By Rob Galyon, Instructor at the Academy of Scuba
On July 17, the Academy of Scuba embarked on their monthly expedition to San Carlos, Mexico. San Carlos is a small diving and fishing village set on the east coast of the Sea of Cortez about 240 miles south of the Arizona border. Jacques Cousteau has called this area “the aquarium of the Pacific.” It is truly world class diving that is easily accessible from Phoenix.
As we pulled into the Playa Blanca Condominiums, the great views began and never ceased until we departed on Sunday. The condos are truly a 5-star experience and one of the many highlights of the trip.
Thursday afternoon began with a stroll down the beach to the Soggy Peso, a great little beach bar that offers excellent views of the setting sun over the Sea of Cortez. The Portuguese Man O’War that were washed up on the beach began the stretch of amazing creatures that we would see over the next 3 days. Thursday night included a nice dinner at Tequila’s in the marina, as well as a stop at the dock to see our boat for the next 2 days.
After a tasty breakfast at Rosa’s Cantina on Friday morning, we boarded our dive boat, the Piesquita. She is a 36’ Newton that outdistanced the other dive charters out to San Pedro Island. In addition to her swiftness, the boat is very clean and well taken care of. The crew, Sammy and Pajarito, are very professional and attentive to all passengers on board. We had the normal escort of dolphins to and from the island as they rode the boat’s wake for a good portion of the trip. Our dives at the island included stops at Lighthouse, Window Rock, and North Point. In addition to the ever present sea lions, we saw an abundance of great sea life during all three dives as visibility soared to 75 feet. Our dives were followed by a great snack at JJ’s new location closer to the marina and a nice group dinner later that evening at Los Arbolitos.
Saturday began much like Friday with a great breakfast at Rosa’s and then it was off to the island again for more great dives at Waterfall and Punta Almeja (clam point). In addition to the colorful variety of marine life, we had a great hour long experience with a very active group of 10-12 sea lions that allowed the photographers in the group to get some great photos and video clips. Our last surface interval was taken during the ride back and we made our last dive locally at San Antonio Point in search of the elusive seahorse. In addition to finding multiple seahorses, we also were able to see some skates cruising along the sandy bottom at the edge of the reef. Another pit stop at JJ’s followed for a quick snack and we finished off the night with dinner at Charly’s Rock overlooking the ocean.
As we crossed the border and re-entered the USA on Sunday morning, the group sadly said their goodbyes and vowed to return to San Carlos soon for more exceptional southwest diving!!