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Dive Review of Rocio del Mar in
Mexico (Western)/Revillagigedos Archipelago

Rocio del Mar: "Revillagigedos, nice but no whales again", May, 2017,

by Frederick R. Turoff, PA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 29 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 9569 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Revillagigedos trip Mar 1-9, 2017
When I last went to the Revillagigos Archipelago in May, 2001, although we saw whales from our boat breaching and playing on the surface in the distance and heard them clearly while underwater, we didnít have any underwater encounters. A divemaster at that time told me that January-March is prime whale season, and if I came back during that period he could guarantee whales. So, having enjoyed a trip on the Rocio del Mar in the northern Sea of Cortes in September, 2015, I booked a trip for early March, 2017 on the RdM along with a group of friends, expecting to see whales in the water. Of course, no one told the whales - so once again, although we heard whalesong while underwater, we didnít have any encounters. The crew explained the whales had been absent on most dive trips this year and last, so Iíll have to await another trip to realize that goal.
But that didnít spoil the trip at all, as we had numerous encounters with mantas and sharks. It was thrilling to have several dives where large mantas enjoyed us divers enough to stay with us for most of the dives, which generally lasted around 45 minutes. Our captain and divemasters always tried to find us relatively calm water around the three islands we visited, which made diving from the pangas less challenging that it might have been. Our group of 20 included nine American, four German, two French, three British and two Scottish divers. We were divided into three groups and dove with the same divemaster each time for the bulk of the trip, although one divemaster developed a head cold and had to stop diving, so we then formed two groups of ten. Water temps were between 73-76° and we didnít have strong current on most dives. Being thin, I needed a 7mm farmer john, 7mm jacket and 7mm hood to be warm.
Food was excellent and plentiful. We all ate in the below-deck dining room and switched seating often to interact with each other. There was a continental breakfast each day at 6a, then breakfast around 9a, lunch around 12:30p followed by dinner around 7p. Snacks and fresh fruit were available all day in the passenger lounge. Dives were scheduled for around 7:30a, 11a, 2p and 5p. We did no night dives. The three groups were spaced 15 minutes apart, with groups rotating starting order each day. The shipís bell rang 15 minutes before each group was scheduled. Each diver had a station where all gear was kept. These stations surrounded the camera table, which had numerous power sources and tools available for all to use. Before each dive, tanks were filled in place, and we all used Nitrox 32 except for day three when deeper dives had us using Nitrox 28. Prior to each dive, fins were collected and brought to the dive deck. Cameras were brought on the pangas as well, and carefully placed by the driver. Once divers geared up at a station, they proceeded down the few steps to the dive platform and boarded the pangas. A few requested to don gear on board the panga, which was cheerfully helped by the crew. Once all were in the panga, fins were passed out and we headed to our dive site. When we were 10 to a boat, we entered in two shifts, otherwise all entered via back roll at the same time. Cameras were handed outand all headed down. Everyone had a safety sausage and another signaling device in case we came up far from a panga, and the drivers did a fine job of keeping above us in general, but of course current occasionally caused divers to surface away from the group. Upon return to the panga, a diver handed up camera, weight belt, BC-tank and then fins before climbing aboard using the ladder. Drivers and divemasters always were helpful taking gear from divers and did lots of lifting of tanks each dive! Once we arrived back at the RdM, three separate rinse tanks were available for cameras, wetsuits and other gear. Hot showers on the dive platform allowed us to rinse off and warm up if needed.
Our first two dive days were around San Benedicto Island where I did six dives, and introduced us to a large variety of colorful fish, numerous whitetip sharks and several mantas. Clarion angels and Mexican triggerfish were plentiful on every dive. It seemed that each niche in a wall had whitetip sharks resting in it Ė anywhere from three to eight huddled together. In one small hole I saw four tails sticking out. At Ponta Norte we had a 20 minute visit from a manta that enjoyed our company and offered many photo opportunities. On day three we visited Roca Partida (=split rock), a volcanic column that rises from the depths to jut above water. The best visibility of the trip occurred here, maybe 100í. Mantas visited us on each of the three dives I did there, but didnít stay to play. A Galapagos shark and silvertip were sighted, and numerous whitetips. A large school of jacks hovered nearby as well. Days four and five found us at Socorro Island, the largest of the three we visited, and the site of a Mexican Naval base. Each day I did three dives, with mantas on three of the six. While by a wall at Ponta Tosca, an octopus dropped right by me and attach itself to the wall, blending in so well. On day two there a pair of mantas came by and one stayed with us for a while. A school of barberfish cleaned anything that came by for service.
We returned to San Benedicto for our last dive day, diving El Canyon four times. On our first dive, at least four mantas came by, plus I saw a hammerhead shark. Once I had climbed into the panga, dolphins came by so I put my mask on and jumped back in the water for a short encounter. Dive two had at least three mantas, but the jewel of the day was dive three, where a manta stayed with us the whole dive and a second showed up toward the end of our dive. A silky shark hung out under the RdM, perhaps enjoying its shade. The fourth dive yielded a silky shark and a Galapagos shark, but no manta activity.
The RdM is a fine boat and the crew does a nice job of taking care of passenger needs. The only downer of the trip, besides no whale encounters, happened only to my cabin Ė a pipe sprung a leak in the cabin wall on day three so the carpet was wet for most of the trip. The crew laid towels on the floor and changed them often, which helped but didnít solve the problem - which I hope was fixed once our trip was over.
The trip to and from the Revillagigedos takes about 27 hours each way, so those who are prone to seasickness should medicate before departure. Of course, sea conditions are often unpredictable Ė heading homeward the seas were so calm the boat crew brought the stabilizers in to allow for faster passage. For this trip, the RdM uses San Jose del Cabo as its home port. My group stayed in Cabo San Lucas at the reasonable Siesta Suites hotel before boarding, which allowed us easy access to the port and several nice restaurants including one attached to the hotel.

Websites Rocio del Mar   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving USVI, BVI, lesser Antilles, Bonaire, all three Caymans , Coco Island,
Revillagigedos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines,
Micronesia, Red Sea
Closest Airport San Jose del Cabo Getting There easy flights from US

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 73-76°F / 23-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions All dives led by divemaster and lasted around 45 minutes. Only a few dives went below 100' for a short time. Divers asked to stay within sight of each other. All had to check tanks for Nitrox mix and record it on log, which also asked for air usage.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Large camera table in dive prep area. Plenty of power sources. If everyone had a camera, it would be overcrowded but maybe 10 of 20 divers did photography so we were OK. Tool box on table available for anyone's use. Dedicated rinse barrel for cameras. All were carefully handled by crew.
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Report currently has 4 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Gregory S Brucein WA, US at May 07, 2017 09:53 EST  
That was a great report. Thanks for taking the time to post.
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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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