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Whale Shark Encounters in Mexico
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Beluga Whale Diving
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Salmon shark diving in Alaska
 
adventure expedition diving schedule
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SEA OF CORTEZ BIG ANIMAL DIVING SAFARI

 

diving on beautiful reefs in the sea of cortez

 

Expedition:

Whale Encounters, whale sharks and epic reef diving.

Location:

Midriff Islands, Northern Sea of Cortez, Mexico.

Accommodation:

Rocio del Mar luxury Liveaboard dive vessel

Experience Level:

Open water certification required. Expect a little current and some deeper dives.

   

Dates:

POSTPONED

Price:

TBA

Trip Leader:

 Andy Murch

 

READ OUR 2015 SEA OF CORTEZ TRIP REPORT

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED: 7 Nights accommodation aboard the luxury liveaboard Rocio del Mar, 6 days of boat diving (3 or 4 dives per day), tanks and weights, Snorkeling with whales and whale sharks. All meals while onboard.

NOT INCLUDED: Flights, land transfers, personal dive equipment, alcohol.

 

DIVE THE MIDRIFF ISLANDS IN THE HEART OF THE SEA OF CORTEZ

With clear, deep blue waters, abundant sea life, white sand beaches and inspiring vistas, the Midriffs are an amazing destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. Legendary diver Jacques Cousteau described the Sea of Cortez as the "world's aquarium" and the "Galapagos of the North.”

Dive on untouched walls and shallow reefs abounding in marine life. Encounter great and small whale species, whale sharks, manta and jumping mobula rays, and sea lion colonies. Then, go ashore in one of the tenders and explore the terrestrial fauna and flora on these remote uninhabited islets.

This will be a epic expedition with a great deal of variety. If you're a photographer, bring all your lenses from fisheye (for underwater whale shots) to wide angle and macro, and a good telephoto for above-water marine mammal encounters and jumping mobula rays!

 

diving with whale sharks in the sea of cortez

Reef Corals in the Midriff IslandsFan Coral in the Midriff IslandsDive with Angelfish in the Midriff Islands

 

SWIM WITH PILOT WHALES AND OTHER CETACEAN SPECIES

This is an amazing itinerary. Join us aboard the Liveaboard Dive Vessel Rocio del Mar and sail to the Midriff Islands in the rarely explored Northern Sea of Cortez. In between dives, join us in the search for pilot whales, finback whales and sperm whales as they navigate through the Gulf of California on their long seasonal migrations. Enter the water with these amazing cetaceans and come home with memories you will never forget.

 

a breaching brydes whale in the sea of cortez

diving with pilot whalesDive with Pilot WhalesThree pilot whales diving

 

BEAUTIFUL REEFS

The reef life in the Sea of Cortez generally starts in shallow water where you will find fan corals, enormous pink sponges, huge schools of triggerfish and barracudas, and a myriad of other unique species. Once you've taken in the overall vista, try your luck at spotting some of the smaller exotics that are commonly found here such as Pacific seahorses and colorful nudibranchs.

 

diving in the sea of cortez

Pacific seahorse on a dive in the sea of corteznudibranch in baja

 

STROLL THROUGH FORESTS OF BLACK CORAL

Perhaps the most beautiful places to explore in the Sea of Cortez are the black coral forests that can be found in slightly deeper water below most of the dive sites you will visit. Once you reach 25m/80ft the fan corals and sponges give way to enormous swathes of what looks like huge green bushes. These are actually black coral colonies that dominate the deeper reefs of the desert sea.

 

black coral forest diving in the sea of cortez

 

ENCOUNTER HUMBOLDT SQUID FROM THE SAFETY OF THE SHIP

Humboldt squid are rarely aggressive but they are large (up to 6.5ft long) predatory cephalopods equipped with taloned tentacles and suckers ringed with teeth.
Adult Humboldts form schools of up to 1200 animals and can swim at an impressive 24kph. They are known as 'red demons' because of their vivid coloration and occasionally aggressive temperaments.
We go to the deepest part of the sea. At about 2000 feet (usually where we snorkeled with the sperm
whales during the day) this is where we get some action. Once one bites and we bring it up the rest
of them follow. The light brings up a lot of nutrients and it becomes a feeding frenzy. Once in a while
we bring one up with another attach to the one coming up, eating it.

We do not enter the water with the humboldts but photographers can hand-cam from the dive deck to get epic underwater images of these curious creatures.

 

Humboldt Squid Dive

 

SWIM WITH WHALE SHARKS

During our circumnavigation of the northern Sea of Cortez we will visit Bahia De Los Angeles where you will have a chance to swim with the largest fish in the sea. Whale sharks aggregate in this area in the late summer to feast on plankton that collects in the bay. This is a wonderful opportunity to swim with these behemoths against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains!

 

whale shark in baja

 

STUMBLE UPON ENDEMIC SHARKS AND RAYS ON VIRTUALLY EVERY DIVE

No Big Fish Expedtion would be complete without the chance of an endemic shark and ray encounter! Fortunately, there are so many ray species in the Sea of Cortez that you are very unlikely NOT to see at least one or two on every dive.

There are three species of round stingrays, two species of guitarfish, two species of larger stingrays, four species of mobula rays and two types of electric rays.

Above and beyond the common species, you may see a hammerhead or two but the holy grail is the endemic Mexican horn shark. The Midriff Islands is the only place in the Eastern Pacific where you have a good chance of seeing this illusive species.

 

diving with round stingrays in the sea of cortez

diamond stingrayhorn shark

Mobula rays in the sea of cortez

 

Join the adventure: info@BigFishExpeditions.com

 

PLAY WITH RAMBUNCTIOUS, FRIENDLY CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS

Join us at multiple California sealion colonies throughout the Midriffs. Play with curious sea lions tugging at your fins or blowing bubbles in front of your face. Fin along with scores of tiny sea lion pups cavort under the watchful eyes of their parents. An experience you'll remember forever.

 

diving with sea lions in the sea of cortez

Sea Lions in the Sea of CortezDiving with Sealions in the Sea of CortezSea lion encounter in the Gulf of California.

 

RELAX ON THE ROCIO DEL MAR

After a long eventful day of diving, what better way to relax than to kick back with a cold drink on the sundeck of the luxurious liveaboard dive vessel Rocio del Mar and watch the sun set over the desert sea.

 

Rocio del Mar liveaboard in the sea of cortezrocio del marrocio del mar

 

ROUGH ITINERARY:

Day 1. Board the Rocio Del Mar in Puerto Penasco at 5pm and sail south.

Day 2. Wake up at Refugio Bay on Angel Island
Potential Dive sites: Angel Rock, La Vela, Lolo’s Cove, El Jardin

Day 3. Angel Island
Potential Dive sites: Andrea’s Eagle, El Aquario, Las Vivoras, Las Vivoras Night Dive

Day 4. Salsipuedes
Potential Dive sites: Los Cuervos, El Caballo, In Animas, El Lavadero, El Lavadero Night Dive

Day 5. San Pedro Martir
Potential Dive sites: Ravijunco, Xareni’s Pinnacle, Coromel, Morrito

Day 6. San Pedro Martir
Potential Dive sites: El Arroyo, Punta Martir (Sea Lions), Chayo’s Cove

Day 7. Head back towards Puerto Penasco
Potential Dive sites: El Pescador, Baja Ca., Animas in Bahia de Los Angeles, La Ventana.

Day 8. After a light breakfast, disembark at 7am for the journey back to Phoenix.

 

EASY ACCESS FROM NORTH AMERICA

Puerto Penasco is about a 4 hour drive south of Phoenix, Arizona. Avoid all the hassles of Mexican air transfers by flying into Phoenix Sky Harbour Airport and catching the comfortable shuttle with our other guests.

 

 

SIGN UP FOR AN AMAZING SEA OF CORTEZ ADVENTURE!

 

 

info@BigFishExpeditions.com

 

Contact us about the Sea of Cortez Expedition:

 

california sea lions diving in the sea of cortez

 

Sign up now!

info@BigFishExpeditions.com

 

 

 

 

 

A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS FROM BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS FUNDS

THE PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT

predatorsinperil.org

 

 

 

Snorkel with Japanese Giant Salamanders

American crocodile diving

Dive with Nile Crocodiles in Botswana.

 

 

READ THE LATEST:

2017 GREAT HAMMERHEAD TRIP REPORT

 

Andy Murch Trip Leader

Andy Murch

EXPEDITION LEADER

Andy Murch is a fanatical big animal diver.

He has photographed and dived with more sharks than most people on this planet and he's very good at it.

Andy's images and shark stories have appeared in hundreds of books and magazines around the world from titles as varied as National Geographic, Scuba Diving, FHM, Digital Photography,  and the Journal of Zoology.

Andy is the Creator of the ever expanding Shark and Ray Field Guide on Elasmodiver.com 

 

When not running big animal expeditions or on photographic assignments, Andy lives and dives on Vancouver Island, Canada

 

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Predators in Peril

Andy is also the driving force behind the PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT which shines a spotlight on many endangered species of sharks and rays that are largely overlooked by mainstream conservation groups. Predators In Peril is entirely funded by Big Fish Expeditions.

 

Find out more here:

PredatorsInPeril.org

 

Predators in Peril Project