Socorro Big Animal Trip 2018



 Socorro Islands Underwater Photo Workshop 2018

Experience the best place in the world for mantas, sharks, dolphins and humpbacks, on the Rocio del Mar! Fly into Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico for amazing liveaboard diving in the beautiful Socorro Islands.


April 7 - 15, 2018

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Starting from $3,795 REMAINING CABIN ONLY $2,499

Why Join This Trip?

✓ Daily photo workshop

 ✓ Leaders who care about their guests' experiences

✓ Amazing boat, staff, food and crew!

✓ Four guided dives per day (conditions permitting)

✓ Timed to offer the best opportunity to see hammerhead & silky sharks, humpback whales, whale sharks, dolphins, large schools of fish besides THE GIANT MANTAS

✓ Beer and wine included

Why Travel With Bluewater?

We book resorts/ liveaboards that offer the best overall value

Gear discounts and other benefits

Great support if flight/weather issues occur

✓ "Bluewater helped me out when I needed it most, the airline wouldn't let me board because of a Visa issue. They saved my butt" - Ray Tsusuki

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Trip Overview - This trip is timed to offer the best opportunity to see hammerhead & silky sharks, mantas, dolphins, large schools of fish and a chance for humpback whales or whale sharks! Sail and dive in comfort on the incredible Rocio del Mar.

Rocio Del Mar Rocio Del Mar


Trip would be led by a professional underwater photographer and dive travel expert and underwater photo instructions would be give to guide everyone. Beginner photographers are very much welcome to join and learn. Price includes local beer and house wine. You can read a wonderful report of this trip here

Read the great reviews of the Rocio del Mar! Read the reviews on diving Socorro here

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Dive Overview - These islands are a spectacular magnet for a wide range of big pelagic animals. Schooling Hammerhead sharks, dolphins, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, clouds of jacks and barracuda, tuna, wahoo, marlin, oceanic white tip sharks, whale sharks and mantas.

Diving Conditions in April - Water temperature will be around 74-80 degrees F. Hammerheads, silky sharks, whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, schools of fish and more will be aplenty.

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✓ Daily photo workshops

 ✓ Your accommodation and housekeeping

✓ All meals, snacks and beverages

✓ Four guided dives per day (conditions permitting)

✓ Tanks, air and weights

✓ Breakfast on the day of disembarkation

✓ Local beer and wine

 ✓ All taxes


National Park Fees: $28

Hyperbaric chamber mandatory contribution: $15

Nitrox: $120 for the week

 ✗ Fuel surcharge: $100

✗ Gratuity

Daily Photo Workshops - Workshops will be given daily on topics such as wide-angle underwater photography, ambient light shots, snorkeling with large animals, strobe exposure and positions, avoiding backscatter, and composition. Help underwater is also given.

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Trip Schedule

 > Arrive a day before departure and stay the night in a nearby hotel.

> Day 1 - Rocio Del Mar will be ready for embarkment by 8:00am, and will depart at 9:00am.

> Day 2 - Rocio del Mar arrives to San Benedicto around 11:00 a.m. Start Diving! 2 dives scheduled.

> Day 3 – San Benedicto, 4 dives scheduled.

> Day 4 – Roca Partida, 3 dives scheduled.

> Day 5 – Roca Partida, 3 dives scheduled. 

 > Day 6 – Socorro Island, 4 dives scheduled.

> Day 7 – San Benedicto, 4 dives scheduled. At the end of this day we will start our departure to San Jose del Cabo.

> Day 8 – Arrive at San Jose del Cabo. Guests may sleep on the boat.

> Day 9 - Disembark after breakfast.


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About the Trip Leader

Mark Strickland’s life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as lifeguard, boat captain and scuba instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many top dive locales, including Virgin Islands, Australia, and Thailand, where he spent 17 years as Cruise Director on a series of liveaboards. Mark now resides in Ventura county, California.

An avid marine naturalist, Mark has discovered several nudibranch species. He is co-author and principle photographer for Lonely Planet’s award-winning book, “Diving and Snorkeling Thailand”, and his work appears in many magazines, books and displays around the world. Currently, Mark leads several dive trips each year to his favorite destinations, while working on a career-spanning large-format pictorial book.

Mark's photos and articles have appeared in magazines and books around the world, including Action Asia, BBC Wildlife, National Geographic World, Natural History, Scuba Diving, Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Sportdiving, Unterwasser and many others. In addition to representation by several stock photo agencies, Mark operates his own photo library, Mark Strickland Photography,

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Rocio Del Mar Rocio Del Mar

Rocio Del Mar Rocio Del Mar


About the Rocio Del Mar - Rocio Del Mar offers 10 comfortable guest staterooms on two decks. All have private bathrooms with hot shower stalls, western style toilets, lavatories, and above height window. Each cabin is carpeted and air conditioned. There are room length windows with privacy curtains and convenient gear and clothes storage drawers beneath the beds.

Rocio Del Mar

Rocio Del Mar

Rocio Del Mar


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Flight Information

> Trip attendees should fly in and out of Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico (airport code SJD). Flights should arrive the day before the trip starts.

> Return flights should be made anytime on the last day of the trip. There will be a shuttle at the boat around 9-10am for transport to the airport and the cost is $20 per person.

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Payment Schedule

> $900 deposit to confirm your spot
> $1,400 due 1 Sept 2017
> Balance due 2 Jan 2018

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Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call us today at 310-915-6677 email us at

Or stop by our office at 3961 Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 206 Culver City, CA 90230 

And let us book your dream vacation!

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Photo Gallery 

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Socorro Underwater Photos from Previous Trip

Soscorro 2017 Trip Soscorro 2017 Trip

Soscorro 2017 Trip Soscorro 2017 Trip

Soscorro 2017 Trip Soscorro 2017 Trip

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Reviews (2)

  • Reviewer
Bowling Green, KY
United States

The Rocio is not a luxury boat, but it is very comfortable and seaworthy. The food is good and the crew warm and friendly. I have made two trips on this boat and hope to return to do the third itinerary they offer, Socorro diving is nothing short of exciting ! The animals are magnificent , my personal favorites are the giant mantas. They come in close enough for even a rookie like me to pop off a few decent shots. This boat brings the dinghy Literally Onto the back deck of the boat for diver loading and unloading , it's brilliant ! Allowing for safe entry and exit every dive, I love it ! Mark Strickland was our trip leader . I found him to be open, helpful and full of information about photography (of course), but also very knowledge concerning the sea life. We often enjoyed conversations pertaining to the subjects we came to see as well as how to best "get the shot ". The workshops were not overwhelming or intimidating for a novice like me with a small point and shoot. I would easily encourage anyone who wants to see and experience thrilling large animal action to give this trip, boat and Mark Strickland an opportunity to show you how it done ! Especially if you have a camera of any size or calibre ;8-) Enjoy !

Visited on 04/2017 - Submitted on 11/02/2017

More correctly known as the Revillagigedo Archipelago, these four remote, widely separated volcanic islands are celebrated as some of the best places in the world to see big animals underwater. As anyone who’s been there will attest, its reputation is well deserved.

From the moment we boarded the Rocio Del Mar, it was clear that we’d be well looked after. Attentive crew members were always ready and willing to help, and in no time everyone had their dive gear set up and organized. With a 25 hour steam to our first dive site, the remainder of the day was spent preparing camera gear, relaxing, and getting to know one another. A typically diverse Bluewater group, we consisted of 20 divers from all corners of the globe and varying levels of diving and photographic experience. All, however, shared a keen sense of adventure, and eagerly awaited our first dive among these fabled islands.

The closest of the islands is San Benedicto, which makes it the logical first stop of the trip. After a relatively smooth crossing, we were greeted by a contingent of seabirds including tropic birds, blue-footed and brown boobies, the latter of which made

The checkout dive was a relatively shallow site known as Las Cueuitas, where we were greeted by a pair of white-tip reef sharks and several stingrays. Shortly thereafter a large manta showed up, followed by a young tiger shark, immediately setting a high bar for expectations on the rest of the trip. We were diving in 3 separate groups, but nearly everyone saw at least one manta, and most saw the tiger shark as well.

For our afternoon dive and all of the following day, we moved around to the opposite side of San Benidicto to one of the region’s premier sites, a submerged pinnacle called “El Boiler”. Named for the frothy surge that is often present at its shallowest point, the Boiler is best known for giant mantas, which visit regularly to be cleaned by the endemic Clarion angelfish. The manta action here can be truly amazing, sometimes including five or more individuals. What really sets this site apart, however, is the remarkable affinity these animals display towards humans… they actually seem to enjoy bathing in the bubbles of divers’ exhaled air, and frequently come within touching distance. .

We had lots of close manta encounters on the first two days, sometimes involving the same animal circling back for many successive passes. It’s hard to imagine anything upstaging these winged giants, but that’s exactly what happened on the first morning dive, when a pod of bottlenose dolphins cavorted among us for several minutes, to the delight of all concerned. There were plenty of other interesting creatures to be seen as well, including octopus, morays, Pacific stingrays, peacock flounder and many colorful reef fish like Mexican hogfish, redtail triggerfish, spotted boxfish and Moorish idols.

The following day we found ourselves at another iconic site, Roca Partita. A tiny pinnacle rising from very deep water, 80 miles from the closest island, it’s a natural magnet for marine life. Swimming toward the rock while descending, we were immediately struck by the dramatic topography—sheer walls on all sides, plummeting into near-bottomless depths. Soon, we found ourselves amongst huge schools of creolefish, cotton-mouth jacks and red-tail triggerfish, especially on the up-current side. Mingling among them were squadrons of black jacks, bigeye jacks and rainbow runners, along with an odd bluefin trevally. White-tip reef sharks were everywhere, milling about just off the wall, and also piled up by the dozens in several alcoves in the wall between 40 and 70 feet. Also making regular appearances were silky and silvertip sharks, along with a number of large Galapagos sharks, which were usually quite deep, but sometimes followed the wall up to safety-stop depth. Every now and then, hefty yellowfin tuna came bolting up from the depths, making a quick pass near the rock, then disappearing just as quickly into the deep blue. Further away from the rock, those who didn’t mind going a bit deeper were rewarded on several occasions with schools of scalloped hammerheads numbering forty or more.

Big pelagics being the main focus, most of us paid little attention to the reef dwellers, but those who brought a suitable lens did find ample subject matter, including spiny lobsters, moray eels, and colorful reef fish like Moorish Idols and Giant Hawkfish. Even safety stops can be interesting here, as sleek wahoo often sauntered by for a look as we were being picked up by the panga (dinghy). Because it is so exposed and weather-dependent, most trips only include one day at Roca Partida, but the weather gods gifted us with near-perfect conditions, allowing us to spend two full days here. The fun continued as we took in a glorious sunset from the top deck, while the crew set up a festive barbeque, complete with lively Mexican music and margaritas, along with delicious grilled meats and other goodies.

The next day found us at the largest of the four islands, Socorro, where we dived a rocky point called Cabo Pierce. Here, we immediately noticed a greater variety of fish life than at other sites, including longnose butterflyfish, Pacific stingrays, peacock flounder, and some sizable leather bass. Also abundant were barberfish and Clarion angelfish, both of which serve as cleaners for passing mantas and scalloped hammerheads. After the first dive we steamed around to a semi-protected cove for the requisite check-in with the Mexican navy, who briefly came aboard and checked everyone’s passports. From there we headed back to Cabo Pierce for several more dives, during which we had more amazing, close encounters with several giant mantas.

On our final day, we found ourselves back at San Benedicto Island, at a site called El Canyon. A horseshoe-shaped set of rocky ridges projecting out into deep water, this site is subject to vigorous currents, creating favorable conditions for a wide range of fish life, including big pelagics. Our first dive started with a large tiger shark angling up the steep slope from deep water, briefly passing within photo range. Then, as we stared into the blue away from the rocks, dozens of scalloped hammerheads came into view. They slowly sauntered past before disappearing in the distance, but a few minutes later another school repeated the pattern, always moving into the current. Subsequent dives included only occasional hammerheads, but there were plenty of other great things to see, with an abundance of colorful reef fish, moray eels, schooling jacks, and several mantas. There was even a pair of silky sharks waiting for us under the Rocio Del Mar upon our return.

Throughout the trip, my fellow guests took full advantage of the excellent photo and video ops, which we celebrated each evening with a review of the day’s images. Most participants also joined the daily photo classes, covering a wide range of subjects from the basics of exposure to recommended shooting strategies to digital workflow to more subjective topics like composition and creative techniques.

Before we knew it, the week had flown past, and it was time to head back to Cabo San Lucas. Luckily the weather continued to cooperate, providing a smooth crossing and great conditions for our celebratory last dinner and end-of-trip slide show, when everyone had a chance to show off their favorite photos and video sequences. Throughout the trip, we enjoyed delicious food, exceptional service, friendly, professional dive leadership, and a sense of well-being that comes from being on a comfortable, seaworthy vessel in the hands of a highly experienced captain. All in all it was an exciting and rewarding adventure that I think most participants would eagerly do again… personally I am more than ready!

Visited on 04/2017 - Submitted on 10/30/2017