With stunning mountainous desert landscapes topside and fascinating rocky reefs and pinnacles underwater, the northern Sea of Cortez is a favorite destination for REEF surveyors. The unique marine life, including nudibranchs, rays, eels, octopuses, blennies, jawfish, and even sea lions, make it easy to understand why Jacques Costeau nicknamed this region, "the world's aquarium." In addition to numerous fish and invertebrate families, attendees may also see pilot and sperm whales while in transit and have the opportunity to snorkel with whale sharks. The plankton-rich currents of the Pacific along the coast of California and Mexico, along with the sheltered waters of the Sea of Cortez, also create a great opportunity to encounter manta and mobula rays. The Rocio del Mar is a family-owned liveaboard, and a longtime partner of REEF. The boat is a spacious 110-foot vessel with an excellent crew. Sign up today because this trip tends to be popular and fills up quickly!
Trip Type: Fish Survey - click here to learn more!
Pricing: $2,695 per person based on double occupancy.
Accommodations: The Rocio del Mar sleeps 20 passengers. There are 10 air-conditioned cabins onboard, which sleep two people each. Six cabins have two twin bunks, two cabins have a full bed and twin bunk, and two cabins have a double bed. Each cabin has drawers for storage, as well as space under the bottom bunks and clothing/towel hooks. Each cabin also has a private bathroom with shower.
Diving: The Rocio del Mar offers scheduled 4-5 dives per day. The Sea of Cortez is a dynamic body of water and this charter covers such a span of islands that the water temperature can vary significantly from day to day. Average surface water temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A 3-5mm wetsuit is recommended. All divers are required to have a dive computer, safety sausage (SMB) and a whistle. All diving is done from two inflatable zodiacs. 80 cubic foot tanks, weights and weight belts are included in the cost of the charter. Nitrox is available by request for $120 per person. Proof of dive certification and dive insurance is required for diving.
Price Includes: This trip includes seven nights of double occupancy accommodation in a cabin onboard the Rocio del Mar, 4-5 dives daily, 3 daily meals plus snacks, all hot and cold drinks including local beer and wine, taxes and port fees, tanks and weights.
REEF Program Fee: A REEF Program Fee of $300 per diver will be added to each package to cover the cost of the group leader, seminar and REEF survey materials.
Additional Fees: The following costs are not included in the price paid to REEF. All flights, national park fee of $28 per person, hyperbaric chamber fee of $15 per person, shuttle fee to and from airport for $125 per person roundtrip, gratuities, and insurance. Gratuities are at each individual's discretion. Insurance is not included, however REEF strongly recommends that each participant purchase adequate dive travel insurance to protect you from unforeseen circumstances. More information about dive travel insurance is available here. Optional Nitrox available by request for $120 per person.
About the Trip Leader: Amy Lee is REEF's Trips Program and Communications Manager. She organizes annual citizen science trips to REEF's survey regions worldwide and is also involved with various development and communications projects for the organization. She a member of REEF's Advanced Assessment Team and an expert level surveyor in the Tropical Western Atlantic region, and has conducted REEF surveys in the Central Indo-Pacific, Tropical Eastern Pacific, and Northeast US and Canada.
How to Sign Up: To reserve your space on this trip or find out more, e-mail us at trips@REEF.org, or call us at 305-588-5869. If booking greater than 180 days prior to trip departure, a $500 deposit will be collected at the time of booking. If booking within 180 days of departure, the deposit and any other corresponding payments will be due at the time of booking. Visit our Trip Policies page for more information on deposit and payment schedules.
How to Get There: The Rocio del Mar is located at the Marina Fonatur in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. Marina Fonatur is approximately a 4-hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) is the most convenient and closest airport to fly into to reach the port. If flying to Phoenix, participants should plan to arrive at the airport no later than 11am on July 13 so that you can take the shuttle (details below.) At the end of the charter, the boat will return to the marina and participants should be ready to depart by 7am. Departure flights out of Phoenix should be booked no earlier than 3pm on July 20. All participants are responsible for booking their own airfare. REEF is not able to book air travel for participants.
Transfers: Rocio del Mar coordinates transportation services to and from Phoenix and Marina Fonatur through Head Out to Rocky Point. This shuttle service has 15 passenger vans that haul trailers for dive gear. The cost for the shuttle is $125 per person round trip, payable directly to Head Out to Rocky Point. Payment will be made either in person on the arrival day, or prior to the trip (about two weeks in advance.) If you require this service, please let REEF know and also indicate this on your Rocio del Mar passenger forms, which you will be prompted to complete a few months before the trip.