Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rocio del Mar: A New Liveaboard Dive Boat in Puerto Penasco

Diving enthusiasts will be happy to know that Puerto Penasco is home to a new liveaboard dive boat, giving affordable and easy access to the Sea of Cortes for scuba divers.

Conceived by husband and wife team Dora and Francisco (Lolo) Sandoval, the Rocio del Mar was custom built in Puerto Penasco from the ground up to be the only boat of her kind in the region. The 200-ton stiff steel vessel was specifically customized to cater to scuba diving. As the boat's Web site says, "Rocio del Mar has been adapted to fit divers’ needs, to be not only a boat but a kind of diving haven".

Francisco, a sea captain most of his adult life, has 18 years of diving experience. Dora has been diving for 8 years and has earned her Dive Masters and Instructors certification.

The Sandovals started building the Rocio del Mar in June 2006, put her in the water in November 2008 and held a "grand opening" charter party at Safe Harbor on February 10, 2009. Her official maiden voyage will occur May 2, 2009.

The Rocio can accommodate 22 overnight guests in ten staterooms, 8 on the lower deck and 2 on the second deck. All staterooms have private bathrooms with hot shower stalls, western style toilets, lavatories, and above height windows. Each cabin is carpeted and air conditioned. There are room length windows with privacy curtains and convenient gear and clothes storage drawers beneath the beds.

Smoking is allowed only on the top sun deck.

All meals and snacks are included in the price. American style breakfast consists of pancakes, waffles, muffins, toast, egg dishes, fresh fruit, juices, hot chocolate, coffee or tea - served to fuel your active morning. Lunch is typically sandwiches, burgers, fish tacos, vegetable, fruit, and pasta salads. The promenade deck bar opens at 5PM, serving frosty fruit concoctions or coffee and chocolate body warmers. Domestic beer, wine and tequilas are stocked, but note that alcoholic beverages are extra charge and drinking and diving is a no-no. At 7PM, dinner starts with fresh vegetable salads and homemade soups. Local fresh seafood dishes are chef’s specialty, paired with vegetable and pasta fusions of pork, chicken, or tofu. Desserts are made fresh daily.

The main dive focus is the midriff islands off Kino Bay between San Carlos and Puerto Penasco, though custom itineraries can be arranged. Regular departures for the week-long adventures will take place on Saturdays around 4:00PM, arriving in the Kino Bay area early Sunday morning. Guests will disembark back in Puerto Penasco the following Saturday morning after breakfast. You can click here to view schedules and prices.

The Rocio del Mar will be available for private functions when not scheduled for a scuba excursion and can easily accommodate fairly large groups. The crew can also prepare for special cuisine and dietary requests; special diving programs geared for mixed gas/tech or shark cage equipment; biological and oceanographic research; photographic safaris; whale shark and great whale encounters and more.

For more information visit or email