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Socorro Island Closed by Mexican Military


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#1 drsteve

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:00 PM

Hi All,

I just got back last night from a trip to the Revillagigedos on the Nautilus Explorer. I will write a trip report in a few days when I have a chance to go through my images. However, I thought I would let you know about a recent development. We spent two days at San Benedicto and two days at Roca Partida. On the night that we were planning to move the boat to Socorro, we were informed that the Mexican Military has closed Socorro Island until some time in mid March! San Benedicto and Roca Partida will remain open, but diving at Socorro is currently off limits. On my trip we spent an extra day at San Benedicto. We then returned to Cabo a day early because the weather was deteriorating and the forecast called for 20-25 ft swells. It was time to go because the vis at San Benedicto had dropped dramatically so there was no point in staying. Even in the lea of the island there were some pretty impressive waves crashing into the cliff with spray going up over 100 ft into the air. It was still a great trip but not being able to dive Socorro was a blow. More later.

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#2 loftus

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:09 PM

Hi All,

I just got back last night from a trip to the Revillagigedos on the Nautilus Explorer. I will write a trip report in a few days when I have a chance to go through my images. However, I thought I would let you know about a recent development. We spent two days at San Benedicto and two days at Roca Partida. On the night that we were planning to move the boat to Socorro, we were informed that the Mexican Military has closed Socorro Island until some time in mid March! San Benedicto and Roca Partida will remain open, but diving at Socorro is currently off limits. On my trip we spent an extra day at San Benedicto. We then returned to Cabo a day early because the weather was deteriorating and the forecast called for 20-25 ft swells. It was time to go because the vis at San Benedicto had dropped dramatically so there was no point in staying. Even in the lea of the island there were some pretty impressive waves crashing into the cliff with spray going up over 100 ft into the air. It was still a great trip but not being able to dive Socorro was a blow. More later.

That's a bummer! what was the reason given for the closure?
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#3 drsteve

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:20 PM

"Naval Exercises"

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#4 JackConnick

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:50 PM

Wow Steve, sorry to hear that. We had such an amazing couple of days there just the week before. ASFIK there wasn't any mention to us then that they might close it.

I too need to generate a report, but have been working on my bookeeping instead :-(. It will be interesting to compare notes.

Jack

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#5 drsteve

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:05 PM

There was no advance warning. The boat got the news the day before the closure. It caught both us and the Solmar V by surprise. Gotta love the military. The only consolation is that we didn't go to Socorro and get turned back. That would have lost a day of diving.

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#6 underwatercolours

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:12 AM

I've been out there several times when the military closed Socorro Island for military maneuvers.

The best diving in the Revillagigedos is not around Socorro Island. The best diving is around San Benedicto Island at sites like The Boiler and El Canyon and my favorite, Roca Partida. This is where routinely I've seen the giant mantas, schooling hammerheads, whalesharks, whitetips, silvertips, dolphins and biggest schools of fish. Usually the trip to Socorro Island is made so the boats can check into customs and we can get several dives in at The Aquarium or Cabo Pearce. When the military closes the island, the boats don't need to check in and you'll get an extra dive in because of this.

Having been there seven times, in my opinion, not going to Socorro Island is not a big deal.

#7 JackConnick

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:53 AM

Well, I beg to differ; Socorro was where we had some of the best dives - at Cabo Pearce we had a huge school of hammerheads roll right through us, two schools of dolphins, the second followed by a tiger shark. Also some silkys, etc. Others saw a manta. This was on one dive!

At Punta Tosca we had amazing dives with 3-4 mantas on a dive, tiger sightings and a pod of dolphins that came up to us and even let us pet them. One female rolled over on her tummy and demanded that the group stroke her - two days in a row!

Cabo O'Neal was a bust, too much swell, but on a previous trip I've dove a nice swim through.

At The Aquarium Sten showed me the Clarion Damselfish (not angel) a rare panemic species. We also had a nice surface trip with the skiff along the shore poking into a cave or two.

Yeah, the sites on San Benidicto and Roca Partida are more famous, but there lots of good diving on Socorro. It's always a crap shoot with blue water, big animal dives however.

Jack

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#8 underwatercolours

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 10:45 AM

I've also had some nice dives at Cabo Pearce. On a trip several years ago I found myself surrounded by dolphins there. Here's my trip report from that trip: http://www.underwate...port_Jan08.html

Also been to Punta Tosca and O'Neal, sites that are less visited, but they were lackluster.

#9 corone138

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:48 PM

I was on the Solmar V last week. We were informed at the dock in Cabo that we wouldn't be able to go to Socorro also. Even still we had some really great dives at Roca Partida and San Benedito. We waited until Friday afternoon to head back to Cabo (watched the Nataulis Explorer steam away in the night on Thursday). Crossing was pretty rough, but no where near 20-25' swells (10-15 max). I can't wait to go back.

#10 drsteve

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:08 PM

How was the diving on Friday? On my last dive at the Canyons on Thursday afternoon, the vis had dropped to less than 10ft.

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#11 rtrski

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 08:03 PM

I think the Mexican navy is trying to install friggin laser beams on the sharks.

I mean, just saying....

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#12 corone138

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:25 PM

How was the diving on Friday? On my last dive at the Canyons on Thursday afternoon, the vis had dropped to less than 10ft.


Viz was good 40-50 as long as you were away from the sandy bottom. I don't recall it ever getting as bad as <10.

#13 raja.diver

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 02:02 AM

Socorro re-opened on 15 March. I believe the Nautilus Explorer, the boat I was on, was the first to return the next day. We also visited San Benedicto and spent one day at Roca Partida during this trip.

Visibility was poor on almost all sites and sightings limited. The best diving was at Roca Partida. One of the divers left his D700 & Sea&Sea housing in the bag all week.

One innovation on this trip was snorkelling with the humpbacks. Divemaster Stan spent some time in the Silver Banks looking at what operators there are doing. He had 6 passengers on a skiff for 2 hours searching for them. Following the 2007 accident, when a diver was apparently struck by a whale and suffered a broken leg, he was being cautious. However, almost all of us were able to snorkel with the whales. Again, visibility was quite poor.

#14 raja.diver

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 08:37 AM

A few days after making the preceding post, these of us who had been on the March 13th charter received $750 credit towards a future charter given the poor conditions we encountered. As the Nautilus Explorer cannot be held responsible for the condtions we encountered, I felt their gesture was very generous.

Edited by raja.diver, 29 March 2010 - 08:48 AM.


#15 JackConnick

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 09:18 AM

A few days after making the preceding post, these of us who had been on the March 13th charter received $750 credit towards a future charter given the poor conditions we encountered. As the Nautilus Explorer cannot be held responsible for the condtions we encountered, I felt their gesture was very generous.


Raja;

That's too bad, a long way to go for bad conditions. I was debating going later in the spring to se the whales, now I know I made the right decision to go in January.
Their refund/credit was pretty nice.
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#16 MIKE POWELL

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 01:55 PM

Raja;

That's too bad, a long way to go for bad conditions. I was debating going later in the spring to se the whales, now I know I made the right decision to go in January.
Their refund/credit was pretty nice.
Jack



Just got back from Socorro also....vis was not the best and sightings were not what I expected, but plenty of Humpback breechings. Between a bit of Montazuma and way too many margaritas I didn't dive as much as most.
I would like to give Kudos to the Solmar V staff...there service was top notch and I plan to go back in the winter when the vis is better....just need to figure out if that is Nov., Dec, etc.

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#17 tdpriest

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 04:00 AM

Visibility was poor on almost all sites and sightings limited. The best diving was at Roca Partida. One of the divers left his D700 & Sea&Sea housing in the bag all week.


That's just being sulky. I know that conditions weren't great in March, but there was still wildlife about:

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=35429

San Benedicto was better for us than Roca Partida:

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=35436

Tim

:D

Edited by tdpriest, 19 April 2010 - 04:05 AM.