New Live-aboard flies its flag over the Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez, one of the most unique bodies of water on the planet, is the closest “salt water” for Scuba divers in Arizona. This amazing place has lured folks like John Steinbeck, Jacques Cousteau and millions of others for its romance, sea life and quaint ocean-side hamlets.
Legendary diver Jacques Cousteau described the Sea of Cortez as the “world’s aquarium” and the “Galapagos of North America”. Cousteau was referencing the plethora of sea life that travels up and down the Baja and Sonora coasts throughout the year. It is an amazing and impressive collection that could entertain even the most seasoned diver with new and exciting finds dive after dive.
Now there is a new species traveling up and down the coast of the Baja Peninsula and the Sonoran Coast. This species however is known as the “Liveaboard Dive Adventurer”. The Rocio del Mar is a new luxury liveaboard that, after three years of construction and ocean testing, launched this summer. After the first few moments on the boat, you will see that “no corners were cut”. This 110 foot luxury liveaboard screams attention to detail and demonstrates from the spacious dive deck that it was designed by a “diver”. The Rocio del Mar has 10 private cabins, each with its own full and private bathroom, and sleeps 23 guests.
Much like the accommodations, the menu is second to none. The Rocio del Mar serves up local Sonoran and Baja Mexican cuisine as well as some American fare for those who may get homesick. Whatever a passenger may desire, the galley staff is there to take care of its guests, all day long.
The Rocio del Mar has full week (7-day) and weekend (3 or 4 day) itineraries. These itineraries are available out of Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) and Kino Bay. Rocky Point is a quick 3 1/2 hour drive from Phoenix. Kino Bay (about 1 hour west of Hermosillo) is about an 8 hour drive from Phoenix. Once on board, the objective is to take you to some of the most incredible and infrequently visited dive spots.
For the week long itinerary, the Rocio Del Mar departs each Saturday afternoon from Puerto Penasco. The week-long trips offer a unique itinerary that begins at the Midriff Islands and continues to many remote sites where divers can encounter a wide range of marine life including whales, manta rays, whale sharks and more than 800 different species (depending on the time of year).
During the summer of 2009, Ned and Anna Deloach of New World Publications ventured to the Midriff Islands on the Rocio del Mar. During the Deloach’s week long expedition, they took over 4000 awe-inspiring pictures. While they spent much of their time visiting with the unparallel quantity of fish species, Anna Deloach noted, one of her most favorite times on board the Rocio del Mar was “watching the whales swimming alongside the boat”.
Cruising along the cactus lined coasts of Baja and Sonora, the Rocio del Mar is taking divers to the remote Midriff Islands and other isolated dive spots in the Sea of Cortez. In the footsteps of Cousteau and Steinbeck, Scuba divers are Giant Striding into the world’s aquarium; living the adventure and realizing the dream!
Dive safe and have fun!
John C. Flanders, Jr., a seasoned and well traveled diver for over 20 years, is a recognized leader in both the dive and business communities. Mr. Flanders is an SDI/TDI Instructor Trainer, NAUI Instructor Trainer and a PADI Master Instructor. Mr. Flanders is a SeaSigns Instructor Examiner and the Director of International Training. Mr. Flanders is also trains divers in over 50 different specialties, technical diving and public safety diving. As an Instructor Trainer for both Emergency First Response and Divers Alert Network Courses, he assists in training instructors to teach these valuable safety courses. John has published numerous articles and manuals for the dive industry and is a frequent contributor to Diverwire, an industry leading portal for Scuba Divers and Examiner.com. In over 20 years of diving John has explored almost every ocean and/or sea in the world off the coasts of 6 continents.
For more information about the author and where he teaches, please go to the Academy of Scuba.