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Dive Review of Rocio del Mar in
Mexico (Western)/Midriff Islands, Sea of Cortez

Rocio del Mar: "Photo Workshop in the Sea of Cortez", Jul, 2021,

by Kevin Peterson, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 9 Helpful votes). Report 11619 has 2 Helpful votes.

Photos Submitted with this Report


Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

King Angelfish

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was a photography workshop organized and sponsored by Bluewater Photo. The objective was to have opportunities for macro and wide angle photography and practice with quick moving subjects. The boat left the docks of Puerto Penasco and traveled to the area of the Midriff Islands at the halfway point in the Sea of Cortez.

The diving was great although there was opportunity for only two night dives in the trip. The water itself was actually quite clear like tropical areas with no algae or kelp, but there are lots of little krill that made it seem like the water was cloudy. Water temperature varied with the location and current. I was comfortable with a 5mm shorty, but others would not be. Most wore full wetsuits of 3mm to 5mm. You could be swimming in comfortable temperatures and suddenly get a very chilly upwelling.

Our first diving was in an area with lots of jawfish that would pop out of their holes in the sand and then dive back in. We patiently set up our cameras at the edge of their home and waited to capture their actions. At times, we saw mobula rays leap out of the water and spin around in front of the boat. There were also many Cortez Stingrays swimming around as well as moray eels and turtles. At a distance we saw dolphins and small whales. There were horn sharks, but I didn't see any personally.

In later dives we had many opportunities to photograph nudibranchs and flatworms of different varieties. On one dive we saw a sea horse. Several times we saw octopuses. When we got to other islands there were may sea lions. When they saw the Panga boat coming toward them, they dived off the rocks and started swimming toward us to show off and play underwater. It was a very unique experience to have wild animals like that swim up to within inches of you and look you in the face.

On the last day we got to snorkel with whale sharks in Bahia de los Angeles. You are not allowed to scuba dive with them or swim underneath. No flash is allowed and you are not allowed to touch them. However, we got to get within inches of these enormous gentle giants and take pictures.

The food was very good and the service was excellent both above and below the water. The weather was very hot and humid, but the rooms and dining area are air conditioned and comfortable. There was a dedicated table on the dive deck for cameras and chargers and we were not allowed to charge batteries in our rooms.

Interestingly, all 20 divers and the crew were vaccinated for covid-19 and had to show proof before boarding. No one was wearing a mask once we got on the boat. After returning home, one couple reported having gotten sick and tested positive for covid-19. The rest of us got tested and no one else tested positive except me. I had to quarantine for 10 days, but I never had any symptoms. I guess the lesson here is not to get too complacent about the pandemic.
Websites Rocio del Mar   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Australia, Palau, Yap, Egypt, Hawaii, Belize, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Caribbean (many islands), Key Largo, California (including the Channel Islands as well as Monterey), Mexico, Costa Rica, Bonaire, Curacao, Epcot Center in Disney World, etc.
Closest Airport Phoenix, AZ (PHX) Getting There Fly to Phoenix and take a shuttle into Mexico to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point)

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 74-80°F / 23-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-60 Ft/ 9-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Divers were expected to keep a reasonable pace and end the dive when the divemaster indicated to stay on schedule.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments This was a photo workshop trip, so it was geared toward photographers. We showed some of our pictures on HDTV monitors during the trip and had a table on the dive deck dedicated to cameras and lights. We had almost daily presentations on photographic techniques and post processing.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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