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

Rocio del Mar, Jul, 2012,

by Jorge J. More, IL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6615.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Palau, Yap, Socorro, Cayman Islands, Key Largo, Turk and Caicos, Galapagos, Bahamas, Thailand, Coral Sea, Cozumel, Bermudas, Belize.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 69 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Recreational diver (130 on air, 110 on nitrox)
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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]

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Spent a week diving the Sea of Cortez with the Rocio del Mar. Highly recommended trip; read on for more details. If you want an older report on this trip, look at the March 2010 lead article of UnderCurrent.

The recommended route is to fly into Phoenix and then take a van to Puerto Peñasco in Mexico. The road is good so the 4 hour trip was smooth. Immigration into Mexico is painless and took no time.

We board the ship on Saturday. The Rocio has several schedules, but the Sea of Cortez is from June to early October. I went during late June.

The first two days were spent near the Angel de la Guarda island and the third near the island of Salsipuedes. These were good dives but not spectacular dives. Still there were many interesting creatures to keep you entertained and interested: guitar fish, slipper lobsters, Humboldt squids, jaw and scorpion fishes, stingrays of all kinds (they were everywhere), and forests of black corals. Visibility varied, and could be poor, in the 10 to 20 foot range. Temperatures were near 72F, so a hooded vest and an (old) 5mm wetsuit was barely acceptable.

The scenery above the water is beautiful, stark and highly mountainous. We are also alone. I do not recall seeing any other vessels during the trip, so the sense of isolation is complete. It was a great feeling. Also note that the Rocio is the only liveaboard that does the Sea of Cortez so you will not see divers from other boats. In many ways, the Sea of Cortez is uncharted territory.

The diving on the last three days is spectacular. The water is near 80F and visibility is good most of the time. We move near the island of San Pedro de Martir, the site of a rookery of sea lions. They are so much fun. The female sea lions are small and graceful and will interact with you; a typical maneuver is to swim (fast) at you and turn at the last minute, with the turn happening about 6 inches from your mask. Delightful. Doing loops, corkscrews, and blowing bubbles is also part of their repertoire. The fun lasts until the
bull (male sea lion) shows up, starts swimming back and forth between the females and us. This is a signal to retreat. We follow this signal since the bulls are huge; about 8 feet and 500+ pounds.

On Thursday afternoon we go hunting for pilot whales with the rubber pangas. We have seen them from the Rocio but not close. We do not find any whales but run into dolphins. Hundreds of them. An incredible sight. But we can only watch; they disappear when one of us gets in the water.

We start Friday near the Bahia de Los Angeles, and go in search of baby whale sharks. This was an extraordinary experience. A baby whale shark is about 15 feet long instead of the 30+ feet for the adults. We find them by looking for their fins sticking out of the water; as expected they look like the fin of a (very big) shark. We approach slowly and slip into the water with our snorkeling gear. If all goes well we swim with them for a long while, but sometimes they are in no mood for company.

You can find several videos of this experience on youtube, but if you want two done by our group, look at youtu.be/sjpXbNI05aI and youtu.be/UXBQb6dmcTw

The diving on the Rocio was excellent. The boat is very nice with room for 20 divers. The crew is attentive, helpful, and with an infinite amount of patience. Food was excellent with beer and wine for dinner. The divemasters, Rey and Mayo, were very good, and the panga drivers were always there when needed, helping with the gear. There were no mechanical failures (a tribute to Aurelio). An outstanding crew.


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Subscriber's Comments

By Laura A. Sonnenmark in VA, US at Aug 02, 2013 15:20 EST  
Thanks for the report! We leave for the Rocio in about a month and I can hardly wait!
By Jorge J. More in IL, US at Aug 04, 2013 12:34 EST  
Hope that you like it as much as I did!
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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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