Jack PackIn the late afternoon, massive schools of fish, like these jacks, begin swarming El Canyon.
Blog Entry #5
April 27, 2011: Return to El Canyon
The tribe was right in wanting to come back to El Canyon. While we had good dives at Cabo Pierce, the diving here was what we’d read about: full of sharks, dolphins and rays.
The live-aboard Sea Escape (Club Cantamar) was already tied up to the ridge when we arrived, so we accelerated our pre-dive routine and jumped in around 7:40 am. A silky shark was swimming around the anchor line, and as much as I wanted to stay and watch this beautiful fish (which I hadn’t seen prior to this trip), I followed Belinda down the ridge to 100 feet. We were escorted by a handful of dolphins and a manta. One of the dolphins was especially frisky, swimming at full speed after a single jack. I don’t think he was feeding — there’s food much slower and less agile than a jack — but playing a form of “tag.”
We arranged ourselves at the little amphitheater at 85 feet and watched as the dolphins competed with the hammerheads, which competed with the manta for our attention. For almost 30 minutes we stayed there and took it all in. Small groups of hammers swimming in from the blue, circling out into the dark and then back in again. The manta circled the group, making eye contact with each diver. And the dolphin kept playing tag. Of course, that's not even mentioning the huge schools of tuna that swam overhead, the clouds of jacks so thick it was difficult at times to see the shark action, the free-swimming morays and lobsters out of their hidey holes, so comfortable were they that nobody was going to snatch them up.
Dives two and three were equally good minus the dolphins, which were around (we could hear their clicking) but obviously entertaining themselves with some other diversion. The mantas, too, were less playful than on other dives. They would come in for several passes before moving off; we saw them on the surface all day, and Richard (art gallery owner from London) and I snorkeled with one, following it all the way to shore.
Dive four, our last of the trip, was fittingly one of the best. The two groups split up into “Manta Rock” and “Hammers.” Some wanted a slow, easy dive in one area (Manta Rock), while others wanted to get some last hammer action. The hammers were deeper (80-100 feet), and it was the last dive of the day of a long trip of deep dives, but with conditions as good as they were, nobody wanted to pass up the opportunity to see the sharks. And we could always finish the dive off after a short swim to Manta Rock.
All trip long, the fourth dive of the day has typically been spectacular, and this time was no different. The hammers were there, and with a smaller group they came closer and stayed longer. A tiger shark swam past the shallower divers (hunkered down behind the ridge at 75 feet), but the deeper divers (at 85) got the closer encounters with the hammers. The dying light brought out all the schools of fish, including triggers and jacks and the massive giant trevally. On the swim to Manta Rock, a manta came to visit, and it made two circles before swimming off. (We would see it on the surface for the duration of the end-of-trip cocktail party later this evening.) No mantas at Manta Rock, but by now, nobody cared. To amuse myself, I took off my fins and did a “base jump” off the top of the rock, going into a skydiving pose halfway down. I breathed my tank down to 300 psi, and finally came up.
The boat’s started motoring north already, and the gentle rocking has a soporific effect.Tomorrow will be spent cleaning gear, packing, reading and trying not to think too much about the diving we're leaving behind.
To read the other blog entries from this trip, click on the Related Articles below.