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

Rocio del Mar, Sep, 2013,

by Laura Austin, VA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 7161.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was our very first liveaboard trip, and I think we chose well--a good way to "ease" into longer and more expensive trips. Getting there is painless enough--Phoenix is a hub--and it's about a 4 hour trip via a nice van to Puerto Penasco/Rocky Point through some dry and desolate landscape. We enjoyed having the time to get to know some of our diving companions!

The Sea of Cortez is unlike any diving we've known--semi-tropical, with little in the way of coral, sponges, etc. Lots of fish we recognize from warmer locales, but the seascape is mostly boulders, rocks, rubble, and sand. There are lots of interesting endemic species. The King Angel is a schooling fish here--we saw 20 at a time--and I had never seen angelfish school before.

We went to (finally!)snorkel with the Whale Sharks, and the Rocio delivered! They spend an afternoon in a Bay where the whale sharks are known to congregate. At first I thought we were going to get skunked yet again, but then we stumbled upon the most patient and nicest whale shark in the world. A 30-foot beauty who allowed our group of very excited divers to swim with it for well over an hour. It was absolutely amazing!

We saw sea lions on about half of our 20 dives--some are extremely playful and friendly--when the bull allows them to be so--but all are curious and will definitely come and check out the divers.

Early on in our trip, whilst we were at anchor, someone noticed a pod of dolphins not too far away; a crew member took us out in one of the zodiacs to check them out. I love that they were willing and able to do something so spontaneous.

Viz wasn't great; sometimes better than others, but we managed. The water was pretty warm most of the time, but occasionally we would be hit by icy-cold thermoclines. We'd brought extra rubber with us, but there were only a few times when we definitely needed it. We only had one dive with real (and ridiculous) current--and the DMs heard plenty of complaints about it. Everybody had sausages and whistles, as required, and the boat gave most diving pairs one of those radio thingees. So while this one dive was uncomfortable, and definitely not worth the trouble, it was not tremendously dangerous, either.

As I've said, this was our first liveaboard, but we quickly got into the routine; get up at 6 am and have a small breakfast of fruit and yogurt. Dive. Eat the big breakfast. Dive. Eat lunch. Dive. Eat a snack in the lounge. Dive again. (twilight/night--although there isn't a fourth dive every day.) And then dinner. The food is home-style, delicious and plenty of it! There are two "special" dinners each week served on the sundeck, but no entertainment or music. They don't always serve dessert, but I wish they would at least offer fruit after lunch and dinner. Canned beer and box wine is available, and they were kind enough to have plenty of brewed iced tea on hand. So no complaints about the food--it was perfect for a group of tired and hungry divers!

Our room had a lovely view, but was quite small. The bed is perhaps a bit larger than a single--definitely not a double--so it makes for a snuggly sleep. There is a small bunk on top where we kept extra stuff. It isn't easy to get things dry (we hung our suits outside, tied to the railing) and the shower gets EVERYTHING wet. On the other hand, the water is hot and there is plenty of it--although we tried to take "seaman's showers" when we could. I wish they would provide thicker towels.

As for the crew, love, love, LOVE them! These guys work tremendously hard to ensure that we have a great trip. They are outstanding! I appreciated our DM very much--friendly and helpful and competent, but he was a bit unfamiliar with the dive sites. Our "B" group agreed that we should have switched off with the more experienced guide every other day. It isn't fair that the "A" group comes back and has seen 6 octopi, 4 eels, etc. etc. and the "B" group has seen...not so much. I mean, as far as I know, we all paid the same amount of money for the trip. I hope they will address this situation in the future, as it caused some sore feelings and minor resentment.

I will say that we had a great group--everybody got along very well and there were lots of good conversations in the galley and in the lounge. Most were Americans--we had a lovely British couple and an adventurous young Danish woman--although we were the only Easterners. Lots of diversity in terms of experience and background, but being with this group allayed a lot of the worries I had about liveaboard trips. We are ready for the next one!
Websites Rocio del Mar   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Lembeh, Palau, Bonaire, Cozumel, Cayman, Roatan, Utila, Belize, Florida and the Florida Keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp -°F / -°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-60 Ft/ 6-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minutes; 50 for night dive.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Although most of the 17 divers on board had a camera, I would say only four were serious photographers. Dive crew treated both the photographers and their cameras well!
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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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