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Dive Review of The New Beginning in
Mexico (Western)/La Paz - Sea of Cortez

October, 2002, an Instant Reader Report by Rich Goldman, NY, USA
Report Number 357
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Sea of Cortez, Maldives, Cocos Island, Socorro Island, E. Africa, Toboago,
Cayman, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Cozumel, Bahamas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, choppy, surge, currents, noCurrents  
Water Temp
78   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Stay above 130 feet; no deco; all depths, times, and remianing air were
checked after each dive -- limits not strictly enforced, but highly

Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
I used videography.  There is no E-6 prcoessing aboard.  There is a garbage
can of fresh water for cameras, but other than that, there is no other
special accomodations for cameras.  The back deck dive table or salon
coffee table serves as the camera check/maintenance area; there are plenty
of american-style outlets for battery recharging
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
This wonderful, small live-aboard must be included in the Undercurrent
Chapbook.  "The New Beginning" is a 60-foot Lien Hwa Motor Yacht
with an 18-foot beam.  The two best things about it are the size of its
charters -- it takes only 6 passengers, and the spectacular dive sites it
visits in the lower Sea of Cortez (it departs out of La Paz).  With a full
charter of six people, the 60-foot yacht is not overly spacious -- the
rooms are small and the back deck (for both relaxing and gearing up) is not
excessively roomy, but the boat is by no means cramped, and certainly not
uncomfortable.  Showers are shared -- perhaps 3 or 4 people to a shower,
but the water is hot, and with so few people aboard there is hardly any
overlap.  There is a sun deck upstairs, and there is plenty of room at the
bow (where I spent most days scanning the sea surface for marine life). 
While the boat is advertised as being fully air-conditioned, the A.C. was
only run in the rooms at night, and is hardly cold.  Small, individual room
fans help a bit, but I'm a big A.C. fan and would have preferred a
consistently cool salon and rooms.  However, it was never sweltering and
did not approach being unbearable.

The boat is run and operated by Nancy Tomlinson (Captain & dive guide)
and her husband Darrell (Dive Guide and everything else). They had another
man aboard (a very friendly and helpful local) to help with the cleaning,
cooking, etc. They are a very engaging, professional couple who know the
fabulous dive sites well, and are wonderfully eager to tailor the itinerary
to the guests desires.  There is a compressor aboard, and tanks were always
filled and ready to go.  We did 3 or 4 dives a day, which included a few
excellent night dives.

Nancy also served as the cook -- while her food was not served in copious
amounts, it was tasty and sufficient.  Those of us spoiled by the plentiful
food and snacks on the high-end liveaboards might be a bit disappointed. 
This is one of the few areas that could be improved upon in order to make
the New Beginning a truly exceptional dive boat, which it is in other ways.
 Most importantly, there was plenty of coffee abaord!

Despite some of the above-mentioned drawbacks, the vessel is a fantastic
way to experience a dive trip.  It's small group size allows for
easliy-arranged private charters, an intimate top-side experience, and a
guaranteed no-crowd underwater situation.  The New Beginning ventures to
all the world-class dive spots out of La Paz: La Reina - where close-up
encounters with giant Pacific Manta Rays are almost a guarantee this time
of year; El Bajo - where we saw medium-size hammerhead schools on 2 out of
3 dives; Las Islotes and Sea Lion Rock -- home to frolicking sea lion
adults and pups; and Las Animas -- a glorious spot teeming with fish life,
and where a host of pelagics can be seen.  Immense schools of Dolphin (both
bottlenose and common) were frequently spotted, and rode the bow of the
boat on numerous occasions.  We also reportedly just missed seeing a school
of Orca and a whale shark at El Bajo.  There is no end to the abundance and
diversity of the marine life here.  While this area of the Sea of Cortez
seems to have been recently discovered by the Japanese, it is still
relatively undived.  It is absolutely one of the best dive areas I've ever
experienced and is world-class diving in every way.

Nancy and Darrell are so eager to please, they once dropped us off in the
middle of the sea, picked up a school of dolphin at their bow, and ran the
boat right by us so we could see (and photograph) the dolphin from
underwater.  They would drop us off and pick us up in their zodiac when the
New Beginning couldn't anchor close enough to a given site; and as
mentioned, they encouraged itinerary feedback so as to cater the dive trip
to their guests desires.

I have dived this part of the Sea of Cortez numerous times, from liveaboard
and from shore, and the New Beginning is by far the best way to dive this
area -- i can't wait to come back aboard and have another incredible Sea of
Cortez 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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