Known as the Galapagos of Mexico, Socorro (or Revillagigedos Archipelago) lies 600km off Mexico’s west coast. Its dive sites may be off the beaten track but they are amongst the best in the world for large marine life.
Water temperatures range from 28C in November to around 21C in May, which is the dive season for these waters. Outside this period the weather conditions are not calm enough for safe diving. What you lose in temperature around April and May, you make up in visibility, with close to 50 metres at best. Dive sites can be pretty deep, so bring or rent all the cold water dive gear you can, including hoods, gloves and bootees to keep warm.
Surface conditions and often strong currents mean that these dives sites are not for novices. There are around a dozen dive sites in the area, and no land-based facilities, so your dive trip is going to have you confined to your liveaboard vessel and your dive experience.
As well as the plethora of marine life on show around Isla Socorro, the highlight is always the possibility of whale sightings. The local ecosystem makes these waters perfect for pelagic wildlife, and you are almost guaranteed to see larger marine species: up to seven species of shark (hammerheads, silkies, oceanic whitetips, silvertips, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks and whale sharks), manta ray, lots of bottlenose dolphins and even humpback whales. Sightings of humpbacks in the months from December to March are pretty much a certainty, and their eerie song can be heard in the distance on many dives, even if you cannot see the creatures up close.
Access to these remote dive sites is generally by liveaboard; in fact, the ocean journey from the Baja peninsula takes more than twenty-four hours. Bring plenty of layers and rain gear for topside time. From January to March, the mercury hovers around the 25C mark, but the temperature can plummet well below 20C at night and humidity levels can make it feel even colder. You don’t want to miss out on spectacular whale sightings because you are too cold to go out on deck!
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Scuba diving (as a New Year’s Resolution) coalesces the most common resolutions made each year. But even divers have their own NY resolutions; they can get bored, especially if they’ve been diving the same spots over and over again. A new year calls for adding some new and unique destinations onto your scuba bucket list.
Each year, between January and March, sardines congregate off Isla Mujeres, Mexico, attracting the fastest fish ever recorded. Sailfish feed on these bait balls, and divers seek out snorkeling experiences to watch these sleek and elegant fish dart through the water, feasting on sardines.
Every year, between June and September, hundreds of whale sharks can be found in the deep waters northeast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico.