths which include separate showers, sink, and toilet.
Spacious cabins all have variable speed ceiling fans and entire interior of
the Rocio is airconditioned.  Not unusual for outdoor temps in the 100s
with high humidity. Beds comfortable...I slept like the dead. Food is great
with many traditional Mexican entrees with wonderful flavor and
presentation.  You won't go hungry but do take medication for seasickness
if you're prone because the sea can get rough at times. Salon deck has
outside sitting area and interior media room both well appointed with
comfortable furniture.  Top deck is a huge sundeck for sunning and viewing
the incredible sunrises and sunsets on the Sea of Cortez. Stunning views of
the arid and mountainous islands and of the Baja.  Catch a full moon rise
from the water---awesome sight to behold. Any diver who enjoys hi-speed
current diving, walls, reefs, boulder strewn coastal areas and swimming
with whale sharks will be in heaven on this boat.  And the crew is
extraordinarily courteous, helpful, professional and friendly.  You'll make
them some of your best friends...many customers are repeats like me---and
they've only been sailing just over a year!  Go'll be tough to get
onboard soon as word gets out...maybe I should delete all of the above so I
can get back on it again! Great value for the money 18-21 dives possible
including 2 night dives. The Rocio begins trips to the Socorro Islands in
December through late May but returns to the Sea of Cortez in late June. 
Wonderful experience and I again thank Lolo & Dora Sandoval for a
delightful experience. 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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