BLUEWATER PHOTO & TRAVEL SEA OF CORTEZ TRIP RECAP
By ADAM GIBSON
Although the majority of this trip report reflects my trip on September 9 – 16, 2017, you will find combined information and photos from all 3 of our Bluewater Trip to the Sea of Cortez this summer. Every trip, you'll find similar schedules and plans aboard the Rocio Del Mar, and I can happily say that each one of our trips were just as equal a success, and pleasure!
Day of arrival... the adventure begins!
We’ve all made our connections from around the US, meeting in PHX International Airport. As usual, the butterflies of every trip begin flowing; Who will be my roommate? I hope all the guests on the trip are cool. I wonder how visibility will be, and will we have awesome sightings!? These plus so many more come rushing through you’re head without any control.
After a few laps around the terminal to kill some time, we all gather at the meeting point and await our shuttle. Once loaded up, we begin the true journey down to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. A 4 - 4.5 hour drive that fly’s by thanks to the excitement of meeting fellow divers and having great conversations. Not to mention admiring the beautiful scenery all around, an enriched desert environment.
Once we finally pull up to the docks, we’re all excited to come onboard and begin our journey. With a quick dive briefing and a ‘hello to all’ we ship out for the overnight haul to our first dive location. After a delicious welcome meal, the exhaustion of our journey settles in and everyone heads to bed early with excitement in their eyes.
Day 2... diving begins
We wake up groggy to an early alarm, but no one dares sleep through this one - may the diving begin!
There’s nothing better than waking up to a fresh pot of coffee, grabbing a steaming mug, and heading out on the deck to see the sunrise. If you were ever to ask me where I would “die happy” you’ll find me right there, looking out to the deep blue and admiring the surroundings, no matter how limited they may be. The Sea of Cortez, delivers more than adequate views throughout your entire trip. From rocky island ranges, to various birds and sea animals coming along the boat to take a closer look.
Not only that, but throughout the entire trip, not ONE other dive boat was seen through our venture! Where else can you find that these days? Huge pro to Sea of Cortez.
We started things off with some macro-focused divesites. A variety of interesting subjects nearly 1 kick away from each other, you can spend your full hour around the same 10 meter diameter and be more than thrilled of the dive. From Blue spotted blennies and jawfish with eggs, to a number of different nudibranch species, you’ll be continually considering on whether to stay with what you’re looking at, or if you should go see whatever your buddy is so enthusiastically looking at nearby!
Traditionally your first couple of days aboard the Rocio Del Mar will be primarily macro-focused. These numerous critters are major highlights for some guests, while others are primarily there for the 'big stuff' like sea lions and whalesharks, which you'll find more on the second half of the trip. For anyone underwater photographers planning a trip to the Sea of Cortez, I can't stress it enough to bring camera setups for both macro, and wide-angle opportunities. You may get tired of continually having to switch from one setup to the next every-other dive, but in reality, that's one of the beauties for diving the Sea of Cortez – the constant diversity! It definitely keeps each dive interesting with not knowing what to expect to see next.
Although there are outliers to my schedule summation, in general, I'd say the first half of the trip is more macro-focused, while the second half is wide-angle.
Besides the routine process of waking up, a quick coffee and snack, and in the water by 7AM, each day is a little different when doing a Sea of Cortez trip with the Rocio Del Mar. It's a larger combination of itineraries than what I would say a “traditional” liveaboard schedule entails. As opposed to a fixed 4 dives a day from start to finish, we had a mix of 4, 3 or even a 2-dive day due to other exciting offerings within the itinerary. From snorkeling with whalesharks, visiting the sea lion colonies, or searching for sperm and fin whales over channel crossings, there's constantly something exciting to see or do so although your logged number of dives may be 2 or 3 less than they would at other liveaboard destinations... it's all for really great reasons.
A few additional notes for our most popular requests:
Thanks to the increasing demand to see whalesharks, and the local fishermen looking for steady ways to make a living, _____ has become a well structured offering in which the local fishermen will come pick up guests from the Rocio Del Mar, and bring them out to the bay and search for whalesharks. It's a symbiotic relationship as it provides financial stability for the fisherman, while also helping them do something other than fish. This is an amazing experience for sure, for both divers and non-divers alike. We were fortunate to see a multitude of whalesharks over the 3-4 hours of snorkeling we did. Not only that, but there was no other operators in the area so we had them all to ourselves! A totally different experience in comparison to other whaleshark excursions like Isla Mujeres where you can easily feel overcrowded and within a “cattle herding operation.” Unfortunately due to some camera issues with my wet-lens, I walked away with 0 photos I was happy with... but here's one just so you get the idea.
Sea Lions Galore
Another huge perk of diving the Sea of Cortez, is the abundance of Sea Lion Colonies on various islands. Being based in California, I thought I had plenty of Sea Lion interactions already under my belt, but nothings compares to the excitement/entertainment of swimming up to a colony of island-dwelling sea lion pups who are just looking to play as much as possible.
After an overnight boat-ride back to the Puerto Penasco, and early morning departure with many farewells, I'm saddened to say the trip comes to an official close.
The trip, crew, and (best for last) the guests, were all outstanding and I don't have enough positive things to say about any of it. If the Sea of Cortez was not already on your bucket-list of dive destinations, I highly recommend you consider it now!
Are you interested in learning more about the Sea of Cortez? Feel free to read our destination page here: Diving the Sea of Cortez
Would you like to join one of our upcoming Sea of Cortez trip for next year? We charter 2-3 trips a year and they are absolutely fantastic! Checkout our full list of trips here to see if any upcoming dates work for you: Bluewater Trips
2018 we have: