Mind-blowing is probably the best word to describe our recent trip to Revillagigedo Islands. The four remarkable Revillagigedo Islands namely Socorro, Clarion, San Benedicto, and Roca Partida are located 390 kilometers off the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. Tagged as the “Galápagos of Mexico,” these four islands of volcanic origin offer some of the best diving in Mexico.
The archipelago was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2016. The year after, it was classified as a marine reserve and a national park of Mexico. As a result, mining and fishing have been banned in the area.
This remote dive destination can be reached by liveaboard boat. The journey to this iconic site is worth the wait and effort because you’ll be rewarded with the sight of nature’s untouched beauty. The waters around the islands are home to spectacular creatures.
Marine life encounters
Giant Pacific Manta Ray
The sight of this Giant Pacific Manta Ray flapping its pectoral fin in the Boiler, San Benedicto Island was nothing short of astounding. Watching it soar just a few feet above our heads was a remarkable experience we will never forget.
Giant Manta Rays are the largest rays in the world and one of the largest fish in the world. They have wingspans that can stretch across to 29 feet (8.8 m). In terms of weight, Giant Manta Rays can reach up to 5,300 pounds (2,404 kg). Despite their large size, these creatures are gentle and not dangerous to humans. You’ll often see them cruising along the waters with their large mouths open to filter tiny plankton and other small food. Giant Mantas have specialized flaps called cephalic lobes which they use to channel the water and food into their mouths. If you’re lucky, you might spot one doing underwater somersaults while feeding.
You might come across one with remoras clinging to it. This relationship is called “Mutualism” where each species benefit from one another. The remora gets a free ride from the Giant Ray and enjoys the privilege of gathering scraps of food. The remora, on the other hand, provides free cleaning service to the Giant Ray by cleaning its skin from bacteria and parasites.
Did you know that Giant Manta Rays have the biggest brains among the fish? Yes, this gentle and graceful creature has both beauty and brains. Studies show that these aquatic animals can distinguish between objects and have the ability to recognize their reflection in the mirror. Incredible, isn’t it?
There’s also a chance to dive with humpback whales in these waters. These powerful swimmers use their giant tail fin, called a fluke, to maneuver themselves through the water. Sometimes they use their fluke to leap out of the water and make a humongous splash.
During the mating season, male Humpbacks are known to sing their hearts out with their characteristic songs. Think of them as one of the crooners of the ocean. These majestic creatures seek warmer waters to give birth to their young. This is why they have made the Revillagigedo Islands their home during the Winter season. Lucky divers may witness a mother and calf swimming along these waters. Sometimes they can be seen playing with dolphins. Diving with humpback whales can be a surreal experience. Being in the same crystal-clear blue waters with these amazing animals is a bucket-list-worthy moment.
The scalloped hammerhead shark in the archipelago travel in schools. Hammerheads are easy to recognize because of their unique “hammer-shaped” head. The scalloped hammerhead can be distinguished from other hammerheads through its head indentation. Hammerheads have special sensory cells that they use to detect the electric field given off by fish. Their widely spaced eyes may look odd but they come in handy when locating prey. These fascinating sharks use their heads to pin their victim such as stingrays to the bottom.
Other marine life
The waters around the Revillagigedo Islands are also home to five species of sea turtles, tuna, dolphins, tiger sharks, Silvertips, Galapagos sharks, and more.
We invite you to explore the beautiful Revillagigedo Islands with us next season. Get in touch with Baja Shark Experience to know more about our 2021 Socorro trip.