Giant mantas and dolphins of Socorro Island

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Map of Socorro, Roca Partida, San Benedicto and Cabo San Lucas Mexico


The Nautilus Explorer voyages out to Socorro Island to dive and interact with the friendliest giant mantas in the world. This is by no means a trivial goal. Our highly experienced crew have spent many years diving these waters which gives you the edge needed for a truly spectacular experience. These are true giant mantas, Manta birostris (aka manta ray), and should not be confused with the regular and smaller Mobula species, which can be seen far more often and practically everywhere. The giant Pacific mantas which you will meet at Socorro are the largest of the rays and we believe they are the most majestic creatures in the ocean. They swim by moving their wing-like pectoral fins, which can grow up to 7 meters wide, but usually average about 5 – 6 meters. At Socorro, these giants choose to interact with divers! They come in very close – less than 1 meter! – make eye contact with you and then swim along beside you – totally on their terms. What is even more extraordinary is that the local population of bottlenose dolphins have learned to mimic the behaviour of the giant mantas. It is very likely that these wild dolphins will also move in close and intimate to divers during your trip.

Shark sightings are also very good at Socorro Island with common sightings of silky, galapagos, hammerhead, white tip and silver tip sharks. Whale sharks are usually spotted at the beginning of and the latter part of our season. A population of 1200 humpbacks moves into the island’s waters in January and chances are excellent that you will have encounters with these mighty giants. You may even hear them singing through the hull of the ship at night as you lie in your bunk. Schooling hammerhead sharks may be seen at any time but the best chance to see large schools up close is April – June..


Because we guarantee that you will have the chance of a lifetime for truly spectacular interaction with giant manta rays. Other dive boats visit these islands but only one of them has the experience necessary to get you up close and intimate with these animals.

Our crew and staff take great pride in our beautiful little ship. It was custom designed and built specifically for this kind of work and we keep it in tip top shape. No other ship in this part of the world boasts SOLAS certification (your guarantee of safety at sea), stabilization for an easier ride in open ocean, a mixed crew of men and women with decades of combined experience or all the little touches like a sparkling clear hot-tub, wide selection of micro-brew beer, fine wine, contemporary menu, etc.


Trips board at the main API dock in Cabo San Lucas harbour at either 8:00 a.m. or 8:00 p.m. and depart shortly afterward. This is the same dock that the cruise ship tenders come and go from. After a one-day ocean crossing we arrive at our first dive site. There are 6 dive days on an 8-night trip and we will be visiting 3 different islands of this beautiful remote and deserted archipelago. We will pack up after the last full dive day and a relaxing dinner anchored in a protected cove for the one day voyage home, arriving in Cabo San Lucas the next evening. You spend one more night on the boat before you disembark the next morning at 8:30 a.m. Average trip length is 8 nights, 9 days. We also offer 10- and 12-night combo trips that combine diving at Socorro with the best of the Sea of Cortez, 15-night combo trips combining Socorro with Clipperton Island, and 15-night combo trips with the great white sharks of Guadalupe Island. During the regular trip you can expect 22 dives plus a thrilling night snorkel with silky sharks hunting under the ship’s deck lights (unless it is a full moon – the silkies don’t like to cooperate when it is a full moon).