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The Boiler, also at San Benedicto Island, is near The Canyon, but it’s quite a different site. The long ocean swells inexorably beat against this remnant of an underwater volcano that rises to within 10 feet of the surface. The spray from the site can be seen from a great distance, which was noted by sailing ships long ago and is how the site got its name. The wave action here causes a consistent upwelling, which provides food for the Creole wrasses and whitetip reef sharks that are common at the site. Large Chinese trumpetfish and guineafowl puffers share the rock face with the clarion angelfish (Holacanthus clarionensis) that serve as cleanerfish for the immense giant mantas (Manta birostris). I found an octopus here as well (unsurprisingly, in retrospect), and there are lots of lobsters and other invertebrate and vertebrate life amid the striations carved in the rock face. But it is a dedicated macro shooter indeed who can turn a blind eye to the mantas when they arrive — staying focused on the life in the rock when there is so much of fascination in the blue water nearby is no small feat. - See more at: alertdiver.com/Socorro#sthash.Pe3L9t3o.dpuf

We found that remaining near The Boiler made for better manta encounters than chasing them into the blue. They tend to move ever seaward, and while a single diver may be rewarded by a direct approach, others will see only shapes in the distance. Disciplined and considerate divers let the mantas come to where they want to be: the giant rock that hosts the cleaner fish with which the rays live in symbiosis. Staying near The Boiler makes sense anyway, especially when a current is running, as the rock provides a welcome lee that precludes the need for a blue-water hang that would mean being swept ever farther from the mother ship.

Unlike manta interactions elsewhere, some of which are often quite turbid (because plankton attracts mantas), the water here is clear and blue. The mantas come near and seem to enjoy the divers and their bubbles. I thought this day on The Boiler was as good as it could get, but I was wrong. The best would come when we returned to the site later in the trip. - See more at: alertdiver.com/Socorro#sthash.Pe3L9t3o.dpuf

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