Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center Socorro Trip Recap - Bluewater Dive Travel
Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center Socorro Trip Recap

Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center Socorro Trip Recap

Socorro Islands, Mexico

with Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center

Words By Ty Oliver

Pictures by Ty Oliver, Brian Constantine, Oren Bornstein & Tim Yeo


Socorro islands have the best Manta interaction anywhere in the world. 


Upon first descent we were greeted with large ominous shadows lurking in the distance. A few fin kicks later and those shadows began to materialize into widespread wings, lazily flapping into the gentle current. Some of us had traveled long distances, and a 30 hour boat ride lay in our wake, but on the first dive we were seeing what we all came to gaze upon. Giant Mantas.


 We were amazed at how much the gigantic 22ft wide Oceanic Mantas in Socorro love our bubbles on their bellies. 

Intelligent and inquisitive, we were soon surrounded by as many as three of these docile creatures. They seemed to take joy in playing with our bubbles, many times making several passes as we looked at them with wide eyes. The encounter wasn’t fleeting, and we were blessed to be joined by these magnificent animals throughout most of the first and second dives of the day.


Multiple Manta passes are great for getting that Manta and sunburst shot. 

The volcanic island chain of Socorro lies 280 miles to the south of Land’s End, Cabo San Lucas. For the sea weary, a 30 hour boat crossing may seem daunting, but we were lucky with the good fortune of calm seas. As the sun rose for the first day of diving, masked and brown boobies circled the Quino El Guardian, a 90 foot former scalloper that has since been fitted for diving. The sister ship of the Rocio Del Mar, her charm is palpable, with ample space for 16 guests and a full crew.

Bleary eyed and itching to dive, we awoke to San Benedicto Island looming in the distance. A moonlike crater formed the island’s horizon, it’s ashen hills dropping steeply into the churning deep blue waters below. A quick continental breakfast and we were geared up, the pangas at the ready to take us to our first dive site, El Cañon.


Boobies accompanied us all the way till we reached San Benedicto Island and her unique volcano backdrop. 

The dive site consisted of a sandy bottom at 70 feet, with several cleaning stations sitting atop the sporadic rock reef that is spread throughout the cove. Moorish idols, Clarion angel fish, and bluefin trevally flitter about the rocks, large moray eels and gigantic lobsters hiding in virtually every crevice.

Though subject to strong currents, the nutrient rich waters provide a fantastic environment for all types of critters big and small. We constantly had our eyes trained towards the blue in hopes of spotting mantas or the passing shark. Many times we were rewarded with short peeks of silkies, hammerheads, and silver tips, but these shy animals rarely stayed around for long.


Other than Mantas, we managed to get close to Silvertip Sharks and Silky Sharks while diving the volcanic underwater grography. 

After a nice rib eye dinner and plenty of stories being shared on the top deck over cold drinks, it was off to bed to rest up for the overnight steam to Socorro Island and another wonderful day of diving.


Mealtime was something everyone looked forward to.

Tonight we started off with a fresh mixed salad with a choice of dressing.

The main course was bacon wrapped grilled shrimp with a chipotle cream sauce, couscous and steamed vegetables.

And desert was a marvelous homemade flan. 

Every night ended with a standing ovation for the master chef Poncho.

Socorro Island is much bigger than San Benedicto, it’s sheer cliffs giving way to lush green hillsides. We set anchor at the protected dive site of Cabo Pearce, a variety of seabirds encircling the ship’s mast as we began to gear up for the first dive. Once in the pangas and a short boat ride later, dolphins began breaking the surface just feet from the boat. We quickly put our regulators in and backrolled, descending with the dolphins for a dive that none of us will soon forget.


Bottlenose Dolphins were just as interested in playing with us as we were with them. 

During this dive we were escorted by the dolphins throughout, and it seemed as though anytime we glanced towards the surface we were basking in the shadows of graceful mantas. Cabo Pearce certainly had our attention, and it’s a rare dive when a pair of white tip reef sharks play third fiddle to the other sea life that was dancing in front of our dome ports.


What more can a diver wish for: Dolphins and Mantas on the same dive?

Each subsequent dive at Socorro Island was spent observing cleaning stations at Cabo Pearce. A brigade of butterfly fish waited patiently for black jacks and trevally to cruise above the rocks, lightly picking at the parasites that had been accumulated during their ocean endeavors. Several times we spotted the graceful mantas in the distance, slowly flapping their wings until they were once again dancing in our bubbles.


A black morph Oceanic Manta stops by the cleaning station to pick up some Clarion Angelfish. 

Due to inclement weather we stayed pinned in the lee of the island for the next day at Cabo Pearce, and at night silky sharks patrolled the areas of light that emanated from the ship. The life that abounds in Socorro seems to well up from the deep. Krill and other microscopic animals being chased by small baitfish, which in turn attract the half beaks and flying fish, who then become the prey of dolphins and sharks. A full snapshot of the food chain was on display on a near nightly basis.


Nightly entertainment ranged from watching Silky Sharks hunting off the back of the vessel to Cards Against Humanity. 

After the weather began to cooperate again we set a course back for San Benedicto Island in hopes of diving El Boiler. The morning conditions were still too rough to venture out in, so it was decided that we would dive El Cañon. The choice proved to be an excellent one as many of our most experienced divers said they had just had a “top 10” dive.

As many as four mantas joined us on this single dive that morning. Passing by like airplanes doing touch and go’s, these majestic creatures looking more like Hollywood stars posing for the paparazzi. They seemed all too pleased to interact with us again and again, giants of the deep checking us out just as we were closely inspecting them.


One of the top dives of the trip included 4 Mantas staying with us from descent till we ran out of air. 

That afternoon we spotted the spouts of three humpback whales. Quickly the pangas were loaded with eager snorkelers, and off we set in hopes of catching a peek of these gigantic mammals. Unfortunately each time the boats approached we were shown their flukes, and there would be no opportunity to view them from below on this trip.


While we didn't manage to get in the water with Humpback Whales, we saw one breach and came close to a few flukes. 

The ocean was still churning that afternoon and a few brave divers made the trek across the chop in hopes of a classic dive at one of Socorro’s most classic dive sites, El Boiler. Yet poor conditions made for an uneventful trip beneath the surface, and those that stayed behind had another nice, relaxing dive at El Cañon.

Another fantastic meal provided by Pancho in the galley, and we were off to Roca Partida, the other famous dive site of the Socorro Islands. A relatively uneventful steam ensued, and as we wiped the sleep from our eyes we saw the the lone rock of Roca Partida rising out of the deep in the distance, no other land mass for miles around.


Roca Partida - Spilt Rock. 

With this being the first break in the weather in days we were not alone, with several other dive boats setting anchor near the lonesome rock. Renowned for it’s schooling sharks and whitetips stacked on ledges like piles of wood, cool gentle currents welled up from below, providing plenty of food for the variety of reef fish that call this place home. Three dives with more sharks than we could count as well as more manta sightings, and we were finally pulling up our anchor one last time and setting a course for Cabo San Lucas.




So much life was concentrated around Roca Partida, from schools of Bigeye Jacks to Sharks and even Yellowfin Tuna .


  Hundreds of Whitetip Reef Sharks pile on top of each other in every nook and crevice to be found on the pinnacle.


Schools of Galapagos Sharks, Silky Sharks and Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks congregate at Roca Partida.

The Socorro Islands have changed me. To be in the presence of such unspoiled beauty and underwater life is something that I won’t soon forget. Whether it be flocking sea birds, schooling jacks, flying mantas, or patrolling sharks, the Socorro Islands offer something that few other places in the world can.

It’s true that some of the most spectacular things in life require some effort to view, and the biodiversity of Socorro is no exception. The long boat rides to and from these islands are completely worth it, and already many of us are planning our next escape to this underwater odyssey.

                                                                                                                         - Ty Oliver


 Smiling faces at the end of a wonderful trip. 


Many thanks to Bluewater Travel, Eco Dive Center and the crew of the Quino El Guardian:

Juan Carlos - Captain

Rafael & Gilberto - Divemasters

Poncho - Chef

Antonio & Jorge - Panga drivers

Abraham - Engineer

Alberto - Stewart 



Bluewater Travel has many years of experience booking and leading group and individual trips to Socorro. We can book you on any liveaboard in Socorro for the same cost or less than booking any other way.

We know the diving, accommodation, cabins and when to go better than anyone else!

Email us at


Sign up for the mailing list today