Rocio Del Mar Liveaboard

4.54545454545
(11 REVIEWS)
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Rocio del Mar liveaboard, Mexico

Socorro Islands (9 Nights), Sea of Cortez (7 nights) and Explore Baja (12 nights) | From $385++/night

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The Rocio Del Mar is one of the best dive liveaboards specializing in trips to the Sea of Cortez and Socorro Islands in Mexico. This 89-foot liveaboard yacht offers 10 cabins for up to 20 divers.

rocio del mar's key features

What we particularly like about the Rocio Del Mar liveaboard is how knowledgeable and friendly the dive staff are, the stability of the boat which is very important for the typically rough navigation to the Socorro Islands, the AMAZING Mexican food served aboard, and the sufficient space for underwater photographers to prepare their equipement before and after each dive. The Rocio Del Mar's got everything an avid diver and underwater photographer could need for an epic scuba diving trip in Socorro and the Sea of Cortez!

 

 

Location

Embarkation from San José Del Cabo (SJD) for Socorro and Puerto Penasco for the Sea of Cortez. 

 

Dive Overview

Excellent big animal diving in Socorro with giant mantas, lots of sharks, humpback whales, and whale sharks. The Sea of Cortez is great for mammal and macro with large biomass of aquatic life.

Learn more on the diving in Socorro Islands and Sea of Cortez


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Accommodations

Types of Cabins, Amenities and Photos

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Rocio Del Mar Cabin Overview

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.

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Cabin 1 - 6 (LEFT) & Cabin 7 & 8 (RIGHT) 

Rocio Del Mar Rocio Del Mar

Cabin 9 & 10 (LEFT) and Bathroom (RIGHT)

 

Rocio Del Mar Cabin Details

Eight cabins on the main deck - four on the port and starboard side. 6 cabins feature two single beds with reading lights. 2 cabins feature a double bed with lots of storage space underneath. Adjustable reading lights to focus the illumination without disturbing your cabin-mate.

There are two staterooms on the second deck behind the bridge on the port and starboard side. Each features a full size lower bed and a single size bed on top with adjustable reading lights.

 

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General Facilities

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 Rocio Del Mar liveaboard Rocio Del Mar

Dining Room & Salon

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Camera Table & Dive Platform

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Sundeck & Outdoor Kitchen

 

Rocio Del Mar Boat Features

  • Air-conditioning
  • Carpets
  • Storage space
  • En-suite bathrooms
  • Salon
  • Sundeck
  • Spacious dining area
  • Bar
  • Lounge area
  • Outdoor kitchen

 

Rocio Del Mar Dive Facilities

  • DIN Adaptors
  • Nitrox
  • Camera table
  • Wet gear storage
 

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Food & Drinks Aboard Rocio Del Mar

Each day starts early with a continental breakfast with fresh fruit, cereals, bagels, yogurt, breads, and freshly brewed coffee. After the first dive, guests enjoy a full, plated breakfast. After the second dive, guests will be served a full, plated lunch with a hot homemade soup to start. In the afternoon, they serve a large snack often of sandwiches, fruit, cheeses and more. For dinner guests enjoy a three-course, plated meal with a salad, entrée, and dessert. Hot and cold beverages are always available including canned soft drinks. Divers also enjoy complimentary beer and wine after their last dive of the day. They can accommodate any special dietary needs.

 

Rocio Del Mar Rocio Del Mar

 

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Rocio Del Mar Deck Plan

Rocio Del Mar

 

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Schedule, RATES & Availability

Rocio Del Mar Liveaboard Schedule & Rates

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Prices are per person in USD and are inclusive of all taxes. See the full 'Inclusions & Exclusions'.  Click on 'Booking Request' to see available cabin options and to book. 

 

Inclusions

  • 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
  • All taxes

 

Exclusions

  • Anything purchased on board
  • Gear
  • Clothing and sundries
  • Dive training and certifications
  • Equipment rental
  • Transfers
  • Hyperbaric chamber donations
  • $28 Park Fee
  • $15 chamber fee
  • $120 Nitrox fee (if desired)
  • Crew Gratuity
 

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RAtes & Availability 

For more information on rates and availability email us at info@bluewaterdivetravel.com or call us at +1-310-915-6677 and we will gladly help you plan your dream dive vacation!

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Dive Information & Itineraries

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Dive the Midriff Islands (7 Nights)

With clear, deep waters, abundant sea life, golden sandy beaches, and inspiring vistas, the Sea of Cortez - known as the Gulf of California - is a breathtaking destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, boating, and exploring diverse marine creatures. Legendary diver Jacques Cousteau described the Sea of Cortez as the "world's aquarium". Dive on untouched walls and reefs abounding in marine life. Encounter large and small whale species, whale sharks, jumping mobula rays, and sea lion colonies.

  • Day 1. Embark at 5:00 p.m. Puerto Peñasco, leave at 6:00 p.m.
  • Day 2. Wake up at Refugio Bay on Angel Island Potential Dive sites: Angel Rock, La Vela, Lolo’s Cove, El Jardin
  • Day 3. Angel Island Potential Dive sites: Andrea’s Eagle, El Aquario, Las Vivoras, Las Vivoras Night Dive
  • Day 4. Salsipuedes Potential Dive sites: Los Cuervos, El Caballo, In Animas, El Lavadero, El Lavadero Night Dive
  • Day 5. San Pedro Martir Potential Dive sites: Ravijunco, Xareni’s Pinnacle, Coromel, Morrito
  • Day 6. San Pedro Martir Potential Dive sites: El Arroyo, Punta Martir (Sea Lions), Chayo’s Cove
  • Day 7. Start trip back to Puerto Peñasco Potential Dive sites: El Pescador, Baja Ca., Animas in Bahia de Los Angeles with whale sharks, La Ventana.
  • Day 8. Disembark between 7:00 am.
 

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Dive the Socorro Islands Itinerary (8 Nights)

Socorro Island is the most diverse in flora, fauna, and topography. The islands lie 250 miles off Baja Mexico's southern shore. When embarking on a trip to the Socorro Islands; possible destinations on the itinerary are San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida, and Clarion Islands. These islands are a spectacular magnet for the largest ocean pelagic animals in the world. Schooling Hammerhead sharks, Tiger sharks, dolphins, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, clouds of jacks and barracuda, tuna, wahoo, oceanic white tips sharks, whale sharks, and mantas. 

  • Day 1 - Departure 9:00 a.m. For all 9-night trips in 2020, boarding is at 5:00 p.m. at San Jose del Cabo on the day of departure.
  • Day 2 - Rocio del Mar arrives at 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, schedule 4 dives. At the end of this day, we will start our departure to San Jose del Cabo.
  • Day 8 – Arrive at San Jose del Cabo around 11 p.m. Guests may sleep on the boat.
  • Day 9 - Disembark by 8:30 a.m.

Socorro islands, including clarion - san jose del cabo to san jose del cabo - 13 nights

Socorro Island is the most diverse in flora, fauna, and topography. The islands lie 250 miles off Baja Mexico's southern shore. When embarking on a trip to the Socorro Islands; possible destinations on the itinerary are San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida, and Clarion Islands. These islands are a spectacular magnet for the largest ocean pelagic animals in the world. Schooling Hammerhead sharks, Tiger sharks, dolphins, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, clouds of jacks and barracuda, tuna, wahoo, oceanic white tips sharks, whale sharks, and mantas. 

  • Day 1 -   Board Rocio del Mar at 5 pm in San Jose del Cabo
  • Day 2 -   Day at Sea
  • Day 3 -   San Benedicto, 4 dives scheduled
  • Day 4 -   Socorro, 3 dives + Navy Inspection scheduled
  • Day 5 -   Roca Partida, 3 dives scheduled
  • Day 6  Roca Partida, 2 dives scheduled - leave for Clarion after the second dive
  • Day 7 -   Clarion, 3-4 dives scheduled (depends on the weather during the crossing)
  • Day 8 -   Clarion, 2 dives scheduled - leave Clarion after second dive
  • Day 9 -   Roca Partida, 3 dives scheduled
  • Day 10 - Socorro, 4 dives scheduled
  • Day 11 - Open - we will go wherever conditions are best, i.e. San Benedicto or Socorro, 4 dives scheduled
  • Day 12 - Open - we will go wherever conditions are best, i.e. San Benedicto or Socorro, 4 dives scheduled
  • Day 13 - Day at Sea
  • Day 14 - Disembark at approximately 8:30 am in San Jose Del Cabo

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Explore Baja - San Jose del Cabo to Puerto Peñasco Itinerary (12 Nights)

The bio-diversity between the Northern and Southern Sea of Cortez is incredible. Diving the entire Baja is spectacular. The sea life we witness on the surface from the boat, dinghy or snorkeling is fantastic. Dolphins, sea lions, pilot whales, humpback whale, blue fin whales, orca, and sperm whales. Flying mantas, blue and brown-footed boobie birds, cormorants, frigate birds, and the endemic yellow-footed gulls.

  • Day 1. Check in at the boat at 5:00 p.m. - San Jose del Cabo
  • Day 2. Cabo Pulmo
  • Day 3. Isla Cerralvo
  • Day 4. El Bajo, Shipwreck (fang ming). Visit La Paz for the afternoon
  • Day 5. Early hike on San Francisco Island, Dora's Pinnacle, Los Islotes
  • Day 6. Animas
  • Day 7. Coronado, walk Loreto Mission Square in the evening
  • Day 8. Isla Alfonso
  • Day 9. San Pedro Martir
  • Day 10. Animas and Salsipuedes
  • Day 11. Bahia de Los Angeles - Whale Sharks, El Pescador
  • Day 12. Angel Island
  • Day 13. Disembark 8:30 a.m.
 

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Explore Baja - Puerto Peñasco to San Jose del Cabo Itinerary (12 Nights)

The bio-diversity between the Northern and Southern Sea of Cortez is incredible. Diving the entire Baja is spectacular. The sea life we witness on the surface from the boat, dinghy or snorkeling is fantastic. Dolphins, sea lions, pilot whales, humpback whale, blue fin whales, orca, and sperm whales. Flying mantas, blue and brown-footed boobie birds, cormorants, frigate birds, and the endemic yellow-footed gulls.

  • Day 1. Check in at the boat at 5:00 p.m. - Puerto Peñasco
  • Day 2. Angel Island
  • Day 3. Bahia de Los Angeles - Whale Sharks, El Pescador
  • Day 4. Animas and Salsipuedes
  • Day 5. San Pedro Martir
  • Day 6. Isla Alfonso
  • Day 7. Coronado, walk Loreto Mission Square in the evening
  • Day 8. Animas
  • Day 9. Early hike on San Francisco Island, Dora's Pinnacle, Los Islotes
  • Day 10. El Bajo, Shipwreck (fang ming). Visit La Paz for the afternoon
  • Day 11. Cerralvo
  • Day 12. Cabo Pulmo
  • Day 13. Disembark 8:30 a.m.
 

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Other Information

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Boat Specifications

  • Year built: 2010
  • Year renovated: 2014
  • Length: 110'
  • Top speed: 10 knots
  • Cruising speed: 8.5 knots
  • Engines: 2 x Perkins
  • Max guests: 20
  • Number of cabins: 10
  • Number of bathrooms: 11
  • Tenders: 2 x Yamaha 75hp
  • Water capacity: 40000lts
  • Fuel capacity: 60000 lts
  • Freshwater maker: 7000 lts per day

 

Practical Information

  • Time Zone: UTC-6
  • Local Currency: MXN (Mexican Peso)
  • Language Spoken: English & Spanish
  • Electricity: 110 V
  • Payment Onboard: US, Mexican and European currency, Traveler’s checks and Credit Cards
 

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Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call us today at 310-915-6677 or email us info@bluewaterdivetravel.com

And let us book your dream vacation!

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Underwater Gallery 

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Reviews (11)

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ROCIO DEL MAR SOCORRO REIVEW

This was one of my best-ever experiences. If you like big pelagics and zillions of fish just hanging out in the blue, this is the trip for you. While Rocio Del Mar is not a glitzy as some liveaboards I've been on, it's perfectly suited to this type of trip, the crew are delightful, the food fabulous and the diving absolutely stunning.

GETTING THERE AND BACK

My trip was arranged through a dive travel agent, and I flew from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas where I met up with other dive friends. There was a convenient bus service from the airport and we were able to board Rocio Del Mar as soon as we arrived in Cabo, just before it sailed. Although some of our group chose to stay on after our return to port, it was possible to fly out to LA the same afternoon. The crew made us very welcome when we arrived on board and gave us a thorough safety briefing, including instruction in how to use the CB radios that would be attached to each of our BCDs. Soon after we left port it was too rough to do much other than turn up for meals and hope the 36 hour voyage to Soccorro would be over soon. The return trip isn't nearly so rough.

THE BOAT

Rocio Del Mar has four levels, with the kitchen and dining room down in the hull and cabins and recreation space on the upper decks. Unusual, but it makes sense because you spend less time in the dining room than elsewhere and, since the bottom of the boat is the most stable part, plates and glasses are less likely to skid off the table. Cabins have big windows and their own showers and toilets. We were very thankful that there were no top bunks to roll out of.

THE FOOD

The daily fare is three beautifully presented meals with a Mexican influence, morning and afternoon teas with hot bakes, cocktail snacks, wine with dinner, tea, coffee, soft drinks and biscuits always available and conscientious provision for special diets...this part of the trip really was five star plus.

THE COMPANY

Social harmony is pretty important when you spend a week or two in the close confines of a liveaboard, and our party of 19 guests was pretty varied. The crew of Rocio Del Mar are not only utterly charming, they are also very skilful at managing social situations. They ensured that some major differences in attitude and approach were kept well under control and there was nothing more than a bit of mumbling and avoidance when it could have been so much worse.

THE DIVE ROUTINE

The wonderful, kind and helpful crew are used to mature-age customers (who else has the time and money to do liveaboard trips to remote places?) and, while extremely conscious of dive safety, took every opportunity to make things easy. Divers gear up on the dive deck then descend a few steps to a wide dive platform at the rear of the boat. From there they step into Zodiacs, and there are always plenty of crew standing by to grab arms, pass cameras and other gear and even to lift equipment onto backs if necessary. Getting out of the water is just as easy, with the option of removing both weight belt and tank in the water before climbing the ladder into the Zodiac if preferred. We dived in loose groups of about six, each with its own guide. Warm showers and good spots for drying wet suits were available on the dive deck.

DIVES AND MARINE LIFE

Our first dive was on the second morning near the extraordinary, barren volcanic cone of San Benedicto and we did three longish dives a day for the rest of the trip (night diving is not permitted in this part of the world). Apart from a few enormous lobsters and morays, the odd patch of colour on a rock and a few pretty little fish, there wasn't a great deal to see on the reefs and walls. Best to concentrate on the blue and the surface where the real action is. Every day around San Benedicto and Soccorro Islands we saw mantas, hammerheads, white tip, silver tip and Galapagos sharks, huge schools of big and small fish and even dolphins. If we had spent the whole week diving around those islands the trip would have been well worth doing, but bonus calm weather permitted a crossing to magical Roca Partida, surely one of the world's best dive sites. A tiny dot in the middle of nowhere, Roca Partida is a twin-peaked rock about 100 metres long and 40 metres high, gleaming white with guano from many roosting seabirds.

Below the surface you realize it is actually the summit of a giant sea mount that rises steeply from the depths thousands of metres below. Myriads of large and small fish, huge schools of jacks and at least six species of shark circle the rock face, with occasional breeding humpbacks. It is literally a mid-ocean pelagic meeting place. We were blessed with two days of rare calm weather with our own humpback mother and calf frolicking in the glassy sea. We snorkelled with them during our surface intervals and they even buzzed us underwater on some of our dives. Ten dives on this one site were not nearly enough for me, I could have done another 20 amid this endless, mesmerising parade of fabulous marine life. Definitely diving to dream about.

Visited on 01/2013 - Submitted on 02/27/2014
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I took a trip with BlueWater aboard the Roccio Del Mar. And though the boat was not at the same standard as many other liveaboards I've been on it was still very comfortable and the food was good.

Although I was concerned when I heard that viz was going to be fair on most site I never really noticed it. There was so much amazing macro life and critters that would let you get very close, I barely noticed the limited viz. Tons of nudi's, octos, jawfish, etc, etc. Saw my first bullseye torpedo ray....very cool critter. Also keep a close eye on what looks like little pieces of broken off coral...sometimes they move due to their odd little hermit crab residents that have tunneled a home into them. Oh, and the sea lions...the sea lions were unreal, barking and playing and teasing us as they zipped in and out of frame! We were also able to snorkel with Whale Sharks. I have to admit after having done this in Utilla I was less than excited about it. Mainly because in Utilla the Whale Sharks are visible for brief seconds, once they see you jumping into the water they dive....not so here! We were able to swim right next to them...and sometimes they swam into us (I got bopped by a tale fluke....very humbling to be moved so easily)

Last but not least I have to give a shout out to our amazing tour guide and shutterbug guru Todd Winner and probably the best models he has ever had....the notorious and beautiful Humboldt Squid. Holy scary and amazing!!!!!

It was a great trip that I won't soon forget!

Visited on 07/2013 - Submitted on 03/02/2014
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We loved our scuba diving trip to the Sea of Cortez!! And yes it met our expectations. I think Mike did a fine job as group leader, as well as doing a great job on the photos, reviews, courses etc. The crew on that boat are a bunch of hard working people, you could not ask for better people. They really went out of their way to learn all of our names, and also where we are from!!!
We made two recommendations to the boat. 1) perhaps some fans down in the dive deck area to provide some air flow (even if it will be hot!!)
2) a board which gives each crew member picture and name so we could learn their names as well as they learned ours!!

We found the Sea of Cortez diving interesting and challenging in a good way. We dive in Cayman a lot so that is our frame of reference. We did like getting to see many things we cant see in Cayman, like the whale sharks, sea lions etc.

This was our first live aboard experience and could not be happier. Your staff went out of their way to provide us the information needed, the boat crew worked their butts off, and Mike did a great job. So glad we went!!!

Pete

Visited on 07/2014 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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Rioco Del Mar – Liveaboard Review

I’m no longer a 50 year old liveaboard virgin. I lost my liveaboard virginity during an underwater photography workshop organized by Blue Water on the Sea of Cortez aboard the Rioco del Mar in August 2014. It was a fantastic experience. Being my first time, I admit that I do not have a reference point to compare it to other liveaboard adventures. However, I do have my share of resort diving experiences and can fully appreciate the Rioco del Mar.

A'hoy matey! I was totally exhausted boarding the boat after a 17 hour journey from home to boat's deck (I should have arrived in Phoenix the day before the boat departed but did not think of that due to my lack of experience). Arrangements had been made to transport myself and the other liveaboard guests to the vessel. After a five hour shuttle bus trip from the Phoenix Airport to Puerto Peñasco in Mexico, our luggage was quickly taken off the shuttle bus and loaded on the boat. There was plenty of staff to help us and to avoid the commotion of a party boat in a nearby dock.

Before the designated dinner time (keep on reading to find out what happened there), we had time to unpack and set up our diving gear in the diving station. I shared my cabin with Eddy. It was large enough for bunk beds arranged in an L shape. The storage area was well thought out and accommodated all of our luggage. The boat also had larger cabins with double beds. All of the cabins were comfortable with good beds and they were kept cool with air conditioning. Our small cabin bathroom contained the basics - a standard toilet, one small sink, a few shelves and a shower. Body gel and shampoo were also available (a good thing since I forgot to add these to my checklist).

I missed dinner and the debriefing about the boat from being exhausted and from having a hard time finding my sea legs. Fortunately after a good night's sleep, I was back in shape. Being an early bird (and a very hungry bird for a good reason) I stepped out of my cabin and went straight to the eating area for a cold self-serve breakfast which started at 6 am every morning. Coffee was ready, juice, fruit plates and cereals were already set on the tables.

Julio greeted me (later I found out that he was the captain of my panda boat). He teased me a bit about losing of my "Hulk" green skin that I sported the previous night. Teasing was a good way for breaking the ice. Even if he was a panda captain, he helped with the various duties. All crew members helped out with service and made sure that we were not missing anything.

I was debriefed by other divers in my group, Team B (B for “Best” ). The other group was dubbed Team A (A for “Awesome”). The bell rang at 7 am for group A. It would be the signal for the team to gather on the deck for a debriefing and to get ready for the first dive. Team B's call was later at 7h15 am.

Gil (short for Gilberto) gave the debriefing. Later, I gave him the nickname of “El artista”. His drawings of the diving sites on the white board were quite impressive. I raise my hat to him and to the other diver master (Roberto aka “Chilango”) for the leading groups of underwater photographers. It was certainly a challenge to keep us on schedule (one hour max per dive) when everyone became so captivated with the subjects at the other end of their lens. Apart from a couple of little incidents (where I got separated from my group chasing a hammer shark into the blue beyond and another time losing Gil during his swim with a whale shark), nothing major happened because we were a group of experienced divers who knew how to handle different situations.

It was a nice feeling coming back from the first dive to see my bed nicely made up ( which hasn't happened since my mom did it for me as a youngster ). The bathroom was cleaned too! The crew remaining on the boat certainly did not waste any time while we were diving. I also noticed something else -the crew took turns doing the chores. A few times I saw our dive master cleaning up the common washroom near the camera/diving station. The crew was also part of the night watch rotation. I later learned the importance of these vigils. At sea, the weather could change suddenly and you always need to be prepared.

Now back to the daily routine which began in the morning with a hot breakfast (usually bacon, eggs/omelette, freshly made waffles, or oatmeal) that was served after the first dive. It was basic comfort food that provided you with enough energy to get you through the second dive which occurred around 10h30-11h00 am. There was also enough time between the first two dives for camera maintenance or simply for mingling and chilling.

On the subject of cameras, the set up of the camera station was just right with enough power bars and storage shelves above and underneath the work stations. However, the working surface was just a bit too tight for 19 photographers. It took a few days before each person to find his/her limited one and a half to two square feet of space.

On the first full day, I explored the boat to get a better understanding of its' layout and that was when I found my favorite spot - the upper deck. It was large enough to have several lounge chairs, a large canopy for shade and an outdoor kitchen (we had two nice dinners up there). I just loved the fresh ocean breeze and the views of the surrounding islands. It was also a good spot to watch the sunrise and/or sunset. I even slept there one night to watch the stars. I found the best time for star gazing was around 3h30 am when the bright full moon started to set. August is a good month to see shooting stars. I made enough wishes for my family and for myself until I reach my next milestone birthday.

However I digress - let's get back to the daily routine. Lunch was ready around 1h30 pm just after the second dive. This left enough time to get ready for the third dive which was around 3h30-4 pm. Just like for breakfast, there were several crew members available to serve the beverages, soup, main course and dessert.

We quickly found out that we had a real Chef on board - Joshua. Our nightly meal was Mexican cuisine. The meal and dessert presentations were superb and original (many photos were taken at meal times). I’m usually a fast eater, but for some reason I enjoyed taking my time and savouring the visual presentation. Meals looked more like dishes served in an upscale Mexican restaurant. Each meal was a treat. One lady was a vegetarian and her dishes look so good, that I decided to try it for my next liveaboard adventure.

After the third dive, a snack was served in the large TV/computer room on the second deck. It was a cool and large hangout designed to accommodate 12-14 people. During the week, we had a few workshop sessions and presentations of videos/slide shows. We had no internet access and frankly, I did not miss it. It was actually a nice feeling when you engage in a conversation with the person next to you instead of texting someone kilometres away. Just outside the TV room, there were an outdoor living room with 3 couches and a large coffee table. I preferred the upper deck for reasons already mentioned.

The setup of the dive stations on the main deck and the rinsing barrels and freshwater showers on the panda boat boarding platform were pretty good. There were about eight steps to go down to the platform. The crew was very helpful for those having back problems and requiring assistance to bring their BCD/tank onto the panda. The crew was also very helpful getting divers on and off the panda and handled the cameras with care. Another small detail (attention to details often make the difference between okay service and the feeling of being pampered) was that we had a fresh towels in our diving station every other day.

What about the diving? There was a good mix of dive sites for macro and wide angle photography. The dive masters were great at spotting all sorts of small critters (nudibranchs, jawfish, blennies) and larger subjects like scorpion fish or octopus hidden in crevices. They also had a few safety tips on how to be careful around over protective sea lion bulls. Since I’m a newbie at photography, I only had a wide angle lens for shooting big marine life, the underwater landscape and fellow divers. However, I enjoyed the macro and night dives as well. It was a treat to observe some pro/semi-pro photographers in action.

We had half a day of great snorkeling with whale sharks in the park "Reserva de la Biosfera Bahía de los Ángeles", in Mexico's Baja California area. There were several occasions to take pictures of the whale sharks. Fortunately, the park was not overcrowded as our group was the only liveaboard vessel in the reserve. It was great to see our dive master swimming and spotting whale sharks. The first day, he probably spent close to four hours in the water. The captain “Manta” Rey Castillo showed flexibility in adapting the plans for the next day. One group wanted to go back snorkelling with the whale sharks and the other group preferred to go diving again.

Staff and crew members of the Rioco del Mar were all welcoming, friendly and attentive to our needs. They always made sure that you didn’t lack a thing. From the person bringing you food and drinks to the table, to the dive master and panda boat captain - each played an important role. The crew members work as a team. It seemed like a very efficient well oiled machine. A well deserved (10-15%) tip was split with everyone.

Some of the crew participated in the building of the boat which started in June 2006 and ended in November 2008. Afterwards, they were later offered jobs as crew members.

The founders of the Rioco del Mar, Dora Sandoval (the lady greeting us at our arrival and saying goodbye when we returned to Puerto Peñasco) and her husband Francisco are divers themselves. They built a boat adapted for divers’ needs (not a fishing ship modified for diving). Their mission statement is to create an environment where our guests can be worry-free. “Well done, mission accomplished!” I encourage you to visit their web site http://www.rociodelmarliveaboard.com/ to read more about the Rioco del Mar and the Captain's past trip reports.

Martin S Beaulieu aka MartyBoV,
Blog: http://scubavista.blogspot.com/

Visited on 08/2014 - Submitted on 08/31/2014
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5

First, I have to say that the staff of the RDM are fantastic. I mean, super. What I liked most about them was that, from the captain on down, they all worked together. It wasn't unusual to see deckhands take the wheel or the captain carry out the trash. They really consider themselves equal and they are always smiling! Loved it. Normally, this comes from the top down. So I commend the captain for creating a positive environment where everyone is happy. It was great.

1. The food: We are vegetarians, and there were others who were gluten free and lactose intolerant. It was seamless. Our chef, who couldn't have been more than 29, by the way, didn't miss a beat. I never once had to send anything back because it wasn't vegetarian. Neither did anyone else with food issues. He and his staff delivered amazing food, 100% of the time.

2. Our dive guid, Ivan, was first class and fun (and funny!). He let us explore on our own and was right there if we needed help or guidance. He showed me a number of things and I got great pictures!!

3. The beds were super comfortable! I heard a number of people make this comment too!

If I were to make a few suggestions:

a. All the dives were great. I just felt that we tended to spend a lot of time in the same spots on a couple of days. Still, I loved it anyway. I just think we could have moved around a bit more.

b. The rooms are small, but comfortable. We had the double bed. In the photo on their site, it looks like the bed is a perfect square/rectangle. That's because the photo is distorted. If you are both tall, you should opt for the room with the two single beds. One side of the double bed is significantly shorter, as you are in the bow of the boat and it curves in. We were fortunate in that one of us is four inches shorter. He still had to bend his legs when he slept. Also, the toilet seats are made of cheap plastic. If you are sitting on the toilet and move the wrong way, you could really nip your, well, you know.... :-)

c. I think the guides are little too sticky on dive times. It's 60 minutes - even if you have 1500psi air left. And even if the ship isn't going anywhere. On other liveaboards, you can dive till you have 5-600psi left. I thought there wasn't much need to be so strict about this. Still, it didn't affect how fun it all was.

d. Finally, I really DO think the ship could use a modern update to its decor. The paint and decorative elements are very 70s-80s (even though they said it was all updated in 2015). It's not a big deal, really. I just thought that a modern touch would make it more appealing. And the flimsy plastic lawn chairs on the top deck are just not something I would expect on a liveaboard that costs over $3000 (when you factor in tips and fees).

Even with my suggestions, which I hope are seen as minor and constructive, I think this is a fantastic operation. Everyone works very hard to make sure you have a good time. I will be back - even if my suggestions aren't implemented - because the people and diving were great!

Thank you!

Visited on 08/2016 - Submitted on 08/06/2016

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