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Using the Pandemic Wisely - Deep Blue Dive Center

Using the Pandemic Wisely

Deep Blue Dive Center

Aqaba, Jordan

Like all dive centers around the globe, Deep Blue Dive Center in Aqaba, Jordan, was hit hard by the pandemic. Jordan closed its doors to tourists and required all tourism-related businesses, including dive shops, to be shuttered as well for several months.

Once employees could return to work, they did so. Tourists were still not allowed in Jordan, but there were a few guests coming from Amman and other parts of the country. Because the staff were not very busy, they began to focus their efforts on dive cleanups and started the Deep Blue Cleanup Team.



They made a concerted effort to rid a nearby dive site of years and years of fishing line, cleaning the newly opened Underwater Military Museum of the single-use plastic and aluminum cans that blow in off the shore of the public beach, and their house reef. From December 15th – June 29th they cleaned 1230 kilos of debris. Anywhere from 2 to 5 volunteer divers joined the staff in these cleanups. The dive center did not charge any of the volunteers for dives and if they wanted to do a fun dive afterward, they did so offering a 20% discount.  


Every one of those kilos of debris were sorted, counted, and weighed according to PADI Project Aware and then the data was uploaded on the Project AWARE website. Deep Blue partnered with their next-door neighbor, H&S Watersports, in these cleanup campaigns. The staff of H&S did several shore cleanups and gathered loads of plastic bottles, cigarette butts, plastic bags, and other items. In addition, two volunteers at the dive shop did a Go Fund Me campaign to help pay staff salaries for cleanups. They successfully raised $2835, exceeding their goal of $2800. And Deep Blue management was able to find other creative ways of funding salaries for the cleanups as well. All of this helped keep staff on board during the challenge of the pandemic.



When business started picking up after Jordan’s reopening to tourists, the cleanup campaign was slowed, but the effect of the work they did was apparent. Mohammed Leddawi, the Operation Manager, and owner of Deep Blue also used the downtime to give the business a facelift, ensure that all equipment was in top shape, ensure Covid measures were put in place, and work on improving the dive boats through remodels and refurbishing. All of this to improve customer experiences.

 

Slowly the dive center is rising from the pandemic. The pandemic was tough, and still is, on tourism-related businesses, but Deep Blue staff kept up good spirits though continuing to work hard and showing their love and concern for healthy reefs through regular cleanups. 


Learn more about Deep Blue Dive Center at: https://www.deepbluedivecenter.com


 

                                                                                  

Awesome Kelp Diving Destinations

Awesome Kelp Forest Diving 

7 of the World's Best Destinations

Most prevalent on North America’s west coast, kelp forests create one-of-a-kind diving experiences. The forests grow close to the shore in cool conditions, providing food and shelter for a plethora of marine life. The dense forests are home to small, young fish that are hiding from predators and larger creatures such as seals, sea lions, sea otters, snowy egrets, blue herons, and even whales. The kelp can grow to a height of 130 feet, creating a unique, hazy ambiance for divers. But North America is not the only kelp forest dive destination...!


                                                    


North America - California

The Golden State, while famous for its parks and landmarks, has an entire world to explore in its waters. Some of the most famous kelp forests are scattered throughout the Pacific shoreline, including destinations in San Diego, Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz.  


  • San Diego, California

One of San Diego’s most famous diving spots is the La Jolla Cove, which has a depth of 30 to 60 feet. The further north divers head, the rockier and thicker the terrain gets. Sea cucumbers, sea stars, tope sharks, and the seven-gill shark are often spotted. This site is an ecological reserve with healthy and diverse marine life. Snorkeling is also common at this site. 


  • Catalina Island, California

Known for its crystal-clear waters and vast marine life, Catalina Island’s underwater forest consists of giant bladder kelp. The kelp is rooted into the rocky ocean floor and is home to more than 150 types of fish like the California spiny lobster. This spot is ideal during the late summer to early fall when visibility ranges from 40 to 50 feet. 


  • Santa Barbara Channel Islands

The cold northern currents and warm southern currents mix in Santa Barbara’s waters, creating a diverse home to more than 1,000 species of marine life. The kelp forests are thick and dense, making it a struggle for boats passing through. For divers looking for an isolated diving experience, St. Nicholas is a great option. The island is the least popular amongst tourists, so the forests are left nearly untouched with sights of gorgonians, schooling fishes, tope sharks, and lobsters. 


  • Santa Cruz, California

Just off the shore of the beach town Santa Cruz is the iconic Monterey Bay. Not only is the bay home to colorful nudibranchs and sea lions, but it is known for its cold-water diving due to the Submarine Canyon that plummets to a depth of more than 10,500 feet. The drop starts close to the shoreline and brings in nutrient-rich water. Divers arrive at their destination either by boat or kayak before discovering the vast kelp beds, anemones, whales, and more. 



North America - Vancouver, Canada

  • Vancouver, Canada

Home to octopus, wolf eels, and anemones, Vancouver’s kelp forests should be on every diver’s bucket list. The forest is made up of bull kelp, which is a delicate golden-brown that drifts back and forth through the water. The plants grow up to 115 feet, and up to 10 inches a day as they mature. One of the most popular dive sites is the advanced Race Rocks, located along the southern end of Vancouver Island. This site often has extreme weather and has access to large marine life such as humpback whales and orcas. 



Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand 


Although kelp diving is most popular along the western coast of the U.S. and Canada, there are still some amazing sites south of the equator. The Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand have everything from gardens to volcanic walls to caves. The dense kelp forest thrives where the ocean floor begins to slope and is the perfect hiding place for the smallest of creatures. Poor Knights Island is known for the large groups of bull rays, long-tail rays, and short-tail rays. During the southern hemisphere’s summer, pods of orca whales pass through. 



Cape Town, South Africa


Not only is Cape Town, the capital of South Africa, a great pick for exploring wrecks and spotting diverse marine life, it also has stunning kelp forests. Kelp dives typically start in the A-Frame before entering other sites like Castle Rock. This site is known for sightings of pyjama sharks, shy sharks, butterfish, cape knife jaws, and steenbras. Summer is the best time to dive in Cape Town, and the Atlantic side reaches visibility of up to 65 feet, but with a chilling water temperature of 50° F. 


                                                                          

Island of Palau, Micronesia - Entry Requirements

Island of Palau, Micronesia

New Entry Requirements

As of July 17, 2021



Effective Immediately, a commercial airline traveler needs only to present required documentation to the airline/airline representative for entry into the Republic of Palau.

    • Pursuant to Republic of Palau Rules and Regulations for Isolation & Quarantine of Contagious Diseases and current Ministry of Health (MOH) Directives regarding COVID-19 measures, all international travelers entering the Republic of Palau are subject to the entry requirements listed below.
    • All travelers must provide valid proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, with final dose received at least 14 days prior to arrival in Palau. Vaccine record must clearly show date(s) and number of dose(s) received as well as vaccine brand that is either US FDA or WHO-approved or authorized for COVID-19.
    • Unvaccinated travelers under twelve (12) years of age may enter Palau and shall undergo the same requirements for vaccinated travelers.
    • Requests for vaccination requirement exemptions for age group 12-17 will be considered on a case by case basis. Requests must be emailed to shunrang.chin@palauhealth.org. Requests must be received 5 days prior to arrival to Palau.
    • All travelers are also required to provide valid negative PCR COVID-19 test results taken within three (3) days of departure to Palau or proof of COVID-19 recovery if previously infected with COVID-19. Children under three (3) years old are exempt from entry testing requirement.
    • All travelers must provide valid address and contact information in Palau.
    • All travelers must wear a face mask during their first five(5) days upon arrival and undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing on the fifth(5th) day after arrival.
    • Violation of any stated requirement shall be subject to a criminal fine of $500.00, up to one (1) year imprisonment in accordance with 34 PNC § 104, and subject to further quarantine or isolation conditions.
    • Visitors and non-residents must stay at a Pandemic Certified establishment during their first five(5) days upon arrival.
    • Note: Flights and ships carrying unvaccinated travelers may be considered for entry on a case-by-case basis by the Ministry of Health.
                                                                                   

Flying After Diving - Divers Alert Network

Flying After Diving

Divers Alert Network (DAN)

Courtesy of DAN

In the past, guidelines for flying after diving were quite varied. For example, after a single no-stop dive, the U.S. Navy recommended a two-hour surface interval time (SIT), DAN recommended 12 hours SIT and the U.S. Air Force recommended 24 hours SIT. And in 1989, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) recommended curtailing all diving within 24 hours of a flight and up to 48 hours following a decompression dive. 

These guidelines proved to be a serious restriction for divers and dive operators, so in 1991, DAN Researchers developed a series of experiments designed to produce the data that was desperately needed to refine these guidelines.

The objective of these studies was to estimate the relationship between the preflight surface interval and decompression illness (DCI) incidence for a few dive series representative of recreational diving. A preflight surface interval was accepted or rejected within the study based upon the number of DCI incidents and total exposures. Acceptance and rejection rules were chosen to allow mild DCI but limit more serious DCI. The Duke Institutional Review Board of Duke Medical Center approved these rules.

With the data collected from these studies, DAN was able to develop more specific guidelines that still reduce the risk of decompression sickness as a result of flying after diving. DAN’s initial “Flying After Diving Trials” laid the foundation for the current flying-after-diving guidelines for recreational divers and then prompted the U.S. Navy to update their residual nitrogen-based flying-after-diving rules.


                                                                                

Blue Heron Bridge - West Palm Beach, Florida

Blue Heron Bridge

Phil Foster Park

West Palm Beach, Florida

Pura Vida Divers


Book a dive at Blue Heron Bridge with Pura Vida Divers

Scuba diving at the world-renowned Blue Heron Bridge, also known as Phil Foster Park, is something every diver who visits West Palm Beach, Florida should experience. The Blue Heron Bridge was chosen in 2013 as the best dive site in the world by PADI’s Sport Diver magazine for good reasons. Its diversity of marine life and its easy accessibility are just two of the many important traits of this terrific dive site.

 

When you dive Blue Heron Bridge you encounter numerous sea creatures that are a rarity to find throughout the world. Seahorses and pipefish in all sizes and colors make the top of the list at this amazing dive site. Octopus, including the mimic octopus, can be found while diving here. Add to the list the odd marine life such as sea robins, flying gurnards, batfish, frogfish, stargazers, and over 100 different species of nudibranchs to name a few.

 

Dive Blue Heron Bridge and see something new each time.  It will leave you yearning for more! Paul Humann and Ned Deloach, authors of the Reef Fish Identification books, call the Blue Heron Bridge, “Florida’s exotic critter capital.”


Text and images courtesy of Pura Vida Divers




News from Manta Ray Bay Resort - Wishing on a Star

News from Manta Ray Bay Resort

Wishing on a Star

Greetings from Bill at Manta Ray Bay Resort on Yap, 

Hope all is well with you, your family, friends, and dive buddies. As for conquering the Covid-19 pandemic, the US is heading in the right direction, Europe seems to be getting things under control as well, while here on Yap we have about 40% of the population fully vaccinated. FSM president has set a 70% vaccination rate before stranded FSM citizens would be repatriated, however last week the first batch of stranded citizens were repatriated to Pohnpei. Although this by itself is a good sign, we do not anticipate reopening until early 2022.
 
With that knowledge I must announce that that MantaFest 2021 program is officially canceled. There is no way, in my opinion, that both the FSM Government and the Yap State Government are going to agree to open the borders anytime soon and even if they open, there will undoubtedly be all sorts of restrictions placed on arrivals that no one can affectively come for a vacation. 

This breaks my heart as I miss everyone, and I miss the diving. Who could ever believe that I have been unable to travel and there is no end in sight? It is an extraordinary situation that I am still not used to. Every morning, instead of going to the resort and diving with our friends from all around the world, I am checking the news hoping that the end of the tunnel will be insight soon. There is light, but no green light yet and that is very frustrating. I’m very sorry having to email this message, but it wouldn’t be responsible and fair towards you to give you hope that we could all be together for MantaFest this year. Even the changed dates in October are just not realistic anymore. It is sad but that is the reality we are forced to deal with.
 
Please keep following my blog. I hope you are enjoying reading the updates from our beautiful island as I certainly enjoy updating you. I am very much looking forward to the day I write the blog with the headline “Yes, we’re open again”.

Although our reopening date is unknown, please have a look at our “Grand Re-opening Specials”. As a MantaFest participant in 2022, you can benefit from our “Get 3 Extra Nights for Free” offer when booking our 7, 11 or 14-night MantaFest package.
 
Finally, please help us spread the word that Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers IS the dive resort to visit once things are back to normal again. Cast your vote in the Scuba Diving magazine’s World's Best Diving Resorts & Liveaboards Reader's Awards by following this link 
 
Friends, adopted family and buddies, please stay safe and healthy! My family and I, as well as our staff, cannot wait to have you as our guests again. 
 
All the best,
 
Bill, family & staff


                                                                                    

The Normalization of Deviance (aka “Short Cut Mentality”) - Dan Orr

The Normalization of Deviance (aka “Short Cut Mentality”)

Dan Orr / Dan Orr Consulting

Originally Published in the Scuba News

https://www.thescubanews.com/2021/06/09/the-normalization-of-deviance-aka-short-cut-mentality/#prettyPhoto


I had the opportunity to listen to the live broadcast of the meeting of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) where they discussed the results of their investigation into the tragic fire aboard the dive boat, Conception, where 34 divers lost their lives. During the meeting’s 4+ hours of discussion, they reviewed all aspects of the incident as they were preparing their final report and recommendations. There were several issues identified as board members and committee heads discussed details, some very hard to listen to, of things that contributed to the catastrophic loss of life. 



Of all the things that were discussed, “normalization of deviance” struck a chord with me. I saw that it had direct application to diving safety leading me to the creation of this article. Normalization of deviance means that people become so accustomed to a conscious deviation from a standard procedure that they no longer consider those changes as being deviant.  

During my nearly 50 years as a diving professional and 23 years working at Divers Alert Network (DAN), I have read and reviewed many diving accident reports involving divers from all over the diving world. Understanding what turned an enjoyable recreational dive into a tragedy is an important step in learning how to avoid the same fate. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” Many case reports detail a series of actions and habitual behaviors, which appear so far beyond comprehension that they defy our definition of “diver error.”

 

In 2008, Dr. Petar Denoble at DAN, reviewed nearly 1,000 diver fatalities. Part of his research identified triggering events that initiated a cascade of circumstances that transformed an otherwise enjoyable dive into a fatality were listed (Denoble, P., et al, “Causes of Recreational Diving Fatalities” UHM 2008, Vol. 35, No.6). Those triggering events were:

  • Out of Breathing Gas              41%
  • Entrapment                             21%
  • Equipment Problems             15%
  • Rough Water                            10%
  • Trauma                                      6%
  • Buoyancy                                  4%
  • Inappropriate Gas                     3%

Looking at this data, you can see that over 60% of the identified triggering events (Out of Breathing Gas, Equipment Problems, Buoyancy and Inappropriate Gas) were either directly or indirectly related to equipment preparation and use. Before going any further, let me comment on one of the triggering events, “Equipment Problems.” From my experience and the review of the circumstances surrounding diving fatalities, I believe that “Equipment Problems”. is more likely to be “Problems with Equipment.” In other words, user error rather than a flaw in the equipment design. Using a checklist and a consistent pre-dive ritual can increase the likelihood of identifying and correcting errors before diving. The problem seems to be that divers, even some with extensive diving experience, may decide to take short cuts or deviate from standard safety procedures due to some sense of time pressure, complacency or just feeling that standard procedures may not apply to them.  


DAN’s Annual Diving Report has interesting data regarding experience levels for diving fatalities. One graph (below) shows the number of openwater dives a diver has done within the 12 months preceding a diving fatality. In the graph below, you will see two distinct spikes in the number of fatalities. One spike involves divers with fewer than 20 openwater dives. This spike in the number of fatalities might be explained by the fact that these divers have limited experience in openwater diving, and their skills may not be sufficient to appropriately deal with a crisis underwater. Another spike in the same graph shows an increased number of fatalities with divers that have made more than 300 openwater dives in the months preceding a diving fatality. It may seem incredulous that divers with that much recent experience would get themselves in a situation where something occurred that initiated a series of events from which they could not recover. 



One possible explanation for a high number of fatalities among very experienced divers could be that they may have routinely deviated from standard safety procedures so frequently that these deviations became “normalized” because in all previous instances nothing occurred reinforcing the use of these shortcuts. Even then, the question that should come to mind is how can trained, equipped, and experienced divers, with more than 300 individual diving experiences in the 12 months preceding their death in a diving accident, get themselves into a situation where their skills, abilities and equipment were not sufficient for them to survive an underwater diving emergency. 

                                                                                                                                           

Reading through the details of many of these “accidents” found in the annual DAN Diving Accident Reports, causes you to naturally reflect on your own diving experiences and makes you realize that this could happen to you, just as it has happened to a number of highly trained, experienced and apparently qualified divers.


Clearly any of the divers found in the DAN annual Diving Reports were fully capable of following proper diving procedures and had done so on many previous openwater dives. When giving seminars on diver safety, one concept that is always brought up is “complacency” as one possible contributing factor in diving accidents. This is certainly true in many cases, but there may be another explanation, “normalization of deviance.” Normalization of deviance, in this case, means that certified and qualified scuba divers may have become so accustomed to a conscious deviation from standard diving and safety procedures that they no longer consider them as being a departure from the norm. Divers grow more accustomed to the deviation from standard procedures the more frequently they use them. To others, the deviation from a standard procedure would be seen as incorrect but to the diver, and possibly even others they regularly dive with, the incorrect procedure might seem like a normal part of the diver’s diving skills. When a deviation is made and the outcome is successful without any negative consequences, it subliminally reinforces the use of that deviation. In other words, the diver may experience a subconscious reward for doing the wrong thing because it worked.  


The term “normalization of deviance” was coined by sociologist and Columbia University professor Dr. Diane Vaughn in her book, The Challenger Launch Decision. She detailed the decisions made by NASA that led to the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. There had been problems with the “O” rings in the solid rocket boosters on previous launches without incident. Therefore, it became “normal operating procedure” to make launch “Go” decisions with identified issues with the “O” rings. NASA, unfortunately, did not learn from the Challenger disaster and fell victim to it again when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated when the heat shield failed upon re-entry in 2003. Apparently, there had been heat shield issues during previous re-entries without serious incident, again, leading to issues with the heat shield being considered within “normal” operating parameters. 


In order to learn from these space flight tragedies and other, more recent, catastrophic incidents within the diving world, we should fully understand the dangers from deviations from safe operating procedures when they become “normalized.” The first step in avoiding “normalization of deviance” is awareness. In diving safety, we discuss the concept of “situational awareness.” Situational awareness is where we are constantly monitoring those things going on as we prepare for a dive, during the dive and afterwards. This includes the pre-dive period as our diving companions are preparing and configuring their equipment. During the dive as we monitor our depth, bottom time, breathing gas consumption and anytime changes occur that could increase our risk during a dive. Post-dive as we observe our diving companions looking for signs of issues that could have been the result of the dive. When we identify anything that could negatively impact our diving experience, our knowledge and skills should alert us to take some sort of action. 



There are many factors which may increase the likelihood of normalization of deviance. For example, there are divers, even those with lots of experience, who often develop shortcuts or neglect proper procedures, including those steps found on accepted checklists from training programs, or even those considered as standard safety procedures. The justification for conscious rule breaking often comes where the rule or standard is perceived as ineffectual. In charter boat or liveaboard diving, time pressure may be an issue that would seem to justify skipping a few steps that may be considered inconsequential.  Saving a few minutes in preparation may seem to be the right thing to do when others are waiting for you but would seem less important when things go terribly wrong once in the water. Divers may also learn a deviation without actually realizing it. Diver training only covers part of what a diver needs to know to dive, especially in some of the more challenging diving situations. Some divers will adopt modifications from other, apparently more experienced, divers that have worked for them in similar situations. They may do this without questioning or completely evaluating these modifications in procedures. And, finally, diving in a culture that permits mistakes to go uncorrected. There is a popular saying nowadays, “See something, say something.” This philosophy may certainly have value in terms of accident prevention. Diving companions may be afraid to speak up when they see something about a pre-dive preparation or even a diving skill that deviates from proper procedures or techniques. Even though we are certainly not our brother’s keeper, we do have an obligation to our diving companions to help identify something just doesn’t seem right and thus, preventing an accident. There is no problem with simply asking questions about something that is different than what we expect or different than what we’ve seen before. In fact, it is a way we may learn. You may have actually discovered a new and better way of doing something or you may have brought an error to the attention of a fellow diver, possibly preventing an unfortunate situation from occurring. One caution, however: never take anything at face value when it comes to diving or safety. Evaluate anything that is different from what you know to be correct and ask others with more experience or expertise.


Resisting the tendency to deviate from proper procedures or techniques that were developed to keep our sport and divers safe requires a willingness from every diver to always follow the skills, techniques and procedures that they were taught. One approach to combatting deviations from safe diving procedures is to develop and maintain a culture of diving safety. A safety culture is the enduring value and priority placed on safety by every diver at every level. All divers must commit to personal responsibility for safety; preserve, enhance, and communicate safety concerns as soon as they are identified; actively learn from past mistakes and the mistakes of others and apply safe behaviors based upon lessons learned. Anything less than a full commitment to a safety culture would allow deviations from proper procedures or techniques to become part of normal operating procedure that will, possibly, lead to a tragic outcome from what should be a truly wonderful diving experience. 


In order to address accidents in the use of closed-circuit rebreathers (CCRs), the technical diving community came together in 2012 at Rebreather Forum 3.0 and developed a series of recommendations to improve CCR safety. One of these recommendations was the use of checklists. The use of checklists, however, should not be confined to rebreather diving. The use of a checklist to reduce the likelihood that some critical aspect of pre-dive preparation is not missed should be an essential part of every diver’s repertoire.  Unfortunately, diving accident data and post-accident diver interviews show that checklists may still not be considered part of many diver’s safety procedures. The lack of checklist use could, in many cases, have possibly prevented a tragedy but, not using a checklist was considered, by many, normal operating procedure. While checklists should be considered a standard part of every diver’s preparatory procedures, I would also suggest combining the use of a checklist with a consistent pre-dive ritual for equipment preparation. Getting into a strict routine will certainly help prevent equipment configuration and preparation errors. 


Whether we are diving with friends, family, or others enjoying the same sport and dive site, we all want to enjoy the wonders of diving without ending up as a DAN statistic. We can all agree that a diving fatality is terrible for the sport, the industry and the loved ones that are left behind. Taking short cuts as a regular practice where these changes become “normalized” can certainly compromise our safety and the safety of our diving companions and risk taking away our most precious gift, life.


Our thanks to Scuba News, Dan Orr and Dan Orr Consulting for allowing us to republish this article.



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. 







7 Awesome Reasons to Dive Curacao

7 Awesome Reasons to Dive Curacao 

85 Superb Dive Sites

Curaçao is a small Caribbean island that neighbours Bonaire and Aruba and forms part of the ABC Islands in the Dutch Caribbean. Here divers can enjoy magnificent healthy reefs, great topography, walls and shipwrecks.




Hurricane Free Zone - Curaçao sits below the hurricane belt making it appealing for travelers who can do without potential weather delays during the Atlantic hurricane season.


85 Dive Sites - Most of the 85 or so dive sites here are located on the southwest of the island, but there are some in the northern parts, which are more suited for advanced divers. There’s a wealth of variety in Curaçao’s dive sites, despite its size. Offering amazing walls, reefs and wrecks accessible by shore or boat, there’s something for everyone no matter your level of experience.




Clear Blue Water - Teeming underwater life is best enjoyed with great visibility, which is huge bonus to diving Curaçao. Visibility is often 70 feet and on calm days, of which there are many, the visibility can be up to 100 feet. Visibility is excellent thanks to minimal river runoff from the island.




Marine Biodiversity - Curaçao’s reefs are among the healthiest in the region, especially the reefs of Eastern Curaçao. The absence of substantial hills and year-round rainfall likely contributes to the healthy reefs. Large schools of tarpons, sharks, eagle rays, large barracuda, eels, and turtles all populate the healthy and pristine reefs.


Easy Shore Access - The majority of the diving can be done from the shore, and to top it off, the dive sites are mostly protected from strong currents, meaning diving is very easy and relaxing, and perfect for beginner divers. Boat diving is also an option here, with most dive operators choosing to do so. Most all oceanfront resorts have amazing house reefs right at their doorsteps. Photo courtesy of oceanencounters.com