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

Rocio Del Mar, Sep, 2010,

by Bob DeFeo, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 18 reports). Report 5719.

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

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 84 to 68 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 25 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth 130'; dive computer required; safety sausage required
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 now..it'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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