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Diving with… Rocio Del Mar and Quino El Guardian Liveaboards, Mexico

American DTA Team

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In this new ongoing series, we speak with the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer


What is your name?

Susan Long

What is the name of your business?

Rocio Del Mar Liveaboard and Quino El Guardian Liveaboard

What is your role within the business?

Sales & Marketing

How long has the business operated for?

Since 2008

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I have been in the diving industry for 22 years of which most was designing and manufacturing drysuits for divers all over the world. It is with great excitement that I can take this experience and focus on an entirely new area of diving – dive travel on liveaboards in the beautiful waters of Mexico with an incredible team of people at Rocio Del Mar & Quino El Guardian.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Any diving where I get to see critters! I especially love diving with sea lions and manta rays. I’ve been able to snorkel with whale sharks and sperm whales. I love seeing eels and octopus when they are as interested in me as I am in them. And nothing compares to being just one-of-the-guys when swimming inside a huge school of fish.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

It’s all about the crew. The moment you walk onto Rocio Del Mar and Quino El Guardian you are family. Not only do they take care of your needs, they make everything fun, light hearted and safe. From the first buenos diaz in the morning to the last buenos noches at night, it is nothing but smiles and helpfulness. The entire crew from the captain to the engineer, from the steward to the chef, from the divemasters to the panga drivers, are there to work together as a team. It’s all about the crew who make it all about YOU.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

In Socorro it would be diving with the manta rays and in the Sea of Cortez it would be diving with the sea lions. This past season the manta rays came so close and slow – they seemed to look me in the eyes. It made me catch my breath – it was absolutely magical and something I had never felt before. They made me feel special and unique; like they were checking me out!

In the Sea of Cortez it’s diving with the sea lions. It’s like diving with friendly black Labrador retrievers with their big, brown sweet eyes. Having one nibble on your fin is one of the greatest joys on earth!

This past summer I got to snorkel which Sperm Whales in the Sea of Cortez. Oh and did I mention dolphins – when they swim up to you and say hi? There is just so much in Socorro and the Sea of Cortez – and it’s so close for so many of us! Why fly to the other side of the planet? It’s all here and it’s all so amazing!

What types of diving are available in your location?

We have two liveaboards that offer 8, 10 and 13 day trips. We also have Citizen Science expeditions aboard Quino in which a scientist involves divers in their research such as shark and manta tagging, animal identification, DNA sampling, whale song recording, etc. They also do daily presentations on animal behaviour, migration, conservation and more. Liveaboards offer the best vacation I can think of – the excitement of diving with maximum relaxation. You just eat, sleep and dive…

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Being part of an amazing group of people who care about the divers/customers, take pride in the boat and the service they provide, and do their best every day to be their best. I get to help people have experiences and make memories that will last their lifetime.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

That is hard as there are so many that I love – but I have to say sea lions.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We are working diligently on developing a team of scientists for our Citizen Science program aboard Quino El Guardian. It takes diving to a whole new level. Divers are always looking for new adventures and this gives it to them along with a purpose. The more we know about the ocean and its inhabitants, the more we love them. And the more we love them, the more we will do everything within our power to preserve them. Citizen Science is diving with a purpose and Quino El Guardian is leading the way in this new adventure!

As a business, what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

With our newest boat, Quino El Guardian, we have 4 cabins with 4 bunks each and one cabin with 2 bunks. People who have travelled with us on Rocio Del Mar are used to a private cabin with their own bathroom so the fact that these are more relaxed accommodations can be a bit off-putting for some.

On Quino we have 4 full-sized bathrooms, each assigned to a cabin (typically assigned by gender). This way a guest is only sharing a bathroom with 3-4 other people at most so they can leave their personal items inside. It’s really much more convenient then people may initially think.

The best part about Quino is we take a maximum of 16 divers which is the perfect size because you really get to know everyone on board. It’s super easy to get around the boat – from the dive deck to the galley for food then hop up to the shaded sundeck for a quick nap. Wash, rinse, repeat…

Is your business involved in any environmental work?

As I mentioned earlier, we have our Citizen Science program on Quino El Guardian (Quino – named after the owners grandson plus THE GUARDIAN). This is a totally unique program that we offer. We have a scientist on board (they often bring one or two of their Ph.D students with them) and they give divers the opportunity to participate in their research. It could be on sharks, mantas, reef ecology, mobula rays, echinoderm diversity (sea stars and sea cucumbers), and more. Much of this work goes into the preparation of documents and papers which in turn goes to governmental agencies to help increase the protection for these remote and pristine areas.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

Our industry is aging. We need to find more ways to engage younger generations. That is why Quino’s Citizen Science program is so important. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves and to do something that can have a positive impact on our planet.

I would make our industry as welcoming as possible, i.e. opening up the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association annual trade show to the public. It is a wonderful show and divers love to see and touch things. This would be a great way to welcome ALL DIVERS into one big family.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

Rocio Del Mar and Quino El Guardian offer divers wonderful adventures from the pelagic animals of the Socorro Islands to the remoteness of the Sea of Cortez. The Sea of Cortez is so easy to get to as guests typically fly in and out of the Phoenix, AZ airport. There is a 3.5 hour shuttle that takes you right to the boat. The next morning you wake up at an island that is so remote you will truly feel as if you have gotten away from it all. You may see one or two other boats the entire week and the sky will be so lit with stars you will be able to see the Milky Way and passing satellites. Why spend two days to get somewhere when you can spend that time diving. Come with us to the Sea of Cortez and our Explore Baja expeditions. You will love them!

To find out more about Rocio Del Mar and Quino El Guardian Liveaboards please visit www.RocioDelMarLiveaboard.com and www.QuinoElGuardian.com and see their Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/RocioDelMarLiveaboard and www.facebook.com/QuinoElGuardian.

Susan is always happy to answer your questions. Get in touch directly with her at SLong@RocioDelMarLiveaboard.com.

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Diving with…  Pablo Calderon Cadiz, Takata Experience, Mahaual, Mexico

CJ and Mike

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Pablo Calderon Cadiz

What is the name of your business?

Takata Experience

What is your role within the business?

Owner / General Manager

How long has the business operated for?

6 years

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I have been diving for 16 years; I am a PADI IDC Staff Instructor

What is your favorite type of diving?

I really enjoy all types of dive but deep dives and dives with crazy topography are by far my favourites.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We are a dive center and also a research center, so we merge both into one big idea.  When you dive with us you also benefit the reef, as we put part of that money into our restoration program. We are also one of the only dive centers in the world that has a full research center working together with us. That’s why our official hashtag is #Divewithpurpose

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

My favorite dive in Mahahual is Piratas, because of the beautiful topography and the amount of big animals you can see, such as turtles, manatees and sharks.

What types of diving are available in your location?

One of the best things about Mahahual is that there are dive sites for all levels, from shallow reefs with beautiful life to walls that can go down to 150 meters within 5 minutes from the shore. You can always choose what you want, if you are looking for biodiversity, topography, shallow sand patches or very deep walls, we have them all.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

The diving industry is an industry that is constantly evolving and from my role I am able to always bring that to Takata.  I am always looking for ways to create a solid business culture, to make sure the people that work for us can always develop themselves from a professional perspective, but also from a personal one. We have created many different programs that are unique to us, where we merge the dive and research center. All that is possible because I can take those decisions. To see how your dream becomes true is the biggest reward ever.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Sharks are my number 1, and if I can be more specific, Hammerheads!!!

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

I feel that many dive centers in the world don’t  know yet what makes them unique, so the way for them to attract people is to charge very low prices, sometimes that is very difficult, because the one that is next to you can charge 30% less than you for the ¨same service¨. I believe we should always find what is unique to us and to create a value on it. We should all focus on the professionalization of our industry.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

As I mentioned before, we have a full research center, our director has 2 master degrees and our 2 biologist both have PhDs. Actually our research center was name as Actor for the UN Decade On Ecosystems Restoration for the next 10 years.

Our research center works together with the Mexican government to ensure a sustainable development in the area and to implement big scale conservation and restoration projects in Mahahual.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

As we are a new company, there are always exciting thing coming our way, in these years we became an IDC center, UN partners, we did a small hotel and we are looking forward to develop our research center even more.  We would like to become the biggest research center in Mexico which is very ambitious and to become leaders in diving, restoration and everything that involve costal ecosystems. We dream big because we love what we do.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

I think the industry is doing ok but not great.  For sure freediving has grown a lot in the last 10-15 years. There are several organisations around the world who do great work, but we need more people and businesses looking to do the exceptional.   Sometimes talking with diving friends around the world, we all agree that this is probably one of the few industries where the prices we charge are the same or even cheaper than 5 or 10 years ago. We urgently need to proprofessionalize the industry and put the correct value on our product and services.

Finally, what would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

If you guys are looking for a unique immersive experience where you can mix your passion for diving with deep understanding of marine and costal ecosystem, then we are your choice.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

You guys can follow us on IG: Takata.experience 

FB: Takata Experience                                                                                

Our website is: www.takataexperience.com

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Discover the Best of Belize with Dive Worldwide

American DTA Team

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This June marks the 25th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef becoming a World Heritage Site! To celebrate, Dive Worldwide have rounded up their top trips to Belize which includes a resort-based stay, a liveaboard special and a twin-centre with neighbouring Guatemala – perfect for soaking up some culture. 

Reefs, Atolls & Mayan Ruins

The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is warm, welcoming and offers unbelievable adventures. This gem has plenty for divers from incredible nature and topside activities to magical diving opportunities. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world and three of the four atolls in the western hemisphere making it a popular choice for divers.

If you missed the Dive Worldwide Belize talk in January you can catch up here.

Belize Discovered

Spend a week diving the remarkable barrier reef from Ambergris Caye before enjoying a few nights exploring the jungle with its Mayan ruins and caves.

Underwater there’s plenty on offer, with canyons, drop offs and swim throughs in addition to a unique topography and relatively easy conditions. You’ll be accompanied by a kaleidoscope of reef fish as you marvel at the array of sea fans and sponges adorning the seabed. Highlights include nurse shark, stingray, grouper, angelfish, turtle and dolphin. 

You then head off-the-beaten-track in land where you stay at an eco lodge in the heart of the Belizean jungle. Here there are a multitude of activities on offer including hiking and cave tours or you can immerse yourself in Mayan culture and visit a number of nearby ruins for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 13 days

Price from: £2,945 per person

Belize Liveaboard

Dive the Lighthouse and Turneffe Atolls from a liveaboard and experience the very best diving Belize has to offer. Located in the Lighthouse Reef there will be the opportunity to dive the Great Blue Hole. This atoll is full of marine life with angelfish, Creole wrasse, butterflyfish, barracuda and sponges found here.

Turneffe is the largest of the three atolls and offers a mixture of shallow reefs and sheer walls with a variety of reef fish and beautiful underwater scenery. Turtle, eagle ray, reef shark, snapper and jacks live on the healthy reefs. Dive sites of note include Half Moon Caye – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Painted Wall where you can find macro subjects such as ghostfish, crabs, blennies and invertebrates.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 10 days

Price from: £3,475 per person

Guatemala & Belize

Begin your holiday with some topside cultural discovery in Guatemala. This country packs a punch with its colonial architecture, Mayan ruins nestled in the verdant green jungle and stunning vistas. Don’t miss a visit to Lake Atilan, widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its volcanoes, thermal springs and incredible sunrises.

After a few days in Guatemala it’s time to go diving in Belize! Explore the barrier reef and spend time diving the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Hole – the largest of its kind in the world and one of the top reasons to visit Belize. Here the waters are crystal clear, the topography is impressive with large coral and rock formations and the marine life is prolific with reef and black-tip shark in addition to large grouper.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 14 days

Price from: £3,495 per person


If you want to experience the world class diving and topside highlights of spectacular Belize, contact the Dive Worldwide Team.

All prices are per person and include flights from the UK, liveaboard or accommodation, diving, most meals and airport transfers.

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