Socorro Big Animal Photo Workshop February 2024 - Bluewater Dive Travel

Socorro Big Animal Photo Workshop February 2024


Socorro February 2024 Photo Workshop

Join Bluewater Travel's February 2024 trip to the Revillagigedo Islands, known to many as Mexico's "Little Galapagos" because of the immense variety of flora and fauna. Here you'll find not only sharks, jacks, barracudas, humpback whales, but also the mantas which are Socorro's claim to fame.

February 15 - 24, 2024

Trip Leader: Mark Strickland

9 Nights for only $4,095, double occupancy 

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Optional Extension:

San Ignacio Gray Whale Experience | 4 Days, 3 Nights

Glamping Tent: $2,495 per person 

Luxury Tent: $3,045 per person

Learn more here.


Why Join This Trip?

  • 25% off rental photo gear from Bluewater Photo
  • As many as 4 guided dives per day (conditions permitting)
  • Beer and wine included
  • Fun, engaged trip leaders who care about the guest experience
  • You'll love the awesome boat, staff, food, and crew!


Tim Johnson shares his underwater footage from Bluewater Travel's Socorro 2023 Underwater Photo Workshop

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Trip Overview

The trip starts and ends in San Jose del Cabo, then goes on to the Revillagigedo Archipelago which includes Socorro Island, Roca Partida, and San Benedicto Island. The Rocio del Mar is one of the better liveaboards cruising to Socorro. Dive to your heart's content as many as four times a day and get to interact with large pelagics up close and personal. 

To learn more about what you can expect from this Socorro trip check out our 2023 trip report

 Socorro 2023 Clarion Angel Fish Manta Socorro 2023 Clarion Angel Fish 


Here's a sample day-by-day itinerary of this trip (subject to change):

  • Day 1 (Feb 15) - The Rocio Del Mar will be ready for boarding at 5:00 pm, dinner is served at 7:00 pm, and will depart that evening.
  • Day 2 - Rocio del Mar arrives in San Benedicto. 
  • 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 (check-in with naval station)
  • Day 7 - Socorro Island, 4 dives scheduled
  • Day 8 – San Benedicto, 4 dives scheduled. At the end of this day, we will start our departure to San Jose del Cabo.
  • Day 9 – Arrive at San Jose del Cabo. Guests may sleep on the boat.
  • Day 10 (Feb 24) - Disembark after breakfast by 8:30 am.



Dive Overview

The Revillagigedo Islands are where you will have an experience of a lifetime with large ocean pelagic animals including a wide variety of sharks (hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, Galapagos sharks, and silky sharks), dolphins, tuna, barracudas, clouds of jacks, and of course, the friendliest mantas in the world. This is also humpback whale season, and if lucky, you may see a humpback whale swim by underwater. 

Socorro 2023 Socorro 2023 Whale Shark


Diving Conditions in February

Water temperature will be around 25-27°C (77-79°F).

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

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  • Your accommodation and housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, and beverages, including breakfast on the day of disembarkation
  • Local beer and wine
  • 4 guided dives per day (conditions permitting)
  • Tanks, air and weights
  • 16% Mexican tax
  • Port fees



*For people who are over 60 and can provide documentation that they are retired or pensioned, the park fee will be waived. According to the CONANP, any official document with the words "RETIRED" or "PENSIONED" will be accepted along with a photo of a current passport. Any other documentation will NOT be accepted.

In our experience, US citizens who are receiving retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration can download a Benefit Verification Letter from the website.

For students and teachers: A 50% discount is available for ACTIVE/CURRENT students and teachers. To get this discount, a photocopy of an identification card with a photo and current date is required.

To apply for an exception, the above documentation is to be sent to Guest Services at no later than one month prior to boarding. Please note that CONANP has the final word if a document is accepted or not. They do not verify the exception prior to the trip. If it is not accepted, the applicant will be required to pay the full park fees.

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This trip is a PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP. It will be led by one of our photo instructors and will include daily underwater photography tutorials, in-water photography support, and one-to-one advice and guidance as required.

What to expect from our Photo Workshops

  • Daily photo workshops - Your photo instructor will schedule seminars each day on topics including, but not limited to, equipment type and selection, the concept of underwater photography, lighting and composition techniques, and post-processing. They will also include additional topics relevant to the location and your experience.
  • In-water support - Where possible, each dive group will spend time underwater with the photo instructor, receiving in-water support and guidance on their shooting techniques.  Participants can also request in-water assistance during the workshop and the photo instructor will do his or her best to accommodate all requests. 
  • Consecutive days of practice & review - Each day you will have the opportunity to practice the techniques and skills learned in the previous day’s tutorials. If you are new to underwater photography you will likely see a vast improvement in just a few days.
  • Daily photo image reviews - You are strongly encouraged to bring your laptop, a thumb drive, edit your photos, and submit your shots for review from both the instructor and your peers. These are fun and interactive sessions encouraging you to improve throughout the trip.
  • Quality time with fellow photographers - Both new and experienced photographers from past workshops have expressed the advantages of joining a trip with like-minded divers with a passion for underwater photography.
  • Suitable for everyone - New and experienced photographers are welcome on all our trips. Gain the necessary skills to start shooting great photos, increase your confidence in finding the best underwater shots, or hone specific skills. We also encourage non-photographers to join, as many of them really enjoy the daily photo reviews, learning about underwater photography, and some have even returned to a photo workshop with an underwater camera setup!

Enjoy free, unlimited access to a wealth of knowledge and advice from your photo instructor.

Class Structure, Daily Schedule, Topics Covered:

Whether you have years of experience shooting underwater or are a complete beginner, there’s always something else to learn, and I know of no better way to quickly ramp up your knowledge and skills than joining one of our Underwater Photo Workshops.  Having a chance to dive and shoot on many consecutive days while reviewing the various aspects of underwater photography provides an ideal opportunity for learning.  Reinforcing lessons covered in our daily classroom sessions, we’ll be doing several dives each day, followed on some days by a review of the previous day’s images.  This combination of day-in, day-out shooting, and evaluating and discussing images is an unbeatable way to quickly improve your results, learn new techniques, gain inspiration, and come home with images you are proud of.  It’s also a lot of fun!   

  • Subjects Covered - Our time in the Revillagigedo Archipelago will undoubtedly fly by, and even with daily classes, it’s unrealistic to think that we can do justice to every aspect of underwater photography in a single workshop.  So the goal will be to provide you with as much quality instruction as possible on a variety of topics, while maintaining a balance of activities that also includes 3-4 dives a day, snacks, meals, camera setup and maintenance, and maybe a bit of relax time as well.
    Workshop topics will include special considerations for shooting underwater, exposure, reciprocity, choosing appropriate settings, histograms, lighting, composition, subject selection, lens perspectives, shooting angles, marine life behavior, working with models, over/under “splits”, equipment configuration and maintenance, environmental considerations, photo etiquette, and digital editing techniques and considerations. We’ll be dividing our classroom time and shooting efforts between macro and wide angle, although in keeping with Socorro’s main attractions, the main emphasis will be on wide angle and big animals.  
  • Typical Daily Routine - While we’ll probably do a bit of fine-tuning the schedule as the trip unfolds, this sample should give you an idea of what to expect in terms of daily organized class activities.  This is in addition to any individualized, hands-on help you may need or desire, which I am happy to provide as time permits… just ask!
  • • Day 1 (Thursday, February 15) Boarding at 17:30, orientation, dinner while underway
  • • Day 2: (Friday, February 16) Equipment preparation, underway to San Benedicto.  Presentation: Introduction to U/W Photography - How light behaves underwater, special challenges of shooting u/w, equipment considerations, choosing appropriate exposure settings, using histograms, secondary effects of exposure settings and lens perspectives.   
  • • Day 3 (Saturday, February 17) Mini-session between dives: Demonstration on strobe positioning and edge lighting.  
  • Presentation: Wide-angle Underwater Photography, including a review of appropriate camera, lens and strobe settings, exposure strategy and equipment considerations.
  • Choose a couple images for next day’s image review.
  • • Day 4 (Sunday, February 18) Presentation: Composition for Underwater Photography I, including elements that attract the viewer’s eye, depth of field, eye contact, working with models, visual storytelling.
  • After dinner:  Image Review - Friendly critique and discussion about participants’ images from previous day.  
  • • Day 5 (Monday, February 19) Presentation: Composition for Underwater Photography II, including anticipation / preparation for special moments, shooting angles & perspectives, subject placement, nose room, rule of thirds, natural framing, leading lines, geometric patterns, reflections, direction of travel. 
  • Choose a couple images for next day’s image review.
  • • Day 6 (Tuesday, February 20) Presentation: Maximizing Your Macro – Adjusting your diving style, learning about intended subjects, equipment considerations, choosing appropriate settings, lighting, using snoots, depth of field, blackwater diving, and photo etiquette. 
  • After dinner:  Image Review - Friendly critique and discussion about participants’ images from previous day.  
  • • Day 7 (Wednesday, February 21) Presentation: Introduction to Digital Workflow – General principles and best practices + individual help as needed
  • • Day 8 (Thursday, February 22) Presentation: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom + individual help as needed
  • • Day 9 (Friday, February 23) Underway back to Cabo.  Choose 2 images for photo contest and maximum 10 images for guest slide show.  This is always a very popular aspect of the trip, and showcases how much each participant’s images have improved over the course of the workshop.  In addition, we’ll also have a little photo contest, where everyone is welcome to submit a favorite photo or two to share with the group.  Winners will not only be recognized, but may even be rewarded with a cool prize! 
  • • Day 10 (Saturday, February 24) Disembark by 08:30 

NOTE: Over the last couple of years we have received reports that some visitors have been charged a tax for bringing their camera housing into the country. Please click here for details on how to naviagate this issue should it arise. 


About the Rocio Del Mar

Rocio Del Mar is one of the most popular liveaboards sailing in the area, offering excellent service and fantastic food. There are 10 cabins for up to a maximum of 20 divers, all offering private bathrooms with hot shower stalls, Western-style toilets, and above-height windows. Cabins are carpeted and have air-conditioning, plus convenient gear and clothes storage drawers beneath the beds. 

Rocio Del Mar Rocio Del Mar

Rocio Del Mar Rocio Del Mar 

Check this page to see more details and customer reviews on the Rocio Del Mar.

Rocio Del Mar

Rocio Del Mar

Rocio Del Mar


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Mark Strickland

Mark Strickland’s life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as a lifeguard, boat captain, and scuba instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many top dive locales, including the 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 principal 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.

Read more about Mark here.

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Guests on this trip will need to fly into Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) and take a taxi to the Marina Puerto Los Cabos. The boat is located by the Hotel El Ganzo. Boarding time is at 5 pm.

Note: Guests arriving early may avail of day passes at Hotel El Ganzo, where they can spend time before boarding at 5 pm. There's an area for storing luggage and restrooms for changing. First come, first served, but guests can email the hotel before arriving.

  • Rooftop Pool - 1000 pesos, guests can use up to 750 pesos as a food and beverage credit
  • Beach Club - 750 pesos, guests can use the whole amount as a food and beverage credit.

On the way back, we arrive in San Jose during the early morning hours of the last day of the trip, February 24. Guests must disembark by 8:30 a.m. Since transfers are not included in our fees, guests will need to take a taxi to the airport, which the Rocio crew can help arrange. Return flights should be made anytime on the last day of the trip.

Recommended nearby hotels to book for extra nights include the Tropicana Inn, Hotel El Ganzo, or El Encanto Inn & Suites. You can get 10% off at El Encanto Inn by mentioning that you will be staying on the Rocio Del Mar.

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Deposit: $995

Payment 2: $1,000 due Feb 1, 2023

Payment 3: $1,000 due Aug 1, 2023

Balance: due Nov 1, 2023

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Socorro 2023 White Tip Shark Socorro 2023 Jacks 



We can help with that! See more of Mexico before or after your trip with Bluewater in Socorro. Flying all that way merits a multi-destination vacation! La Paz is an amazing destination nearby that offers a range of additional unique experiences. Here are some examples of packages we can add on to your trip reservation:

*Rates are subject to change at any time; please contact us for the most updated pricing. 


Price: Starting at $2,087 per person based upon double occupancy.

The Hotel CostaBaja Resort & Spa is the first and only luxury hotel & spa in the city of La Paz. This boutique hotel offers a selection of ocean, mountain, and marina views. North of the hotel is Espiritu Santo Island, where you will find the greatest marine life in the world and the best sport fishing within Baja Sur.

  • 7 nights in a king or twin room
  • Full buffet breakfasts
  • 5 days of 3 tank dives
  • Lunches & drinks on the boat
  • National park permit fees 
  • Roundtrip Cabo transfers
  • Free WiFi: Yes
  • Swimming Pool: Yes

Costa Baja Resort La Paz Costa Baja Resort La Paz

Costa Baja Resort & Spa



Price: Starting at $1,803 per person based upon double occupancy.

A beach resort offering a peaceful and mellow atmosphere on the Sea of Cortez. Over a hundred sea view rooms are featured in La Concha Beach Resort. Located in front of the ocean and with a full view of the beach and pool, the accommodations include essential details to luxury amenities.

  • 7 nights in a king or twin sea view room
  • Full American breakfasts
  • 5 days of 3 tank dives
  • Lunches & drinks on the boat
  • National park permit fees
  • Roundtrip Cabo transfers
  • Free WiFi: Yes
  • Swimming Pool: Yes

La Concha Beach Resort La Paz La Concha Beach Resort La Paz

La Concha Beach Resort



Price: Starting at $1,670 per person based upon double occupancy.

Hotel Catedral La Paz is a new concept of accommodation to suit the needs of today's travelers. It is part of the historic center of the city, surrounded by major attractions next to Our Cathedral Lady of La Paz. With its sophisticated contemporary modernist architecture, Hotel Catedral La Paz focuses on every detail to offer its guests an excellent service and quality, both in the rooms and its gourmet restaurant.

  • 7 nights in a king or twin sea view room
  • Full breakfasts
  • 5 days of 3 tank dives
  • Lunches & drinks on the boat
  • National park permit fees
  • Roundtrip Cabo transfers
  • Free WiFi: Yes
  • Swimming Pool: Yes

Hotel Catedral La Paz Hotel Catedral La Paz

Hotel Catedral La Paz


san ignacio gray whale experience

Price: Starting at $2,495 per person (Glamping Tent) or $3,045 per person (Luxury Tent)

The San Ignacio Lagoon Gray Whale Experience offers a unique opportunity to have up-close and personal interactions with Pacific gray whales in their breeding and birthing lagoon. These gray whales are known to be the friendliest on the planet and exhibit behaviors such as swimming over to the boats (pangas) to be caressed, stroked, and even kissed. They may also roll onto their backs to allow visitors to scratch their bellies. 

The experience is entirely on the whales' terms, and even mother whales may push their babies up against the boats for human interaction. The first whale interaction at San Ignacio Lagoon occurred in 1972, and since then, the experience just continues to get more magical each year. You can also expect to see not only gray whales but also a variety of bird species, including nesting ospreys and egrets, during your visit to the San Ignacio Lagoon.

  • Return chartered flight from San José del Cabo
  • Hotel transfers in San José del Cabo
  • Accommodation
  • Activities
  • Meals, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Unlimited whale watching subject to capacity control and weather
  • On-site naturalist. 

Gray Whales San Ignacio Gray Whales San Ignacio Gray Whale San Ignacio

San Ignacio Gray Whale Experience San Ignacio Gray Whale Experience

Glamping Tent (L) & Luxury Tent (R)

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Call us today at +1-310-915-6677 

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...and let us book your dream vacation!

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Photo Gallery 

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Socorro Underwater Photos from Previous Trips  

Socorro March 2017Socorro March 2017


Socorro March 2020 Trip Report 

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