Trip Report: Sea of Cortez Photo Workshop August 2016

Trip Report: Sea of Cortez Photo Workshop August 2016


SEA OF CORTEZ PHOTO WORKSHOP

August 2016

Led by Craig Dietrich

Photos by Craig Dietrich and Group

 

When I was given the opportunity to visit what Jacques Cousteau famously referred to as “the aquarium of the world”, I jumped at that chance.  In August 2016, I led a Bluewater Travel underwater photography workshop to the Sea of Cortez.

Sea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater Trip

The Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) separates the Baja California Peninsula from mainland Mexico, and is known for its rich diversity, but I’ll get to more of that later.

The Rocio del Mar is docked in Puerto Penasco (known as “Rocky Point” in English), which is a very easy shuttle bus away from the Phoenix International Airport.  The bus picked our group up at approximately 2:00p.m., the border crossing was seamless and we boarded the Rocio del Mar at approximately 5:00 p.m. local time, where we unloaded our gear, got our room assignments and filled our required paperwork.  The Rocio has ample space allocated for both dive and photo gear, with multiple camera tables.

I’m going to mention the crew of the Rocio del Mar at this point, because from the moment we boarded, they set out to make this an unforgettable experience.  They treated each of us with the utmost courtesy and respect.  No detail went unattended or unnoticed from this crew, which was appreciated by all.  The meals were plentiful and top notch; nobody left the table hungry or unsatisfied on this trip!

Sea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater Trip

Diving off of pangas (small motorized boats), our first checkout dive was the morning after boarding, and we knew we were in for a good week of diving!  From that first time down, it was evident we were in for some really diverse dives, and we were ready!   We saw tiny nudibranchs on nearly every dive, which was great for the macro photographers.  Turtles--always a favorite--were plentiful and friendly.  Fish of every size and color were all around; there was no shortage of “did you see that…” conversations when back on the boat as we compared our images.  

Sea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater Trip

Those in the group that favor wide-angle also got some incredible subjects in whale sharks.  Before the trip, I read they almost guarantee an appearance of whale sharks, and we were not disappointed.  The overall stars of this trip have to be the sea lions.  These inquisitive little (and some big) guys dive and swoop and are not afraid to interact with divers and photographers.  The sea lion dives were definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Our topside experiences were equally as good as we got to witness two breaching humpbacks!

Sea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater Trip

Sea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater Trip

 Left: Humpback Whale - Right: Whale Shark

In the evenings after everyone was satisfied from another amazing dinner, we held photo seminars on everything from lens choice to strobe position to postproduction.  Our final night slideshow was full of “oohs” and “aahs” as everyone saw their work on the big screen.  Most people were truly surprised at how much their work had progressed throughout our week together.  

Throughout the week, the water temperature varied from approximately 75-78 degrees Fahrenheit.  Our divers wore mostly 3mm to 5mm suits, and everyone was comfortable.  Visibility was also good throughout the week, usually ranging from 30-50 feet, considered good in the nutrient rich water.  We also experienced very little current, which made taking pictures and video much easier.


Sea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater Trip

Sea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater TripSea of Cortez 2016 Bluewater Trip

More pictures of the underwater scene! There's always something for everyone... 


Sea of Cortez 2016 Group Photo

The happy faces of the happy divers!  

Bluewater Travel runs multiple trips to dive the Sea of Cortez each year, both from a liveaboard and from resorts in La Paz. I know I look forward to my return to this amazing “aquarium of the world”.  

For more information on trips to the Sea of Cortez as well as other amazing destinations, visit www.bluewaterdivetravel.com or email them at info@bluewaterdivetravel.com


Like what you just read? Join Bluewater Photo/Travel & UW Photography Guide's Editor Brent Durand on a Photo Group Trip to La Paz on October 22

 

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