San Carlos Scuba Diving

News and Views

2008 San Carlos Fishing Tournament Schedule

San Carlos Yacht Club & Rescate Yellowtail Tournament
February 15th – February 17th 2008
Entry Fee: $50.00 Per Angler
Registration at the San Carlos Yacht Club on Friday February 15th between 3:00pm – 5:30pm. Late Entries 5:30pm – 7:00pm at the Marina Cantina.
For More Information Contact Dick Newlon at

Yellowtail Open Free Dive Spear fishing Tournament
March 17th 2008
Entry Fee: $45.00 per Spearfisherman
Registration at specified sponsors visit for complete registration information and tournament details.
Desert Diver and Ocean Sports are participating sponsors

L.I.F.T. 2008 Ladies International Fishing Tournament
May 23rd – May 25th 2008
Entry Fee: $50.00 Per Angler
Registration at Club Deportivo De San Carlos On Friday May 23rd between 5:00pm-7:00pm.
For More Information Contact Dolores Ruppel at

San Carlos Yacht Club Tournament
June 6th – June 9th 2008
Entry Fee: $50.00 Per Angler
Registration at the San Carlos Yacht Club on Friday June 6th between 3:00pm – 5:30pm. Late Entries 5:30pm – 7:00pm at the Marina Cantina.
For More Information Contact Dick Newlon at

60th International Billfish Tournament
July 20th – July 22nd 2008
Entry Fee: $100.00 Per Angler
Registration at Marina San Carlos On Friday July 20th between 5:00pm-9:00pm.
For More Information Contact Claudia Ciare at

Labor Day Tournament
August 30th – September 1st 2008
Entry Fee: $50.00 Per Angler
Registration at Marina Cantina On Friday August 30th between 5:00pm-8:00pm.
For More Information Contact Bill Hammer at

Cantina Cup International Tournament
October 10th – 12th 2008
Entry Fee: $80.00 Per Angler & $1,000.00 Jackpot Entry Per Team
Registration at Marina San Carlos On Friday October 10th 5:00pm-8:00pm.
For More Information Contact Matt Blair at

I am always impressed at the remarkable level of camouflage that can be exhibited by marine organisms. These photos show a few of the masters. These were photographed during a recent dive at Isla San Pedro Nolasco, near San Carlos.

This first image is of a snail that proved incredibly elusive for me. I looked for this beautiful parasite on and off for over a year! It wasn’t until I brought along a flashlight that I was able to see it against the backdrop of its coral home/prey.

The snail is Epitonium billeeanum, a relative of whelks. It spends its entire life living among colonies of the sun coral, Tubastraea coccinea, where it passes its days slowly consuming the colonies and laying copious masses of eggs (the yellow clump over the snail). These in turn will hatch on a ready-made feast for these tiny snails.

Relying on exquisite camouflage and a nice array of venomous dorsal spines, the stone scorpionfish, Scorpaena mystes is reluctant to move when divers approach.

I’ve been stung three times by these fish – once during an underwater rescue when I placed my hand on a fish to get some leverage – thinking it was a rock. The other 2 envenomations occurred while handling these fish in my lab. Their toxin is very good at lowering blood pressure. In my case they were a little too good. The third sting required a long series of injections to keep my heart rate up.

Silhouetted against the water, scorpionfish are easy to see, but against the backdrop of the seafloor, it’s easy to see how they might be mistaken for a rock.

The winter water has begun to find its way into the San Carlos region. So with water temperatures dropping below 70 degrees, the question for warm water sissies like myself becomes “is it worth it”? Sure, California divers may scoff at such a question. 65-68 is downright balmy along the Pacific coast, but you need to realize, I wear a 5 mil just to teach scuba in the pool… a pool that is heated to 82 degrees all year long. While I may shudder at the thought of that first dip under, when the water creeps down the spine of my wetsuit, there is no doubt as to whether it is worth it. Despite my reluctance to even look at cold water, much less submerge; the winter diving in San Carlos is simply amazing. In this case, my inner marine biologist manages to beat up my inner water wimp. Of course wearing a dry suit has helped sway that battle a tad.

There are many reasons to go diving in the Sea of Cortez during the winter; increased species diversity, no packed boats, and pleasant air temperatures. But one of the big reasons to go has already shown up…Orcas! The Sea of Cortez is home to several resident pods of these beautiful creatures, and during the winter months they may be sighted cruising the shores of the central and northern Gulf. Divers in San Carlos have already been able too witness pods of these cetaceans at the surface, exhibiting their characteristic playful behaviors.

Orcas aren’t the only cetaceans whose abundance goes up in winter. These cooler months are prime season for viewing fin whales, grey whales, sperm whales, and even humpbacks and the largest mammals in the world arrive, blue whales. That is to say nothing of the superpods of dolphins that may aggregate in the wintertime.

The cool water brings with it the nutrients necessary to fuel the Sea of Cortez for another year. As the nutrients feed planktonic organisms, these in turn are devoured by larger species that follow this microscopic smorgasbord. Crustaceans are tasty staples for everything from migrating whales to diminutive Catalina goodies, a spectacularly colored fish seen only in cool water. Everywhere the reefs come alive with life as the winter bounty is consumed to make for a successful spring breeding season. Winter is truly the time to see the Sea of Cortez at its most vibrant.

During a recent excursion west of Isla San Pedro Nolasco, we encountered several pods of sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus, resting at the surface between dives. Being a prime breeding ground for Humbolt “jumbo” squid, Dosidicus gigas,the Sea of Cortez is also a top site for finding their toothy predators, sperm whales. A recent study of predator-prey relationships between sperm whales and jumbo squid, researchers found the whales were making regular dives to depths of 600-1300 feet during the day, and 600 feet during the night. We were able to get photos of over 15 of these whales in 4 pods during a one-hour period

Finishing grad school and launching a business hasn’t left too much time for writing, but I’ll try to get caught up with my recent travels at least by sharing some pics! More to come as I resize…

Our first dives were on the west side of Isla San Pedro Nolasco at a site called la ventana

Numerous lizard triplefins were perched in the sargassum

A happy family of newly certified divers!