The Socorro Islands, or Revillagigedos Islands, are firmly located in liveaboard territory. These uninhabited volcanic islands provide some seriously adventurous diving. Vast schools of hammerhead sharks congregate here. Giant mantas with “wingspans” of up to 6 metre/20 feet are regularly encountered and Galapagos and whitetip sharks are possibilities on any dive. One particular spot here, Roca Partida, is a seamount reaching to within 3 metres/10 feet of the surface. Its walls plunge nearly straight down to the abyss and it’s a great place for huge tuna, and even humpback whale and whale sharks in season.
Pelican Rock, near Cabo San Lucas, has something for divers of all abilities and is readily accessed from town. From a shallow sandy bottom in 5 metres/15 feet, divers can head down the gorgonian encrusted wall and spot myriad parrotfish, angelfish and more on their way. Sharp-eyed divers may find frogfish and lobsters hiding in the crevices and schools of jacks and rays often pass by. Sea lions, whitetip sharks and sometimes manta rays and whale sharks visit Pelican Rock, which hosts a staggering array of marine fauna for a dive site so close to town.
Marisla Seamount, or El Bajo, is about 13 kilometres/8 miles northeast of La Paz. Here a series of three underwater peaks rise to within 18 metres/60 feet of the surface. This is a dive for the experienced, but those who make the effort may well be rewarded with the world’s signature schooling hammerhead dive. The hammerheads cruise clockwise around the peaks for as yet unknown reasons. The region also attracts massive schools of amber jack and tuna with occasional whale sharks and manta rays putting in appearances.
Los Islotes, lie just off the north tip of Isla Espiritu Santo, close to La Paz, these small islands attract huge schools of sardines, which in turn keep the main attraction, California sea lions, well fed and happy. A colony of more than 200 of these pinnipeds is resident here and the dive is famous for the interaction between the sea lions and the divers who visit them. The sea lions are playful and inquisitive and usually put on a great aquatic ballet. While a playful fin nip is about as exciting as it usually gets, bull sea lions can be protective, and aggressive, during mating season.
La Bufadora, on the Pacific coast in the northern reaches of the Baja Peninsula, has been a popular dive site for decades. Dramatic walls, caves and arches are covered with an intense variety of invertebrates making this a paradise for the macro photographer. Nudibranchs, tunicates, sponges, gorgonians and anemones compete for every available space. There’s also a sea lion rookery and a must see blowhole to while away the surface intervals. While shore diving is possible here, the entry is relatively challenging and the better sites are more easily reached by boat.
Punta Concepcion, is a short boat ride from Mulegé on the central shore of the Sea of Cortez. The diving here is characterized by boulder-strewn bottoms, which create fissures and crevices that harbor a variety of angel and butterfly fish species and provide a substrate for a diverse array of invertebrates. Moray eels lurk under the rocks and divers occasionally encounter sea lions and larger pelagic species.