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Dive Review of Sea Escape liveaboard in
Mexico (Western)/Revillagigedo (Socorro)

Sea Escape liveaboard, Dec, 2013,

by Jennifer Widom, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 7484.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Note: I posted the same review to Tripadvisor

Our family of four spent the 2013-14 New Years week aboard Sea Escape in the Socorro (Revillagigedo) Islands. We've dived all over the world, recently favoring spots within the "coral triangle" of Southeast Asia. This year we decided to try something different, trading lush reefs for the promise of plenty of big stuff. As an added bonus, the boat leaving from Cabo San Lucas meant only a short flight from our home (northern California), although the other divers on our trip came from around the globe.

In short: We were very happy with the big-stuff diving and the change of pace from our usual diving region. The Sea Escape is a well-run, well-priced liveaboard. The diving is well worth going back to, and if we did return, we'd again pick Sea Escape over the more expensive alternatives.

The boat and the crossing:

Sea Escape isn't especially luxurious, but it's clean, comfortable, seemingly well-maintained (no problems on our trip that we were aware of), and the crew did a good job. The boat holds 18 passengers but our trip had only 11, allowing us to spread out a bit; it's possible the boat might feel a bit crowded with 18. The cabins vary in size, configuration, and location, so if you're fussy you might study the layout and request a specific one. The food was varied and enjoyable -- not always gourmet exactly, but interesting and tasty enough. For better or worse, packaged munchies were ever-present. Soft drinks, beer, and wine are plentiful and free, a nice bonus.

It took a little under 24 hours each way to and from the islands. We were lucky with a moderately smooth crossing in one direction, and downright glassy seas in the other. The boat is nicely set up for just hanging out. There's a pleasant indoor lounge area adjacent to the dining tables, and the upper deck has a large shaded outside area with comfortable chairs. Our whole family did the PADI Nitrox course on the crossing over (Nitrox is critical for the dive profiles on this trip, by the way), but we weren't bored on the way back.

The diving and the water:

We dove in five areas: the two sides of San Benedicto Island, the two sides of Socorro Island, and Roca Partida (just a rock sticking out the ocean with nothing around for miles). Roca Partida is the high-energy site, with tons of fish and sharks. Along with a variety of reef sharks (whitetip, silvertip, silky, Galapagos) on constant parade, we saw a few hammerheads and a whale shark. The downside of Roca Partida is its exposure to weather and swells; conditions cooperated for us so we spent two full days there. One side of San Benedicto Island (The Canyon) was our check-out area, only moderately interesting with a few sharks and a couple of mantas. The other side (The Boiler) is the famed magical site where, in our case at least, up to eight giant mantas circled us closely for the duration of every dive. Socorro Island itself was probably the least interesting, though we did see dolphins underwater, a couple of mantas, and a hammerhead or two. All told, the islands certainly met their reputation. We had assumed the corals and small stuff would be a zero, but that wasn't really the case -- both Socorro and San Benedicto have decent areas of reef and smaller fish.

We dove four times most days, with no night diving permitted. Since dives were often in the 50-90 foot range throughout, they were typically well under an hour (and, as I said, Nitrox really is needed for the profiles). Whenever we dove in a new location we'd tend to stay roughly in our group of 11 following the dive guide, although independent buddy diving was allowed once the guide confirmed we were capable and experienced divers, which everyone was. Apparently when the boat has the full complement of 18 divers, two dive guides are aboard so they can divide into groups.

In late December the water was 75-76 degrees. Those of us with 3mm wetsuits were too cold, those with 7mm too hot, those with 5mm just right! Visibility ranged from an acceptable 30' to a spectacular 150', depending not only on location but also time of day.

The crew and the operation:

Our trip director and dive guide was Julian, who leads (or co-leads) only some of the Sea Escape trips. We thought Julian was excellent. He has the perfect demeanor for a trip director -- authoritative, but still congenial and fun -- and he was enthusiastic yet careful when it came to the diving. There was a crew of eight, including two dedicated dinghy drivers. (Except for the checkout dive, all diving was from dinghies.) Only Julian spoke English well, but all of the crew were friendly and helpful. When our kids came up from one dive shivering, the dinghy driver immediately radioed to the boat to have hot chocolate waiting. The captain himself drapes a warm towel over one's shoulders after each dive, whisking away and hanging up dripping wetsuits.

The only snafus we encountered involved pre-trip logistics, and were fairly minor. Some information we received well in advance of the trip (prices for Nitrox, hotel requirements) turned out to be incorrect or outdated by the time our trip arrived. On departure day, there was inconsistent information across the divers about when and where we would be picked up. But the boat didn't leave until everyone was accounted for, and once we were underway there were no logistical problems at all.

In summary, Socorro delivers the high-energy big-stuff diving, and Sea Escape delivers a solid trip. Highly recommended.

Note: We used Ksenia at Worldwide Dive and Cruise to book the trip. We've used Ksenia multiple times now to help us select a destination and then do the booking. She's superb on both counts.
Websites Sea Escape liveaboard   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 75-76°F / 24-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-150 Ft/ 9-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions see review
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 1 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]
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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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