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  1. Went down to Cabo for a few days and then out on the Solmar V to the Soccoros for a week in mid-January. It can always be a crap shoot, and the last trip I made (this is my third) was in January and was spectacular. This time we had wind a cool weather in Cabo for most of the 5 days. The islands really got beat up with hard rain and wind the week before we went. Fortunately it had improved as we left. Unfortunately the seas were choppy and the wind was still bad for the first couple of days. The viz was pretty bad, worst I've seen. Normally it's 80-100', but we had more like 20' horizontal and 40' vertical. We couldn't see our fins at Cabo Pearce. Frustratingly, there was pretty decent animal interactions, with lots of hammerheads and even a small (10-12') Tiger at Canyons, but pretty much impossible to shoot! Roca Partida had better viz, still not what I've seen there, but lumpy seas and strong currents. There was a small school of Galapagos sharks, but the group scared them away. Whales were in and a couple of lucky guys dropped in and go a few shots, of course they were gone went I went in... Finally, we got back to San Benedicto and El Boiler was ok, although very hazy, and pretty bad by the afternoon. But the mantas were playing, and over the course of 8 dives I managed to get some images I liked, by getting within a few feet. Several dives we had 2-3 even 4 circling us and enjoying our bubbles. Over the years, I've learned to just stay motionless and verical with my hand raised as if asking a question. They'll zoom by, stop, and circle right over me. They love the attention. Amazing for an animal thats 18-22' in width! Oh well, that's blue water diving for you. The next couple of week's trip reports had the viz back and conditions excellent. The crew on the Solmar V is fantastic, the old boat still works out quite well, great food, huge camera table and everyone had fun. We do have a charter in 2014 at the end of May concentrating on shooting bait balls and the huge schools of silky sharks that seem to congregate around Roca Partida that time of year. I'll have an announcement up soon. Here's a few shots. They were taken with a Nikon D800, Sigma 15mmFE, in a Nauticam NA-D800 housing and Zen 230mm dome port with 2x Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. This system is very easy to use underwater as it is neutral and fairly compact for it's capabilities. Enjoy, Jack Manta by Optical Ocean, on Flickr Manta by Optical Ocean, on Flickr Manta by Optical Ocean, on Flickr Manta by Optical Ocean, on Flickr Jacks on Roca Partida by Optical Ocean, on Flickr Manta by Optical Ocean, on Flickr Jack+Manta by Optical Ocean, on Flickr This was shot by guide Erick Higuera on a 5DMKIII
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