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Dive Review of Rocio del Mar in
Mexico (Western)/Midriff Islands

Rocio del Mar: "Rocio Del Mar - Sea of Cortez", Aug, 2015,

by Jason Propsner, GA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 8359.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I flew to Pheonix and overnighted at the nearby Courtyard to be sure there was no missed connections. The next day the van (Head Out to Rocky Point) to transport me to Rocky Point arrived at 1:pm. I was the only passenger since the rest of the divers were from Tucson and drive themselves. The driver was very friendly and we had great conversation making the 4 hour drive fly by. We stopped half way, still in Arizona to gas up and get some food.
Once I arrived on the dock, the crew was there to meet me and carry my bags to the boat. The other guests had already arrived and were setting up. The crew showed me to my room and I was pleased to see the new AC units and individual controls per room.
I had previously been on the Rocio Del Mar in 2011 and the ship has seen some wear and tear since. The crew was new to me with one exception. My bathroom door in room #2 would not close. It had swelled and was too large for the opening. The room was clean and had a ceiling fan. The mattresses were also thicker since my last trip. The bed was comfortable but seemed narrower than most Liveaboards.
We left Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Mexico and motored south in the Sea of Cortez overnight. The seas seemed easy to me, but several people got sick the first night.
The diving was pretty basic the first day and there was a bloom of krill. At least that is what the passengers referred to them as, but I think they were brine shrimp. Very small and made for very poor vis. We suffered from low vis on most dives throughout the week. There was a few dives that were on deeper walls that had great vis. We snorkeled with 6 Whale Sharks one morning and a few of them were very large. I thought one of them was 20 feet or more. The Whale Shark snorkel was an option and we skipped the morning dives to do it. The sharks are in a medium sized bay and the village nearby had skiffs come get us off the main ship and the local operators did a great job spotting, directing and dropping us on the spots to get the best time with the whales sharks.
On the dives we saw many large seahorses, Mobula rays, playful Sea Lions, Rays, Turtles and Gigantic Jawfish to name just a few. The water was warm at 78-82 degrees, but there was a few dives with random thermoclines that seemed to move. One minute you would be very cold then swim back to that area and the thermocline would be gone.
The diving is done from zodiac boats in two groups. They separate the groups by a few minutes so there is less congestion on the sites. You ascend the steps of the ship with your gear on and step onto the zodiac. The crew would carry gear for guests that wanted to gear up on the zodiac. Once in the zodiac they handed you your fins and once on the site it was a group back roll entry. The dive masters switched groups everyday so you got a fresh perspective from the different styles. This did make it harder to keep up with who was the dive master underwater since you just learned a set of fins to follow the day before and were now looking at a different pair the next day. They did a great job finding interesting things and keeping an eye on the group. There was several divers that stayed with the DM but an equal amount that went off on their own. We surfaced with a marker the zodiac was always there to pick us up. You pulled your weights and handed them up, then your tank and fins. The ladder on the zodiac is very large and stable for climbing back in. Even in rough waters.
The meals on the boat were mostly American. Last trip my meals were authentic Mexican and was very different than what I was used to. The menu varied and was always prepared on time. The food was great. Breakfast was usually eggs to order and something like pancakes. The lunch was large and filling and dinner came with desert. There was two meals on the upper deck BBQ style.
I disembarked, again the only passenger going back in the Head Out to Rocky Point van which was waiting for me at 7:30am.
I met several new friends and the crew was excellent. I would recommend this trip, even though not all the dives were great and the vis was low, the Sea of Cortez is a wonderful place to visit and the Rocio Del Mar is a great way to dive this wonder.

Check out my video from the trip [ link]

Websites Rocio del Mar   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Galapagos, Caribbean, Florida, Truk, Palau.
Closest Airport Pheonix, AR Getting There Direct from ATL to PHX

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 78-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 10-50 Ft/ 3-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minutes max and 50 minutes on night dives
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table is large and there was plenty of outlets. Air hose for blow drying cases and towels. The crew handled cameras with care and there was a separate rinse for cameras only.
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Subscriber's Comments

By philip nicozisis in FL, US at Sep 20, 2015 08:42 EST  
I always thought the Sea of Cortez was about big animals as in sharks ??
By report author: Jason Propsner in GA, US at Sep 21, 2015 08:39 EST  
That is a great point and I should have included more about sharks, or the lack there of, in my review. It was very striking that on night dives all the fish slept out in the open. Grouper laying on top of rocks without any cover or protection. I brought this up to the crew and was told that the sharks in the north have been fished out. We never saw one shark besides the whale sharks. It is a wonder they have not been fished out too. I am sure in the south Sea of Cortez or in the blue water there are more sharks. There was big animals, like Sea Lions, Mobula rays, Whales (we spotted some a few miles away, but too far to swim with) and Whale Sharks but no sharks of any size on any dives.
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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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