1. WHALES: If you'd like to see them underwater, it's probably
going to be a snorkeling experience (although we do see them on
SCUBA as well). Use as little movement as possible in the water
(no splashing with your fins), and make as little sound as possible
(getting into the water from the tender or the Solmar V). They
react to sound and quick movement much more than your presence.
Best time to see them in Socorro is late January thru early April.
2. WHALE SHARKS: Easy to suggest, a bit harder to do. When we
find them, it is nearly always by facing into the current, and
finding the area where the ocean currents actually meet the island.
So, if you want to increase your chances of seeing a big one, move
into the current at the beginning of the dive. (since there's often
no perceptible current, you may have to watch your bubbles to determine
the right direction). Our guides will certainly help you with this,
and diving into the current is never a bad tip to begin a dive
with, anyway. Best time is November, December, and late April and
3. SHARKS: We see six different types
on a regular basis, Galapagos, Silky, White Tip, Silver Tip,
Hammerhead, and Tiger. Again, "stealth" is
key. Fin movement and quick movements are only designed to make
them swim away from you. "SLOWLY" move the camera to
get the shot (one of the hardest things to do when you're having
a once in a lifetime encounter). Stay close to the bottom or close
to the wall. When you swim right out at them in blue water they
tend to get a bit "spooked" (particularly the hammerheads).
4. MANTAS: Our giant mantas simply love to interact with divers,
AS LONG AS THEY SET THE PACE. If you're patient, and comfortable,
the mantas will come to you. First, stay at the cleaning stations
whenever possible. Next, good buoyancy helps, and a great tip is
to make sure you stay relatively shallow, and certainly no deeper
than the cleaning stations. The mantas will approach you at any
depth, but by staying shallow you increase your bottom time, get
better pics, and enjoy more mantas. We have tested this, and it
works, as long as everyone diving stays shallow. We've had many
occasions when the mantas followed the last divers right up to
Each year, we learn more about the "big animals" which
make Socorro one of the most unique diving areas of the world. And
our fondest "Happy New Year" will be to see you enjoying
them with us sometime in 2006.