We steamed the better part of the night from Roca Partida back to the island of Socorro where we would be diving a site called “Cabo Pierce” and another stone pillar called “La Pitite Boiler”. Normally we would have made our way to these sites on Days 2 and 3, but we wanted to take advantage of the calm weather on those days to dive the much more exposed Roca Partida. As the Captain predicted, the wind and swell were definitely beginning to pick up and the relative protection of the island was certainly welcome. By now, however, I had found my sea legs, and any nausea I had felt during the first few days had long since passed. I did, however, sleep poorly and as my eyes cracked open I found myself entirely unprepared for the day at hand. Remembering that this trip was expensive and that each diving was costing me about $150, I forcibly dragged myself out of bed, albeit too late to get my rebreather ready to dive.
So it was that I found myself on open circuit SCUBA gear again that morning, which was just as well because I was tired and groggy thru-out the entire first dive and there was a LOT of current. It’s hard to say if it was because I was tired and not paying close enough attention, or simply because there was not much to see, but the first dive at “Cabo Pierce” was fairly uneventful and my photography endeavors resulted in little other than a few pictures of fish and an Octopus. As with many dive sites at the Revillagigedo Archipelago, this “Cabo Pierce” is a lava flow that takes the form of walls. The dive site itself starts at about 80 feet, making it a fairly deep dive if your intention is to avoid decompression obligations. My maximum depth on this dive ended up being 100 feet, but I stayed down for 45 minuets and racked up a little bit of deco… I was breathing air after all.
After getting back to the boat, drinking a little coffee and eating breakfast I went to work straight away on putting my rebreather together and pre-diving it. Diving Rebreathers is a form of technical diving and it requires a lot more work and attention to detail than open circuit diving. Because of this, rebreather divers are frequently the target of taunting and snide comments by open circuit divers. You almost get to the point where you stop hearing it when people say “my, those things certainly are a lot of work”, or “seeing how much work those things are to dive, I think I’ll stick with my traditional SCUBA gear”. Perhaps they’re just jealous. Technical diving is not for everyone and since most people don’t want to do long, deep dives, they’re probably better off with standard equipment and techniques anyhow. All told, I spent about an hour getting my rig ready to dive and finished just in time to make the second dive of the day. Not wanting to fight with the strong currents we encountered on the first dive, I decided to do this one by myself and explore the lava formations inside the large cove near the island itself. I jumped right off the back of the Nautilus, descended to the sandy bottom at 100 feet and started swimming towards the island, keeping the sun at my left for reference.
As I neared the island, I found myself in about 50 feet of water, both hearing and feeling the songs of Humpback Whales. We’d heard Humpbacks on many of our other dives, but in the case, the sounds were amazingly loud and I could actually feel the low frequency waves travel through my body and head. I can only imagine that the creature itself must have been very close, but despite constantly looking, I was unable to see it. The sounds diminished as I neared the island, and I found that the shore was not so much the sheer wall I had imagined, as it was a series of walls that were formed by lava flows. I didn’t see much in the way of animals, but thoroughly enjoyed exploring the flows and lava formations. At one point I even found a small cave which started in about 40 feet of water and ended roughly 40 feet back and 30 feet deep. All told, I stayed down for 1 hour and reached a maximum depth of 100 feet.
For the third and last dive of the day we went to a site called “La Pitite Boiler”. This site is a small stone pillar that begins on the sea floor at 130 feet, and extends up to about 5 feet below the surface. It is named for the way the water seems to boil as the waves pass over it, briefly exposing the peak and then submerging it again. We descended directly to the bottom at 130 feet and basically swam laps around the towering stone getting shallower and shallower on each pass. The surface was fairly rough, but there was little to no current and the dive was extremely fun. We saw quite a few Moray eels, although the larger animals eluded us. It’s hard to say exactly how many laps I swam around the pillar, but I stayed in the water for an hour and enjoyed every second of it. When I did decide to surface, I did so mostly because I didn’t want to keep the other divers waiting and because it was getting dark. I could have happily stayed down for another hour!
We pulled anchor and started heading back to the island of San Benidicto for our last day of diving before dinner. The seas were rough, which made for some interesting displays of plate and cup handling skills during our meal. I had a couple of Gin and Tonics and headed off to bed. Since we were going back to “The Canyon” I had designs on doing some deeper dives in the morning.