Liquid Diving Adventures

Latest News & Updates

Diver's Guide to the Socorro Islands

A Divers Guide to the Socorro Islands


The Revillagigedo Archipelago is made up of four islands: Socorro, Roca Partida, San Benedicto, and Clarion. Due to the popularity of the largest island, the archipelago is often referred to as the Socorro Islands. All of the islands are volcanic. The islands were declared as a marine reserve and a Mexican national park in 2017. The waters typically reach a low of 68 F (21 C) and a high of 82 F (28 C), and the weather is typically warm and sunny.  



Socorro Island rises abruptly from the sea to 1,050 meters (3,440 feet) in elevation at its summit. The island is the emerged summit of a massive, predominately submarine shield volcano. The island is part of the northern Mathematicians Ridge, a mid-ocean ridge that became largely inactive 3.5 million years ago when activity moved to the East Pacific Rise. All four islands along with the many seamounts on the ridge are post-abandonment alkaline volcanoes. Socorro Island is unusual in that it is the only dominantly silicic peralkaline volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean. It most recently erupted in late January-early February 1993, which was a submarine eruption off the coast from Punta Tosca. An earlier eruption was on May 21, 1951. Earlier eruptions probably occurred in 1905, 1896 and 1848. The island's surface is broken by furrows, small craters, and numerous ravines, and covered in lava domes, lava flows and cinder cones. 



There is a naval station, established in 1957, with a population of 250 staff and families living in a village with a church. The village stands on the western side of Bahia Vargas Lozano, a small cove with a rocky beach, about 800 meters east of Cabo Regla, the southernmost point of the island. The station is served by a dock, a local helipad and Isla Socorro airport, located six kilometers to the north. There is a freshwater spring about 5 km northwest of Cabo Regla, at the shoreline of Ensenada Grayson. This is brackish and sometimes covered by the sea at high tide. In the 1950s, a small freshwater seep was known to exist some 45 meters (49 yards) inland at Bahia Lucio Gallardo Pavon, about 800 meters NW of the naval station. 



The islands are located nearly 400 km (250 miles) from the Baja California peninsula. Due to the isolated location, the only way to visit Socorro is through liveaboard. Most visitors begin their trips by arriving at Los Cabos International Airport in Mexico. Then, divers travel 45 minutes to Cabo San Lucas where they take off on a liveaboard. It usually takes about a day for the liveaboard to arrive at the islands. 

 

The diving season lasts from November to May as that is when the often-rough waters are at their calmest. However, even the calmer waters have strong currents, making this trip best for advanced divers.


                                                    

Although the Socorro’s waters are not filled with the colorful reefs many divers look out for, the marine life more than makes up for it. Manta rays, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, are just a few of the common sights in these waters. Humpback whales can even be seen on their migration path through the months of January and February, and the dolphins are known for coming into close contact with divers, most commonly from January to March.  





When divers first arrive at the islands, they often begin their scuba adventure at El Fondeadero. This dive site is located in San Benedicto’s shallower waters where there are three pinnacles and sightings of lobster and eels. The famous sightings of humpback whales are east of Socorro island at the Cabo Pearce dive site. Abundant pelagic life can be seen at the isolated Roca Partida dive site. This site is over 80 miles from San Benedicto and has a pinnacle peaking up out of the water. This site is best suited for advanced divers and has over 100 feet of visibility. 

 

When planning your next dive trip, make sure the Socorro Islands are at the top of your list. The close encounters with dolphins, sharks, and manta rays at this location are unmatched, and the humpback whale sightings are one of a kind. 







Rocio del Mar Liveaboard - Socorro Islands - Nov 19-28, 2022

Rocio del Mar Liveaboard 

Socorro Islands 

November 19-28, 2022

Published Rate $3995, Our Rate $3500 PPDO

10 Berths Available

                                 

 **  Get our discounted rate of $3500 USD per person double occupancy  **

The Revillagigedo Islands (also Revillagigedo Archipelago or Islas Revillagigedo) are a group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, known for their unique ecosystem. The islands are home to many endemic plant and animal species, and are sometimes called Mexico's "little Galapagos".  Socorro island is the most diverse in flora, fauna, and topography.

The islands lie 250 miles off Baja Mexico's southern shore. When embarking on a trip to the Socorro Islands; possible destinations on the itinerary are San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida and Clarion Islands.

These islands are a spectacular magnet for the largest ocean pelagic animals in the world. Schooling Hammerhead sharks, Tiger sharks, dolphins, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, clouds of jacks and barracuda, tuna, wahoo, oceanic white tips sharks, whale sharks and mantas.

Day 1 - Board the boat at 5pm / Dinner is served at 7pm / Boat departs shortly thereafter

Day 2 - At Sea

Day 3 - San Benedicto - 4 dives scheduled

Day 4 - Roca Partida - 3 dives scheduled

Day 5 - Roca Partida - 3 dives scheduled

Day 6 - Socorro Island - 3 dives scheduled (check in with naval station)

Day 7 - Socorro Island - 4 dives scheduled

Day 8 - San Benedicto - 4 dives scheduled - at the end of the day we will start our return to San Jose del Cabo

Day 9 - At Sea

Day 10 - Arrive at San Jose del Cabo in the early morning hours - disembark at 8:30am

                               

"Great trip to Socorro Islands with Rocio Del Mar. Awesome big animal encounters, the best in the world. Saw 6 types of sharks! The boat and dive crew are unbelievable! Crew is like family, sharing in all the work with a smile. The food is the best of the 8 Liveaboards we have been on."  - John M.


                                                                     

The 5 Best Underwater Cameras for 2021 - Our Choices

The 5 Best Underwater Cameras for 2021 - Our Choices

You have taken the leap into a new adventure in life and become a certified diver. After buying the gear that fits your style and with a few trips to a resort or on a liveaboard, you notice many of your fellow divers are packing a camera of some sort. Some carry a small sports camera like the GoPro HERO, some carry a small compact and fully waterproof camera that requires no housing like the Olympus TG-6, and others carry a camera that looks like it was assembled by NASA. Now you have decided to become part of the photography crowd, but the question is which camera will best suit your wants and needs. The decision can be complex with so many options for the buyer. Once you start looking at cameras and housing and strobes, you may find your budget could be the driving factor. A full top end camera setup can cost a few thousand dollars.

 

We have selected what we believe are the best cameras in their category along with a couple of options on housings. This article doesn��t delve into the world of underwater strobes and lighting which deserves an article of its own. We hope this article helps you decide which camera might be your first purchase or if you already have an underwater camera and are ready to upgrade, what will be your next step.

 

Our categories are entry level compact, high-end compact, mirrorless, full frame mirrorless, and DSLR (digital single-lens reflex). Each type of camera has its own pros and cons.

 

Compact cameras offer an attached lens while both mirrorless and DSLRs offer interchangeable lenses. After shooting with a compact camera, many people eventually upgrade to a mirrorless or a DSLR. The advantage with a DSLR is the choice of interchangeable lenses. This difference limits the flexibility of a compact camera, although wet lenses that can be added while diving can help bridge this gap. You also have more flexibility with different focal lengths and better image quality from superior optics and a larger sensor. Interchangeable lens cameras also have reduced shutter lag and better focusing capability. These are huge advantages. 


Entry Level Compact Camera - Olympus TG-6

Key Features:

12MP Hi-Speed image sensor for low light performance and noise reduction

Dual Quad Core TruePic™ VIII Image Processor

F2.0 high speed Lens

4K and high speed video

Field Sensor System w/ GPS, Manometer, Compass & Temperature Sensor

Waterproof 


                               

                                               
The Olympus TG-6 is the same size as the TG-5 and has very minor improvements. The TG-6 will work in TG-5 housings. So, if you're really on a budget, take a look at the TG-5. Either the TG-5 or the TG-6 can be considered the best waterproof camera, outside of a housing. 

 

Although we are calling this an entry level camera, this is a very good underwater camera. It's also a good option for snorkeling because it's waterproof without a housing down to 50 feet (15 meters). 

 

The TG-6 has a high speed 12 MP sensor designed for excellent low light performance and noise reduction. It shoots 4k video, RAW photos, and includes built in WIFI, making transferring photos on the go easy. It's important to note that there is no full manual control on this camera. For the casual photographer who doesn't want to have to think about their camera settings this is probably not an issue. But if you want more control, you may want to consider a different camera. you'll be happier with an of the other cameras we mentioned above. For the housing, we recommend either the Olympus housing or the premium Isotta housing.

 

Pros

  • Smaller size for travel
  • Ability to change wet lenses underwater 
  • Much less cost 

 

Cons

  • Smaller sensor means less detail and more noise at high ISO
  • Shutter delay and focus delay is slow 
  • Less control over depth of field. 


High-End Level Compact Camera – Sony RX100 VII

Key Features:

1-inch 20.1 MP stacked CMOS sensor

BIONZ X processor

Built-in 24-200mm (equivalent) f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens

Electronic shutter up to 1/32000s

4K video with full pixel readout

S-LOG2, S-Log3, and HLG picture profiles

Pop-up EVF (2.36 million dots)


                                      

                                          

The Sony RX100 VII is packed with great features and improvements from its predecessor. New technologies have been integrated into the camera, which is similar to its cousins, the A9 and A6400. The improved autofocus tracking system, including animal eye autofocus makes the Sony RX100 VII a top choice for underwater photographers. You won’t find more useful technology for photographing underwater creatures on any other compact camera. Other upgrades include burst shooting without blackout and improved low light capability with a lower native ISO. 

 

There are three things that make the RX100 series one of the best underwater compact camera series. First, the 1-inch sensor size is larger than most other compact cameras. The larger sensor produces better image quality and better low-light performance due to a larger pixel size. Second, the auto-focus speed is faster than traditional compact cameras. Thirdly, the advanced 4K video features available in the RX100 series are the top-of-the-line when it comes to compact camera video systems.

 

The highlight of this camera is its unprecedented macro capability. The zoom on the 24-200 mm f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens cannot be beaten by other compact underwater setups. Details captured with this lens are remarkable. When combined with a wet macro lens, the realm of super macro photography is attainable. The tiniest details of the smallest subjects can be captured with this set up. For the housing, we recommend either the Nauticam housing or the premium Isotta housing.

 

Pros

  • Sharp 8x zoom lens
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 1-inch sensor design
  • Eye detection

 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can't start video while images are writing to card
  • Limited touch functions


Mirrorless Camera – Panasonic GH5

Key features:

20MP Four Thirds sensor

5-axis in-body image stabilization system

4K footage taken using full width of sensor

Internal 4K/30p 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture

1080 video at up to 180p, enabling 7.5x slow-motion

4K and 6K Photo

9 fps shooting with continuous autofocus

Dual UHS II card slots

5GHz Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth

                      


The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 is the fifth in the company's industry-changing video and stills 'hybrid' lineup. With its 20MP Four Thirds sensor and deep video-centric feature set, it looks likely to pick up where the GH4 left off as a favorite of indie filmmakers and photographers whose interests venture into the realm of motion picture work.

 

The camera offers carefully thought-out features designed to let videographers of all levels record what they need with the new system. The body is larger and the price tag increased as a result, but the video produced speaks for itself. And the GH5's still photo capability holds its own against the best from Olympus and Sony.

 

The benefit of mirrorless cameras is that they offer the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, with a higher quality and better focusing than compacts in a smaller, lighter package than their DSLR counterparts. As the mirrorless cameras are becoming more robust, we’ve seen the sizes of these cameras begin to increase, getting close in size as DSLR cameras. We’re not quite there yet, and the Panasonic GH5, which the largest of the mirrorless options so far, is still smaller than a DSLR.

 

GH5 underwater housings are smaller than DSLR housings, and support both the GH5 and GH5s cameras, in addition to a variety of micro-four thirds lenses. The Panasonic 12-35mm lens is a popular choice for underwater video. For the housing, we recommend the Nauticam housing as it supports the largest number of lenses.

 

Pros

  • 20MP sensor gives increase in resolution without increase in noise
  • Highly impressive video specifications (4:2:2 10-bit color, 4K/60p)
  • Auto ISO added for manual movie shooting
  • JPEG color improved
  • Dual UHS-II card slots, support for faster V60 cards in the future
  • Settings can be saved to card
  • Good battery life

 

Cons

  • On the larger end of the Micro Four Thirds cameras
  • JPEG sharpening improved 
  • Viewfinder resolution drops noticeably during high-speed bursts
  • Autofocus in video can exhibit focus hunting
  • Slight decrease in video quality when shooting high frame rates (180fps)


Full Frame Mirrorless Camera – Nikon Z6 / Z7

Z6 Key features:

24.5MP sensor

5-axis image stabilization system

1080 video at up to 120 fps

4K video at up to 24 fps

12 fps burst shooting

ISO 100-51200

273-point hybrid phase-detection autofocus

 

Z7 Key features:

45.7MP sensor

5-axis image stabilization system

1080 video at up to 120 fps

4K video at up to 24 fps

9 fps burst shooting

ISO 64-25600

493-point hybrid phase-detection autofocus


                                    

                                               

The most important distinctions between the Z6 and Z7 are the sensor resolution and autofocus - both are markedly better on the Z7. Additionally, the Z7 has a native ISO of 64, expandable down to 32, which is better than the Z6's native ISO of 100 (expandable down to 50). This means the Z7 will pull out more details from the shadows and highlights than the Z6. Other than that, the cameras are almost the same, including the same physical dimensions and weights. And of course, the cost, with the Z7 about $1200 higher in price.

 

The most enticing thing about the Z6 and Z7 is the excellent construction. The weather sealing is tough in variable weather conditions. The Z7 is much smaller and lighter than the D850 (675g vs 1005g). For the travelling diver, the Z6 or Z7 wins every time. 

 

The image quality on the Z7 is amazing. At first you might think that 45.7 MP is more than enough pixels in one camera. However, every bit of that information is useful. When you have so many megapixels on a full-frame sensor, you’re left with an ability to crop photos and produce a large, beautiful images with very minute details. Details like this will open new worlds for macro photographers.

 

The video on the Z6 / Z7 can be considered on par with the D850. This puts it at the top of the line for most underwater video systems. The color rendering is as good as in the Nikon D850 - which was revolutionary for Nikon at the time of its release. But the best feature on the Z7’s video is the autofocus full-time function. It outperforms the D850 and most other competing cameras. I did, however, have a little bit of trouble with this function in very low light. The most exciting thing for videographers using the Nikon Z7 is that it’s a full-frame camera with 4k video, capable of outputting video at 10 bits. Many cameras with this capability are over 10 times the price. An N-Log color profile is also available for the Nikon Z7, which will bring out more details after post-processing. 

 

For the underwater housing, we recommend the Nauticam or the premium Isotta housing.

 

Pros

  • Amazing image quality 
  • Very high resolution
  • High functioning electronic viewfinder
  • Smaller than competing DSLRs

 

Cons

  • Banding in low light
  • Noise at low ISO 
  • AF slightly lower performing than the D850
  • Battery life
  • Single XQD slot

Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Key features:

30.4MP CMOS full-frame sensor

DCI 4K 30/24p video using Motion JPEG + 4K Frame Grab

61-point AF system 

Dual Pixel AF

ISO 100-32000

7 fps continuous shooting

Wi-Fi w/ NFC + GPS

       


The Canon EOS 5D series is one of the most recognized camera lines of the digital age and the Mark IV is designed to appeal to a wide range of professionals. Nearly identical in appearance to its predecessor, it features considerable upgrades, including: a higher-resolution sensor with Dual Pixel auto-focus, 4K video capture, an upgraded AF system, improved weather-sealing, built-in Wi-Fi/NFC, an interval timer and GPS. All this adds up to an amazing camera that fits into Canon's product line.

 

The 5D Mark IV is Canon's first full frame camera that can continuously focus in Live View during stills capture, and because of the way Dual Pixel AF works, focus is generally very accurate. It's good at sticking to the original subject on which you initiated the focus, and it's easy to specify the subject by tapping on it on the touchscreen in 'Face Detect+Tracking' mode.

 

Underwater and even in poor visibility, the camera will easily snap autofocus. And, if the camera is tilted from a near subject to a far subject, the focus triggers quickly and smoothly. The new autofocus features in this camera could be a milestone in video autofocus for underwater photographers.

 

No other DSLR camera on the market can master natural light white balances underwater without a color correction filter like this camera. This allows the shooter to take lights in the water and have the option to do natural or artificial light shooting on the same dive. The white balance procedure is a little bit different compared to previous models. This camera does not allow photos in video mode. This requires an additional step to switch to photo mode, take a shot, then go back to video mode. This is not big deal, but if you were used to the procedure on a previous Canon, it’s an additional step.

 

Canon has made some vast image quality improvements over the previous EOS 5D. Still images are superb and as far as video quality, Canon is the king. For the underwater housing, we recommend the Aquatica or the premium Isotta housing.

 

Pros

  • Improved dynamic range
  • True live autofocus in video mode
  • Now shooting 4K 30p
  • High 500mbps data rate
  • 4:2:2 color space
  • 1.64 crop in 4K movie mode

 

Cons

  • No zebra or focus peaking in-camera, but available on external monitors
  • Large file sizes for 4K video
  • Fastest CF card on the market required to ensure uninterrupted video


                                                                              

Previous Posts