Baja California?? nah, Baja Arizona (trip report)

Great Dive Trips at Bargain Prices with the Sea Divers

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Posted by Jeff in landlocked #)@(%? Arizona on May 08, 2005 at 20:17:00:

Puerto Peņasco (Rocky Point) Scuba Diving

Puerto Peņasco, Sonora, Mexico (Rocky Point)

April '05 Dive Trip

My nitrogen level was dropping to a serious low, so, naturally, my one and only thought was of fixing that problem. Since

our last trip was down south of the border, it was easy to think in that same direction. Puerto Peņasco, or "Rocky Point" as

it is known to us gringos, is only about 4 hours drive from Phoenix - not a bad trip for a quick weekend getaway. And, it

was time to get my daughter back in the water: this would be her first dive trip out since her recent certification.

Randy Sims, Mr. Sea U Divin, had one of his frequent class trips, an open water cert

group, lined up for Rocky Point, so we decided to tag along. I put out the "all alert" signal on the "Scubafans" email list,

and several interested parties began replying almost immediately; looked like this was definitely gonna be a group


The time to go finally arrived - all told, there were myself & my daughter, a family of four, another family (of ?five?), a

mom & two girls, & a guy from Phoenix (all on the "Scubafans" email list), as well as ?14 in Randy's o.w. cert class, and

maybe ? 20 from the NAU dive class. Even Chuck from Flagstaff was there! "A Whole

Bunch o' Divers!"

I drove to Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, (most of the rest of our crowd wasn't leaving for RP until the next day) picked up

Lanny, & he & I made for the border. We crossed without even stopping! the guard just waved us on through. Arrived at Playa

Miramar (RV park/campground) about 10:30 that night, set up the tent, visited with the folks that had arrived earlier, &

about "0-dark:thirty" hit the hay.

Let's Dive !!!

We woke up sometime around 7 am, daylight had already been burnin' for awhile, but there was no breakfast burrito lady to be

seen! Had we slept thru her calls? (in the past, a "viejita" comes strolling thru the campground in the early hours, selling

the most delicious breakfast burros). Well, there was no other choice; we had to GEAR UP & GO BLOW SOME BUBBLES ;-)


;           . . . . so . . . .


;                    &nbs

p;                    &nb

sp;     we did!!


(see the water-color-changes? the lighter blue/green is where the sand is....)

If you know this area, you'll recall the old concrete boat ramp right on the beach below the campground. We hauled our gear

down to the gentle surf, & in we went. One of the dive instructors had already hauled out a dive flag; we made our plan to

go a little beyond that, & then head west, paralleling the beach. As this entire area is pretty shallow, it would require us

to go a long ways out, but still we wouldn't get much depth. Well, that's ok, cause there's some cool reef around


But We Couldn't Find It!!

We just cruised along a sandy bottom with not much to see (well, at least on the outbound; the return was a different


Just about the time we decided to turn around & head back, we were joined by a very smiley, happy female sealion! (would that

be a 'sealioness?') WAY COOL!!

She must have hung out with us for at least 5 minutes! You know how they are - zooming in-n-out, circling us, just sort

of playing along.... very glad to have a little company. WE were sure glad - what a nice first dive of the trip!

Just about the time she decided she'd had enough, we got into the reef. Seems as though we'd gone just beyond the dive flag,

which was a little beyond this reef (I think the students like to have the sandy bottom to do their skills, as it's just a

little deeper out there).

The reef was fantastic! Going from sand & more sand onto the small rock outcroppings covered w/ life is an amazing contrast;

we actually found a brittle star in the sand, & saw one stingray, but not much else there. Now, in the reef, we both really

slowed down (more than we already were) & just tried to take it all in. Wonderful Sights!! Lots of parrot fish &
"sergeant majors", all kinds of sealife (zooanthids are one

type I can name), several different colorful nudibranchs, too.

My computer said I was in the water at 09:17, 70F temp, max depth of 17fsw for 35 minutes.

A little later in the day, we decided to go for it again; same place, but this time, the plan was to stay in close, so as to

be able to hang out with the marine life in the rocks. It's amazing how you can just pick out a small area & "watch stuff"

for a long time. Computer this time said 17fsw for 50 minutes.

Best part of this dive was at the end, when we crawled out, there was my daughter & the folks she'd ridden down with!

They made it!

(I was told later that "your daughter seemed a little worried" (she had arrived right after we'd gone in) - "she sat

there for quite awhile, & watched one group of divers go in, & come out; then watched another group go in & come back out; &

still, NO DAD!")

Having no clue as to when they might arrive, Lanny & I just blew as many bubbles as we could; Way Too Much To See


Later on in the evening, yet another group showed up; Julia & her daughter & her friend arrived. We scoped out the situation

for a night dive, but it didn't look as potentially satisfying as it should have. That is, the surf was up pretty good

tonight, & as it would have been my daughter's very first night dive, I didn't want to risk having anything go wrong (both

entry & exit could be less than easy!). I think the better part of valor is to skip the dive if there's a question about

safety, & reaize that there will always be another time.

Bird Island

Several folks who early-on wanted to go mentioned a boat ride out to Bird Island - some had done this before, others had just

heard about it. Seems there are a couple ways to go about getting hooked up for this trip - you can either book directly

with Lobo del Mar, or you can reserve through the dive shop just down the street,

that is Patty's shop, Sun n Fun Dive (where you can also get all the gear you

might ever need, as well as tank fills). Anyhow, after lots of back-n-forth emails, we made reservations on the boat; we had

7 of us signed up for the am trip, & 4 of us for the afternoon ride!

The boat suggested to us was the "Lil Steamer"(this is the picture from the Sun n Fun Dive shop website)

& it is a very nice ride! It's set up for not more than 8 divers, but I believe they can handle more people, if the

trip is sight-seeing &/or snorkeling.

The boat launch site is about 20 miles from town, & you need to plan for this to be there on time. Boarding was scheduled

for 7:30, & departure was to be at 8:00am (depending on tide level). We were a 1/2 hour early (& that made the crew very

happy!), so, we boarded & got out of the bay by 7:20! It's about 16 miles, & a 30 minute ride to Bird Island; nice to be on

a fast boat!

Lars & Rupert were two of the owners/operators of this boat (I understand it's a large family who operates this business) &

they were our crew this morning. We arrived at "the cave" for our first dive, after a nice ride out. My computer showed the

following: in the drink at 07:52, max depth was 43fsw for 38 minutes, temp was a pleasant 68F, & vis was approaching 40

feet! Lars led this first dive, & he made sure we were all dialed in to proper buoyancy before leading us on "the tour."

The sealions were happy to have us there with them!

Lars found some "trash" here, so coiled it up for the return trip, but someone had to come check it out....

There was LOTS TO SEE here... For some really cool underwater pictures, take a jump over to
Lanny's site & click on the Rocky Point link.

Dive Two was at "grouper alley." It was as much fun as the first, with one notable exception - I got to see my very first

ever octopus!
Rupert (who I hear is known for having "the eye" for where to find them) got one to come out of his

hidey-hole, & we all got to get a good look, even tho' he tried to ink us :)

Rupert said this one was

a "small" one; they usually find 'em quite a bit bigger than this...

OK, my computer said for dive 2: in at 09:12, max depth of 38fsw for 48 minutes, temp was 69F.

A note here regarding weighting; I've gotten myself pretty well tuned to diving with exactly 13 #, when wearing my 7mm

shorty, in salt water.

This morning, on the first dive when playing with buoyancy, since I'd also worn my 7mm farmer john, I "assumed" that an

additional 4# would do the trick, so I simply unzipped my shorty & slipped it inside - (I dive with a backplate setup w/ only

a tank weight-pouch, no belt). The extra 4 # worked well enough to let me stay down at 20fsw (after having done an endo to

get down!), but that was just that....

Fortunately, Lars brought me an additional 4# Otherwise, I'm sure at

dive-end, I would have really been struggling to stay down.... You must always think!

Well, we ended this dive at 10:00, & rode around the island (a short trip) to the place they call "bachelors' point."

All the bachelors were there!

What a mournful sound they made; jeez, they were so lonely!

I made one last dive while there at RP: Deb & Randy asked if we wanted to join 'em for a "new place," just down the beach a

short drive. I think they called it "sanddollar beach" & I found out why!

Another very shallow, but very pleasant place to dive.

Again, lots of stuff to see; Very Nice!

Well, we were almost done with this trip; just sort of hung out around the ol' campsite for the rest of the day - well, we

did go into Old Port & had some of those delicious quesadillas con guacamole; nothing like some "home cookin'" to fix you up

after the diving....

Jeez, gettin' old? Gettin' tired? We never did get a night dive done; what's up with that????

OK, there's an excuse to go do it again.... Like you ever need an excuse to dive!!!!

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