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

July, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Jorge J. More, IL, US
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6615
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Palau, Yap, Socorro, Cayman Islands, Key Largo, Turk and Caicos, Galapagos,
 Bahamas, Thailand, Coral Sea, Cozumel, Bermudas, Belize.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
69   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
10   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Recreational diver (130 on air, 110 on nitrox)  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
1 stars   
5 stars    
Spent a week diving the Sea of Cortez with the Rocio del Mar.  Highly
recommended trip; read on for more details.  If you want an older report on
this trip, look at the March 2010 lead article of UnderCurrent.

The recommended route is to fly into Phoenix and then take a van to Puerto
Peñasco in Mexico. The road is good so the 4 hour trip was smooth.
Immigration into Mexico is painless and took no time.

We board the ship on Saturday. The Rocio has several schedules, but the Sea
of Cortez is from June to early October.  I went during late June.

The first two days were spent near the Angel de la Guarda island and the
third near the island of  Salsipuedes.  These were good dives but not
spectacular dives.  Still there were many interesting creatures to keep you
entertained and interested: guitar fish, slipper lobsters, Humboldt squids,
jaw and scorpion fishes, stingrays of all kinds (they were everywhere), and
forests of black corals.  Visibility varied, and could be poor, in the 10
to 20 foot range.  Temperatures were near 72F, so a hooded vest and an
(old) 5mm wetsuit was barely acceptable.

The scenery above the water is beautiful, stark and highly mountainous. We
are also alone. I do not recall seeing any other vessels during the trip,
so the sense of isolation is complete.  It was a great feeling. Also note
that the Rocio is the only liveaboard that does the Sea of Cortez so you
will not see divers from other boats. In many ways, the Sea of Cortez is
uncharted territory.

The diving on the last three days is spectacular.  The water is near 80F
and visibility is good most of the time.  We move near the island of San
Pedro de Martir, the site of a rookery of sea lions. They are so much fun. 
The female sea lions are small and graceful and will interact with you; a
typical maneuver is to swim (fast) at you and turn at the last minute, with
the turn happening about 6 inches from your mask. Delightful.  Doing loops,
corkscrews, and blowing bubbles is also part of their repertoire.  The fun
lasts until the
bull (male sea lion) shows up, starts swimming back and forth between the
females and us.  This is a signal to retreat. We follow this signal since
the bulls are huge; about 8 feet and 500+ pounds.

On Thursday afternoon we go hunting for pilot whales with the rubber
pangas.  We have seen them from the Rocio but not close. We do not find any
whales but run into dolphins. Hundreds of them.  An incredible sight. But
we can only watch; they disappear when one of us gets in the water.

We start Friday near the Bahia de Los Angeles, and go in search of baby
whale sharks.  This was an extraordinary experience.  A baby whale shark is
about 15 feet long instead of the 30+ feet for the adults. We find them by
looking for their fins sticking out of the water; as expected they look
like the fin of a (very big) shark. We approach slowly and slip into the
water with our snorkeling gear.  If all goes well we swim with them for a
long while, but sometimes they are in no mood for company.

You can find several videos of this experience on youtube, but if you want
two done by our group, look at and

The diving on the Rocio was excellent. The boat is very nice with room for
20 divers. The crew is attentive, helpful, and with an infinite amount of
patience. Food was excellent with beer and wine for dinner. The
divemasters, Rey and Mayo, were very good, and the panga drivers were
always there when needed, helping with the gear. There were no mechanical
failures (a tribute to Aurelio). An outstanding crew.

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Subscriber's Comments

By Dolores at Aug 02, 2013 15:20 EST  
Thanks for the report! We leave for the Rocio in about a month and I can
hardly wait!
By more at Aug 04, 2013 12:34 EST  
Hope that you like it as much as I did!
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All Mexico (Western) Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Mexico (Western)
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