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Dive Review of East Cape Explorers in
Mexico (Western)

East Cape Explorers: "Lots of blue water - donde esta seamount?", Dec, 2016,

by mark magers, CA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 25 Helpful votes). Report 9452 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We spent a long week before Christmas in BCS, and while there we decided to spend a day hoping to dive Gordo Banks, off the coast of Los Cabos. Gordo Banks is nearer to San Jose del Cabo than to the louder, noisier Cabo Wabo neighbor, Cabo San Lucas. I say hoping to dive since they plan trips out but a lot depends on conditions, since it is a blue water, open ocean dive.

Gordo Banks is a seamount with the top at about 110 feet. It is known for hammerheads, mobula rays, whale sharks, and occasinoally bait balls and billfish, making it a favorite spot for fishermen as well. Having seen some very cool videos on YouTube, we were excited to give this a try.

We went out with East Cape Explorers, based in the San Jose del Cabo Marina, and the only dive operation in San Jose. They had nice equipment, it looked pretty new, but not sure. 5 mil wet suits, 77 degrees F. They were inspecting the insides of tanks when we arrived to check in, which seemed a good sign. The boat was also nice, 33’ panga style, not fancy but clean, looked new, very manageable, and with only 4 divers on our trip, plenty of room. We had a 45-minute boat ride, about 10 miles out.

We did 2 dives, each to about 100-110 feet. We never saw the top of the seamount, and after seeing it in the various videos beforehand, wondered if we were indeed on top of it. Visibility was decent, not great, 40-50 feet, though vertically it was hard to tell. At 100 feet we could see the boat above, so if even the 40 feet guesstimate is close, we should have seen the top of the seamount for sure. We also noticed no down line, which we saw in most of the videos. In retrospect, we wish we had asked more about the location – were we there yet?

To be fair, too, their website is very clear that seeing things (which we take to mean the critters) at Gordo Banks is hit or miss.

The dives were blue water all around - up, down, sideways. The divemaster kept a float line attached the whole time, so that helped as a point of reference, but nonetheless a few times it was a little disorienting. On the first dive, we spent maybe 25 minutes looking for the seamount and watching a lot of jellies we had not seen before – a bunch looked like big seed pods from a mimosa tree, only 1 to 3 feet long, with all the cool colors flashing. There were some others I can’t describe very well, my wife called them origami – not a scientific name! But accurate enough. Then we spotted 2 hammerheads, 7 feet or so, swimming about 40 feet away. They circled us and swam off, and we surfaced, listening to humpback songs. Very few other fish, though my wife spotted a lone triggerfish near the surface. Not quite what we expected, but very nice. We saw the humpback breach during our 1-hour surface interval.

Second dive was about the same, max depth 110 feet, this time the hammerheads came in much closer, 15 feet or so, to check us out. I read later that hammerhead schools often have scouts to check out things, and the presence of a couple means there may be a lot more nearby. I'm going to accept that they were there – we never saw more than 2. But those 2 were cool!

We dove with 28% nitrox, a couple of other divers had ordered it and then cancelled, so we took the tanks. Each dive was 35 minutes or so, including 3+ minute safety stops. The blue water was fun, made you think a bit more than cruising at 40 feet on a reef, and reminded us of Saba, but without the visibility. I think the operation was overall good, but push them if you go to be sure they are indeed taking you to the seamount. The website says that they also do trips from San Jose to Cabo Pulmo, 1.5 hour boat ride, but compared to getting there by car that isn't bad. We've done that before, and the last 10 miles of washboard easily takes an hour. We did Cabo Pulmo off-season, bad idea, but it is supposed to be spectacular when the conditions are right.

We'll be back for sure.
Websites East Cape Explorers   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving GBR, Saba, Montserrat, Dominica, Barbados, Cuba, USVI, Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, HI, WA, CA, RI
Closest Airport SJD Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp -77°F / -25°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-60 Ft/ 12-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Stay above 120 feet
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Report currently has 1 Helpful vote

Subscriber's Comments

By Richard L Trinkner in CO, US at Jan 18, 2017 18:36 EST  
Would anybody know the GPS coordinates for Gordo Banks? I'll dive there April 1 and would like to confirm on the surface that we're over the Banks. I've Googled around, but can't find coordinates. Thanks!
By report author: mark magers in CA, US at Mar 09, 2017 19:17 EST  
I just asked my brother, who has a lot of sport fishing contacts all around Cabo, if it is not top secret he may get an answer, but I have no idea about that.
By report author: mark magers in CA, US at Mar 15, 2017 19:47 EST  
I got this from a Cabo sport fishing captain via mi hermano, from a screen shot from his boat. N 23 01.695 W 109 31.154 Hope that helps!
By Richard L Trinkner in CO, US at Mar 15, 2017 21:04 EST  
Thanks! That's very helpful!
By Richard L Trinkner in CO, US at Mar 15, 2017 21:04 EST  
Thanks! That's very helpful!
By Richard L Trinkner in CO, US at Mar 15, 2017 21:05 EST  
Thanks! That's very helpful!
By Richard L Trinkner in CO, US at Mar 15, 2017 21:05 EST  
Thanks! That's very helpful!
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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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