The Revillagigedo Archipelago better known as Socorro Islands is located in the Mexican Pacific, about 450 Km / 250 miles of Cabo San Lucas in Baja California on Mexico's Pacific coast. The island group consists in the 3 islands San Benedicto, Socorro, Clarion and 1 deep mountain of small size called Roca Partida (splitted rock). Travel time with diving liveaboards from Cabo to the Socorro islands is approximately 22 hours boat ride each way.
The Socorro Islands belong to the 5 world top diving spots for big pelagic fish and offer such unique encounters like diving with giant Pacific manta rays, dolphins, humpback whales and 10 different shark species. The majestic Manta rays reach maximum wing spans of up to 23 feet / 7 meters, where the average is about 16 feet / 5 meters.
Unique on our planets oceans is probably the trusting behavior of manta rays towards the divers in Socorro. The animals approach as close as 1 meter distance, don't be surprised to establish eye contact with them, and they love to be massaged by the bubbles on their belly!
The world's second largest migration of about 1200 humpback whales moving from Alaska heading south and can be found in the Mexican Pacific waters around the Socorro islands. The animals give birth to their calves and mate. Around the islands of San Benedicto, Socorro and Clarion and around the rock Roca Partido hundreds of humpback whales will gather during the cold water season in Socorro from January to April and with some luck you can even cross them while diving.
The Socorro islands are frequented by bootle nose dolphins. Again, like the mantas, these dolphins show a unique behavior and put an amazing confidence and interest to the divers. The animals are very playful and love it to be caressed. Divers are friendly pushed with the nose to be pointed out that pats are required!
The Socorro Islands are among the golden square of large pelagic fish populations in the eastern Pacific; Socorro Islands, Cocos island - Costa Rica, Malpelo island - Colombia and Galapagos islands Darwin and Wolf - Ecuador.
The diving expeditions include usually 5 to 6 days of diving in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, some liveaboards or special diving charters combine diving expeditions in Socorro with a visit of Sea of Cortez closer to the Mexican Pacific coast, there is a particular diver interest in the famous sea lions of islotes.
DIVING LIVEABOARDS OPERATING THE SOCORRO ISLANDS
9 liveaboard vessels are currently licensed to operate and dive the Socorro Islands. Nautilus Explorer, Nautilus Belle Amie, Nautilus Undersea, Solmar V, Rocio del Mar, Quino del Mar, MV Valentina, Sea Escape and Southern Sport offer regular charters and with capacities ranging from 18 to 40 divers.
Sandman Charter with home base in La Paz offers custom charters to the Socorro islands for small dive groups with flexible timetables.
Please contact us for further information about the different dive operators.
BEST TIME TO DIVE IN SOCORRO
There is not really a best time for diving in Socorro since the Pacific ocean offers rich underwater life at all times. Giant manta rays, sharks and dolphins are active throughout the available travel dates of the liveaboard dive vessels. Weather conditions at Revillagigedos Archipelago allow diving activities only from November to May. Later on starts the pacific hurrican season wich make diving activities to risky.
Lots of mantas and up to 10 different sharks species are guaranteed during the availble months. Water temperature in November are at 28 degree Celsius (75F-80F) and drop slowely down to 21 degree celsius (70F-74F) until february (cold water from late january to early april) and rise back to 26 degree celsius (79F) in May. Humpback whales frequent this pacific water in the cooler month from January to April with peak in February and March. On almost every dive you may hear this giants singing and there is a good change to enjoy an underwater encounter with them.
May is Bait ball Time in Socorro! This is the culmination of scalloped Hammerhead- and Silkyshark schools, giant tunas in large numbers enjoying the feeding frenzy in the Revillagigedo Archipelago. Also Mantas tend to gather and even pilot whales are circling around the Socorro diving spots.
Depends on wind, rain, currents and tides. On a good day at Roca Partida or the Boiler visibility can be 200'. There have been days where divers could see all the way to the deep ocean floor. At sites like El Canyon and The Aquarium it may be less than 100'. El Fondeadero usually has the worst vis at 50'. Most of the reports of lower vis (30-40) were in Nov/Dec, and only at some.
DIVING IN SOCORRO - SEALIFE
These islands are a spectacular magnet for the largest ocean pelagic animals in the world. Schooling Hammerhead sharks, dolphins, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, clouds of jacks and barracuda, tuna, wahoo, marlin, oceanic white tips sharks, whale sharks and mantas.
Socorro Island and the surrounded area is famous for up close and personal encounters with the Giant Pacific manta ray, which can grow to 22 feet from wingtip to wingtip. People see giant mantas on most trips, on many of the dives.
Whalesharks have their peak in Socorro from November to December during cold water season.
There are lots of sharks in the Revillagigedos Islands about 10 species - hammerhead shark schools (if you go deep), white tips, silver tips, silkies, duskies, Galapagos and occasionally tigers and oceanic whitetip sharks. Many sharks are seen on every trip
The humpback whales are found in the cold water period from January to the end of April. Whale activity in the mexican pacific waters of Socorro peaks in February and March. During this time divers hear the humpback whales singing in almost every dive and the chance to meet one or more of these wonderful giants underwater are good. Although this isn’t guaranteed the encounters are increasing every year and even if you don’t see these gentle giants whilst diving, you are made aware of their presence by the whale song that you can hear on almost every dive Jacks and Tunas are also frequently seen.
While diving Socorro you can also encounter pods of wild bottlenose dolphin on a regular basis and from January through March. Socorro island is the place for dolphins.
WILDLIFE CALENDER SOCORRO ISLANDS
DIVE GEAR AND WETSUIT PROTECTION FOR SOCORRO
The ocean temps at Socorro usually range from *78F-82F in November, * 70F-74F in Feb/March *76F–80F in April and May. Depending on what time of year you join us for the Socorro trips, we’d recommend a 3mm or 5mm in the warmer months, and a 5/7mm or a 7mm in the cooler months.
A lot of our guests also pack a vest and hood or a vest with an attached hood in case we run into thermoclines during the cooler months. Knives, gloves and dive lights are not allowed but camera lights. If you need some cutting tools take a shear or a trilobite cutter.
Surface marker buoy and dive computer are mandatory for Socorro island diving trips.
SOCORRO ISLANDS DIVE SITES
Diving at the Revillagigedos Archipelago can be challenging. A diver must deal with strong currents and choppy seas, and you are often without a guide. This is not a place for inexperienced divers.
San benedicto island
This island has a dimension of 5,94 km2, this are the dive sites:
The site "el fondadero" is usually visited first, as it provides calm conditions and lends itself to a check dive.
"The boiler" a large pinnacle rises to about 20 feet from the surface, so you can't see it from topside. The surf and swell running across the top sometimes making the water look like its boiling. The pinnacle is small enough to swim around during one dive and its very majestic looking from all angles. The bottom is at around 160' so getting your weights right and not being too heavy is very important. This area is worldwide known for the giant Pacific manta rays. They gather here to be cleaned by the Clarion Angelfish.
"El Canyon" is on the south end of San Benedicto island. It was here that I had seen many mantas, dolphins, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, and schools of hammerheads off the point.
Socorro island dive sites
The largest of the island measures 132 km2 and features the following dive sites:
Cabo Pearce is located on the east side of Socorro Island. It's surrounded by dolphins all the way.
Punta Tosca is another site on Socorro Island. There are often playful, sociable dolphins here, Hammerhead and Galapagos sharks and sometimes Silky sharks.
Aquarium is the macro diving spot of the island.
Roca Partida is a guano covered pinnacle about 85 miles from San Benedicto Island and 53 miles from Socorro Island. About 100' high and as long as a football field, steep wallls and exposed to the sea conditions of the east pacific, this is a fascinating and demanding dive spot.
Personally we compare the underwater action to some dive sites of Malpelo island, Roca Partida is a magnet for all kind of pelagic like large schools of fish, giant tuna, yellowtail tunas, and especially in May and June scalloped hammerhead- and silky shark schools. Dolphins, manta rays, whale sharks, silvertip sharks and numerous white tip reef sharks, which accumulate into the rock niches are regular dive programm in Roca Sucia. Tiger sharks and oceanic whitetip sharks have been sighted as will around this pinnacle.
The island Clarion is due to distance and little underwater action usually not part of a Socorro diving trip.
SOCORRO ISLANDS DIVE SITE MAP
|IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR SOCORRO DIVING TRIPS|
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