The trip of a lifetime!

Tell us your tale of coming nose-to-nose with a 6 gill [--this big--], or about your vacation to turquoise warm waters. Share your adventures here!
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Bric Martin
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The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Bric Martin » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:26 am

I have just returned from the best diving that I have ever done! I was on the Nautilus Explorer for a 13 day trip to the Socorro Islands. It was a great trip.

The Socorro Islands are a group of 4 islands about 250 miles south of the southern tip of Baja. As we departed PDX we got our first good omen of the trip. My cousin works for the airlines and he was on the plane. He had us upgraded to first class for the flight to Cabo San Lucas. We had to spend the night in Cabo and then caught the boat the next morning.

The next day we boarded the boat and settled in for a 24 hour open ocean crossing. We had plenty of time to admire the boat. The crew does a great job keeping it clean and polished. The crossing was pretty mild, but we still had a few people sea sick. During the crossing we were briefed on how we would be diving from Zodiac boats and the basic protocol for the dives. Some of the dives are fairly exposed to the open ocean. The mantra of the boat is “Don’t go Blue”, in other words never lose sight of the structure that you are diving.

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Our checkout dives were on San Benedicto Island. We had great dives by any standard; we just didn’t know what was coming. The dives had nice rock structure with plenty of eels and small octos to keep us busy. That night we left for Roca Partida.

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Roca Partida is very small. It is about 250 feet end to end and drops down to about 300 feet. This sits on a sea mount that then drops down to 10,000 feet. It is a spot where many types of sharks congregate. On each dives we saw many big animals. The sharks traveled in schools of about 35, so on any dive you could see many sharks at very close range. These dives were amazing! We had Silkies, White tips, Galapagos, silver tips, and a few Hammerhead Sharks. The sharks were very relaxed and a thrill to see! These were the most spectacular dives that I have ever done!

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After 3 days of the best diving of my life we left for Socorro Island. These dives gave us many surprises, we dove with giant Mantas, pods of dolphins, and more sharks! A few of these dives were on cleaning stations. We would wait on a rock until an animal would stop by to cleaned by the many small fish. The mantas were amazing. The mantas would come so close, but the E ticket ride was even a small glimpse of a Hammerhead. They are so big and beautiful. The funny thing is that the hammerheads are the most skittish of all the animals we saw.

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After our time in the Socorro Islands we ended our trip with 2 days in the Sea of Cortez. It was a fantastic way to end our trip.

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I will never forget this trip. The diving was spectacular, the boat very nice, and the crew runs a very safe operation. The crew is really good at taking care of all the small issues behind closed doors; they make it look really easy. This was the best diving that I have ever done. I really hope to be able to do it again!

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CaptnJack
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:40 am

Mike Lever's a good skipper (I assume he was there), we had a good time on the Nautilus in Port Hardy years ago, too bad its so dang expensive!
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Scubie Doo
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Scubie Doo » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:06 am

Way cool write-up and pics. Great job, as always!

Love the sharks.

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diverden
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by diverden » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:39 am

Yes, thanks for the report and that awesome pics! I'm going in November! :partydance:

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spatman
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The trip of a lifetime!

Post by spatman » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:49 am

Wow, Bric. Just... wow. Sounds absolutely amazing.

Great pics, too !
Image

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Tom Nic
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Tom Nic » Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:25 pm

Awesome report Bric!

Way to get us all salivating... The Revillagigedos are definitely on the bucket list!
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LCF
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by LCF » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:21 pm

Wonderful report and photographs!

We're planning to do the Socorros next year on the Rocio del Mar. You've done nothing but whet my appetite for the trip!
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deep diver
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by deep diver » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:00 pm

Wow.. just Wow! The "could have petted the dolphin" made me jealous... Christi

Can't wait to hear all the stories when we get together... great pics Bric.... Dale
It's a good day.... nobody died!

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Joshua Smith
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Joshua Smith » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:10 pm

Let me add another "wow!" here. Great pics. I'm jealous- looks like an amazing trip!
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Jan K
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Jan K » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:41 pm

Joshua Smith wrote:Let me add another "wow!" here. Great pics. I'm jealous- looks like an amazing trip!

+ 1 :supz:

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gutholmj
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by gutholmj » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:52 pm

Fabulous photos and it sounds like an amazing trip.
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dlh
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by dlh » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:35 pm

I went to Socorro on the Nautilus in February, and it was one of my favorite trips ever. The Nautilus is the best, but Mantas, dolphins, and sharks galore sent it over the top. Your bonus visit to Sea of Cortez had me really jealous and eager to go back.

Great photos Bric!

Dave
Dave

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BASSMAN
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by BASSMAN » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:03 am

Incredible!! =D>
Makes my recent Bonaire trip look marginal!

Thanks for the Pics and report! :burntchef:

Got any more pics? :smt064
Hi, my name is Keith, and I'm a Dive Addict! :supz:

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Bric Martin
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Bric Martin » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:46 am

CaptnJack wrote:Mike Lever's a good skipper (I assume he was there), we had a good time on the Nautilus in Port Hardy years ago, too bad its so dang expensive!


Mike is splitting his time between the boat and his Nautilus lifeline. Gordan Kipp ran this trip, he is another great skipper.

This trip really opened my eyes. With all the shark finning in the world, I think I now have a tremendously different perspective on who is hunting who.

Here are a couple more shots.

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ktb
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by ktb » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:51 am

Crap -- another trip to add to the bucket list. Thanks for sharing!!
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deep diver
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by deep diver » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:19 pm

ktb wrote:Crap -- another trip to add to the bucket list. Thanks for sharing!!

:thumb3d:
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Dogboy
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Dogboy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:57 am

My wife and I are going next May with a group through TLSea, but on the Rocio Del Mar, not the Nautilus. A couple quick questions-

What were the water temps like? I hear and read varying reports on what thickness wetsuit to take, some say we may want our drysuits. So what was the range of exposure suits used on your boat?

Did you run into any of the other liveaboards at the dive sites? I am not sure how many boats go to Socorro, but know of at least 5 (Nautilus, Rocio del Mar, Sea Escape, Baja Aggressor and Solmar V). Not that the dive sites would be overrun, but we hope they work with each other to be in different areas when their trips overlap.

Thanks for whetting our appetites, we are extremely excited for this trip. Charles

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Bric Martin
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Bric Martin » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:44 am

Dogboy wrote:My wife and I are going next May with a group through TLSea, but on the Rocio Del Mar, not the Nautilus. A couple quick questions-

What were the water temps like? I hear and read varying reports on what thickness wetsuit to take, some say we may want our drysuits. So what was the range of exposure suits used on your boat?

Did you run into any of the other liveaboards at the dive sites? I am not sure how many boats go to Socorro, but know of at least 5 (Nautilus, Rocio del Mar, Sea Escape, Baja Aggressor and Solmar V). Not that the dive sites would be overrun, but we hope they work with each other to be in different areas when their trips overlap.

Thanks for whetting our appetites, we are extremely excited for this trip. Charles


The water temps varied quite a bit. At San Benedicto we had 70 degree temps, at Roca Partida we had 79 degree temps. I had a 3 mm suit, we only did a few dives at San Benedicto so it worked out well. Towards the end of the trip we thought it would really cool off so the boat loaned me a 7 mm suit.

We never saw another boat, we were lucky. I think Roca Partida could be overrun. I think the boats try to work together, but with weather and trip schedules you never know.

Your trip will be great! I will look for the report.

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camerone
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by camerone » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:25 am

Temps really depend on time of year out there. It varies quite a bit. Mike's blog (on the Nautilus web site) has some pretty good temp records if you're willing to wade through old records.

I've been out to the Socorros twice with the Nautilus guys (once for a full trip, once because it was "on the way" out to Clipperton Island) -- both times I dove a 7/5 semi-dry suit at Socorro. My experience was that the hood was a little much on it, but the suit itself kept me very comfortable. We were doing long run times on the dives in many cases, and I usually find I like to go thicker for things that stretch into a few hours under water. I think a drysuit would be a bad idea; there's a lot of surge out there, and the risk for a puncture on either a jagged rock or unfriendly urchin is fairly high on some sites... Roca Partida comes to mind :) If I were somewhere where it was basic single tank diving, a 5/3 or just a plain 5mm would be more than enough.

Mike (and Gordan) run a great ship. They're the only guys I'll go out there with. Great food, great equipment, and they take top notch care of their divers.
There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots...

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Waynne Fowler
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Re: The trip of a lifetime!

Post by Waynne Fowler » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:37 pm

Adding another round of ewwww's and ahhhhh's.....
Nice write up and pix..... Ya got me dreamin' now!
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