Diving the Revillagigedos: San Benedicto

San Benedicto, diving, travel

I have to say it: San Benedicto is my favorite island in the Revillagigedo. Why is that? Well, for one thing, the island is just so beautiful! The vertical ridges are lava flows turned into stone! It feels like going back in time.

Another reason is because it has my all-time favorite dive site: El Boiler. El Boiler is known for its magnificent marine life. Dolphins, sharks, and manta rays are usually present, and El Boiler is a fantastic place to play with the animals! These islands are unique, nowhere else can one play with Mantas. Not that I know of, anyway.

San Benedicto, diving, mantas

The Mantas in the Revillagigedo Islands are all Giant Mantas, or Manta Birostris. Their wing spans can grow up to 22 ft or more!

San Benedicto, diving, mantas

The Mantas at El Boiler love bubbles on their tummies!

San Benedicto, diving, mantas

Bubbles! I am swimming directly under the manta, and my air bubbles dance across her tummy.

16 b manta eye

Looking into the eye of a Manta is almost a spiritual experience…there is a communion between diver and manta which resonates in your marrow. When you look them in the eye, you realize that a creature with intelligence is looking back.

Dolphins! Photo by Bob Kaltreider

Dolphins! Photo by Bob Kaltreider

San Benedicto, diving, mantas

A juvenile male whale shark was quite a surprise!

San Benedicto, diving, mantas

Whale Shark from below.

Seeing a whale shark was very surprising, a true delight. It is not the season for them, but this young male showed up anyway. I am hoping I have the first ID shot of him so I can name him. The ID on a Whale Shark is directly behind the gills, as shown below. Each Whale Shark has a unique pattern, like a fingerprint. Manta Rays are identified by the markings on their tummies, each Manta has a unique pattern and can be loaded into www.mantamatcher.com.

San Benedicto, diving, mantas

Whale Shark ID photo. ID photos are put into the database at www.whaleshark.org. Each sighting gives us more information on Whale Sharks and their behaviors.

san benedicto, diving, travels with tam

Manta Female ID shot. She is truly one of a kind!

San Benedicto, diving, mantas

A tag on a manta ray. The tags give so much information on their behavior, depth, migration! There is so much we don’t know. Many answers will come from these tags.

diving, travels with tam

Shoal of Creolefish close to the boat

travels with tam, san benedicto

Amberjack and Creole

travels with tam, san benedicto

When coming up from a dive, we found ourselves in a huge shoal of creolefish. There were fish everywhere, even under the boat. The anchor line sat in the middle of this huge aggregate, and almost every diver was mesmerized by the sight. Sharks began to circle, Amberjacks and Tuna swam through the shoal. It was such an amazing sight, I find it difficult to find the words to describe it. We were all filled with wonder.

We wre mesmerized by the thousands of fish, and the sharks circling.

We wre mesmerized by the thousands of fish, and the sharks circling.

travels with tam, san benedicto

A lousy photo, but this is a Silkie shark in the shoal

San Benedicto, diving

Another view of San Benedicto

I will do another post on San Benedicto. There is another dive site there that is astonishing called El Canon. There is so much to share with you!



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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life! Contact me at travelswithtam@gmail.com

Comments (30)

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  1. The photos are gorgeous and peaceful, but also a little on the scary side, at least to me. I love seeing them, though.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Poems and prayers and promisesMy Profile

    • Tam Warner says:

      Mantas are SOOOO gentle. So are whale sharks. As for the other sharks they won’t come close enough for a good photo! Glad you like them. Remember, fish are friends!

  2. Ellen Dolgen says:

    WOW…. I felt like I was right there with those gorgeous creatures! Thanks for sharing these magnificent photos.

  3. Doug West says:

    Beatiful pix Tam. The Amberjack and Creole shot looks like it should be in Nat Geo.

  4. Nancy Murphy says:

    The Mantas are massive–and graceful

  5. OMG. Gorgeous…. but… My breathing became fast and shallow just thinking about diving with sharks. Tam you are one adventurous lady! You have my admiration.
    Nancy Hill (@nerthus) recently posted…Mrs. SnellbackMy Profile

    • Tam Warner says:

      Thanks, but really, divers do it every day. People have this vision: there is the ocean. It is full of sharks who are just waiting for a tasty human to eat. No, not true. They won’t even come close enough for a really good photo, darn it! You cannot blame them…humans kill 75 to 100 million sharks a year.

  6. Every time I look at your photos, I understand why my son loves to dive. What an amazing world under that water!
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted…why #imwithher – and elton john and katy perry are, too! by jami kellyMy Profile

  7. Carolann says:

    Did you ever consider publishing a book with all of your amazing photos? I think you should. They are incredible! I can look at them over and over again! Thanks so much for always sharing such spectacular beauty with us.

  8. I had never heard of the Revillagigedos Islands but now you have put this destination on my radar! I would LOVE to scuba dive here! I have always wanted to see manta rays and so far have not. The other life here is amazing, too. Envious!!
    Debbra Dunning Brouillette recently posted…Bird-lovers flock to Sanibel’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife RefugeMy Profile

  9. Hey Tam! WOW! Great photos and a place that I’ve never even heard o before. Is there anything else to do there besides dive? I’m always on the lookout for new places to visit. ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted…3 Reasons Why Arguments Can Better Your RelationshipsMy Profile

    • Tam Warner says:

      No, they are volcanic islands and uninhabited except for the small navy presence. Many divers have not heard of them! It is a very exciting place to dive!

  10. Elnora Cameron says:

    I love diving in far flung places through you!

  11. Carol Colborn says:

    Wow, those are awesome shots, of the island-rock, the giant mantas and the other fish! You had quite an experience! Kudos!

  12. Amazing photos! And how wondrous to dive with giant mantas! (And to have a whale shark show up as an added bonus? You hit the jackpot!) We’ve snorkeled with manta rays at night off the Big Island of Hawaii – that was a very magical experience. We had previously tried to dive with them at the same spot, where you sit on the bottom shining your flashlight up and wait for the mantas to swim around above you. But we happened to pick the one day in the year the mantas decided not to show up, and so there was no manta diving for us that night! A little disappointing…

  13. Denis Gagnon says:

    After looking at and admiring your photos, I could not help but wonder: how old are you? I had been thinking that I was very fit for a boomer, but there is no way that I could follow in your footsteps and go scuba diving in those exotic locations. I suspect that you are a lot younger than 50! 🙂 Bravo!

    • Tam Warner says:

      Ha! You crack me up! I am in my mid-fifties, with a very bad back (4 titanium rods and 8 pedicle screws in the lumbar and sacrum), and psoriatic arthritis. If I can do it, so can you! It can be tough, but where there is a will….

  14. Those are some amazing photos! I did my first dive last year in Fiji and am pondering doing more of it. This looks like a good location for when I get a little more experience. I’ve been snorkeling with whale sharks twice and loved it!

    • Tam Warner says:

      Definitely need some solid experience with currents and such before taking a trip like this. You should dive Cozumel! Beautiful, lots of drift diving (current diving, but you aren’t usually fighting the current). You dive and drift, ascend, and there’s the boat! Easy peasy. I love diving…I could do it every single day and never tire of it.

  15. John Klei says:

    Hey Tam,

    It’s John, your team Nacho dive partner. I enjoyed reading your blog…..brings back great memories…..I can’t wait to do this trip again sometime on the SolmarV! I send your flash drive to Ronnie. Thanks
    (Any other trips planned yet?)

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