Underwater photography is an art with an extensive learning curve. Whether you're a complete beginner, or an experienced photographer who wants to hone your photographic skills, our personalized course in underwater photography will save you time otherwise painfully spent learning via trial and error! Plus, the time you invest in this course will produce great diving pictures that you can take home! Place your learning in the hands of a team of experts while having an unforgettable dive holiday in one of the most beautiful corners of Mexico.

At CPWS, we like to maintain a friendly and supportive environment between course participants and the team. This course will teach you many things, and we look forward to learning from you as well. Learning is a process that never stops, and underwater photography is an activity that depends on many external factors, e.g., weather, logistics, equipment, planning. As a teacher, I encourage honest and constructive feedback on everyone’s work, with a view to improving photography skills on the individual level and as a group.

 

Class size

Our classes are limited to a maximum of small groups of six (6) photographers, in order to provide personal attention to the needs, level of photographic skill and equipment of each attendee, and optimize each student’s learning experience.

Cabo Pulmo and underwater photography = great photos!

Protected since 1995 as a National Marine Park, the condition of the reef in Cabo Pulmo is excellent, and the number and variety of fish that can be seen in the area is astounding! During the last survey, over 225 species of fish were counted within the park, not to mention invertebrates, plants, etc. So the opportunities abound to take great photographs! Additionally, the Cabo Pulmo Watersports Dive Shop is the best in the area, rated #1 on Tripadvisor.

 

Course Prerequisites

  • Certified diver with good buoyancy skills. The primary requirement for taking a photography course with CPWS is that you be a certified diver with good buoyancy skills. If you are uncertain about your buoyancy control, this does not need to be a barrier to taking this class, if you plan in advance! You can arrive a few days early, and our staff will do a review of your buoyancy skills, or even a complete overview of your skills as a diver. If needed, additional training can be provided before the photography class so that you will be assured that you have all the diving skills needed to successfully complete the class in underwater photography.
  • Dive Instructor and Dive Master with class. I will always be in the water with you as your instructor of photography, helping with camera settings, subject search, composition, my camera in hand to compare shots and help improve them. Additionally, an experienced divemaster will accompany the group underwater to assure the class’ general safety, performance as divers, and that interaction with the reef is in compliance with National Park rules. In the Cabo Pulmo National Park, conservation is taken seriously! Never hesitate to ask questions, the staff of the course is here to help you.
  • Level of skill as a photographer. Courses are offered for photographers of all levels, from those who have just purchased their first underwater camera and want to start from scratch, to the enthusiastic photographer who wants to hone fine photographic skills. For advanced photographers, courses are offered in certain specialties (Wide Angle, Macro, Fluorescence). Non-photographer dive companions are always welcome!
  • Other requirements. There is no minimum requirement level of experience, or required photographic equipment. What we do require is a positive attitude, willingness to learn, enthusiasm for photography, diving and nature around us.

Our Eco Policy

 

  • We promote responsible diving practices and enjoyment through observation and appreciation rather than collection and destruction.
  • Our daily diving adventures are selected based on environmental considerations including tides and surface conditions to allow environmentally sensitive access to designated dive spots.
  • All Instructors and Guides provide environmental dive briefings, are environmentally sensitive and familiar with the local reefs.
  • Dive Guides are always in the water with guests for safety and environmental protection.
  • No more than 6 divers per group (park rules).
  • We make sure that our divers have good buoyancy control before going to the dive sites.
  • Enforce refresher dives for our guests who have not dived in 2 years.
  • Provide a professional videographer to avoid from potentially environmentally detrimental 'home movies' by the inexperienced hand.
  • We partake in responsible underwater and coastal garbage collection
  • Implement and follow local diving agreements.

 

We definitely do not...

  • Feed fish for customer satisfaction
  • Handle marine life or collect souvenirs
  • Do any fishing
  • Access virgin sites without environmentally sensitive access points or permission from National Parks authorities.

 

Responsible Tourism:

By choosing to dive with us you are choosing :

 

  • to respect the local community, the local people and culture
  • to help conserve the eco-system, protected areas and bio diversity
  • to help support the local people
  • to put the local people, culture and environment first.

Reef Etiquette

We can all make a difference, and your difference means the world. Please follow these guidelines and help conserve our incredible reefs.

 

  • Always follow the instructions of the divemaster about entry and exit from water and avoid standing on or touching the reef and messing with wildlife (that can be dangerous for you too).
  • Always practice neutral buoyancy to prevent fin damage to corals.
  • Always avoid touching corals. The slightest touch can damage the corals' protective membrane causing irreversible damage, so please take the outmost care not to touch.

 

AND REMEMBER: IT IS TOTALLY FORBIDDEN TO NOT ENJOY YOUR DIVE!!!

 

 

 

Bull Shark Diving:

Among this park’s underwater wonders are several species of sharks, either as residents or transients. One of the most noticeable is the increasingly an increasingly constant presence of bull sharks on the wreck "El Vencedor", which is already a spectacular dive site due to its number and variety of fish residents. Depending on the season, there are a number of Pulmo sites where bull sharks may be observed mating, resting or hunting, but the most dependable site for observing these magnificent animals while diving is “El Vencedor”. Bull sharks sightings are becoming more common in more sites, and the time of the year during which they are present has extended. It is also very easy to observe them during the cold water season (December to April) without even getting in the water as they gather in large numbers near the shore, and can be watched from a boat. The increased numbers of these predators in the Park’s waters is relatively recent, another fruit of the Cabo Pulmo community’s conservation efforts for the reef.

 

 

 

 Shark species documented in the park are:

Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)

Lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris)

Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis)

Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapaguensis)

Tiger shark (Galeocerdo Cuvier)

Blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)

Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus)

Dog Shark (Heterodontus francisci)

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)

 

 

Sadly, the world’s overfishing of these beautiful animals has decimated their populations alarmingly, and although Cabo Pulmo is a safe haven, free from commercial fishing, sharks are tireless travelers with very large oceanic migration routes, making them highly vulnerable when they enter areas without any protection.

Note that diver - shark encounters in the Cabo Pulmo national park have always been safe because of the particular dive protocols followed during shark dives at Cabo Pulmo. The shark’s natural prey is in abundance in these waters and they display a relaxed, albeit sometimes curious, attitude towards divers. All shark feeding (also known as “chumming”) is banned in the park, so sharks in Cabo Pulmo do not associate divers with food. Nonetheless, do not forget that we are intruders in their home, and our role is to observe and enjoy. When diving with sharks, follow the instructions of your divemaster in order to stay safe, use common sense and good diving practices, and your diving experience with these animals will be a unique event in your life as a diver!

 

 

CONTACT US for information on DIVING, SNORKELING, UW photography training or any inquiry regarding CABO PULMO!!!

 

 

Diving sites in Cabo Pulmo National Park

EL BAJO (40 – 60 ft) 450 mts

Definitively the dive site that comprises what Cabo Pulmo is all about, this underwater marvel is one of the places where you can see the major biodiversity in Cabo Pulmo. The number of large fish that you might see on a dive at El Bajo is hard to beat. You are likely to be welcomed by a number of ”unafraid of humans” leopard grouper (including some who are in their beautiful golden phase), giant gulf grouper, and prehistoric looking dog snapper. Also, you will likely to hit huge schools of fish, such as Bigeye Trevally, famous here in Cabo Pulmo among snorkelers and divers. Also, there are other large flowing schools of smaller fish such as the Yellow snapper and Gray and Burrito grunts that you will see along your way. And of course the beautiful Panamic Porkfish in smaller schools that are great to photograph because of the colors of the fish and the patterns that they make when the school is “polarized”. Small reef fishes of many kinds, eels, and a variety of rays are to be expected. Hard and soft corals complete this magnificent spot.

Los Morros (40 – 60 ft) 300 mts long

The closest dive spot to El Bajo, same depth, consisting of isolated patches of rocks and hard corals surrounded by sand. Totally “a box of surprises”, generally dive conditions are a bit harsher that the ones on El Bajo, the water can be murkier, colder, and the current stronger but a dive that is totally worth it. The north part is one of the most common places to find the big school of jacks, also known as the “fish tornado”. When the current is strong, we are able to just drift from El Bajo and cover this beautiful site all in one dive!

El Cantil (15 – 55 ft)

This wonderful site is basically a small canyon-wall dive, good for spotting cryptic fauna hiding in the plethora of holes, crevasses, caves, and roofs that this site offers to animals. The upper level of the wall is crowded with hard corals and Cortez Rainbow Wrasses; current at this level is usually stronger, so staying low is recommended. Huge schools of jacks, dog snappers, mobulas and cownose eagle rays roam the area in winter. In the small canyons, sometimes you can spot a big gulf grouper, or a goliath grouper too; and this place is full of gorgonians. Green morays and garden eels are here on the rocks and on the sand surrounding the deeper part of the reef. The north end of this site is a very special sector, crowded with fish, and one of the main spots for bull shark diving.

Usually the north end of El Cantil is crowded with schools of yellow snapper, graybar, and burrito grunt, with leopard grouper, and Milkfish in the middle of the water column. El Cantil is also another site for “jack tornadoes”. A must in a diving trip to Cabo Pulmo.

El Vencedor (Shipwreck) (40 – 45 ft)

This site consists of ship wreckage from 1980`s. These days the site is always packed with fish, especially schooling porcupinefish, grunts and snappers. The scattered metal structures left from the ship wreckage are not the center of the attraction: the wreckage includes motor parts, a large holding tank, propeller, pieces of the huge tuna net, and a fly wheel. What makes this place so spectacular is the amount of life that is always there and the fact that this is the most reliable area for bull shark encounters!. Large schools of colorful fish flow over and around the wreckage in ever-changing patterns of colors, with large leopard grouper and predatory amberjacks and dog snapper hanging out in dark corners or suddenly appearing unexpectedly, unconcerned about the diver watching from a few feet away. And anywhere from one to ten bull sharks may circle in and out …

 La Esperanza (70 – 80 ft)

Pulmo´s underwater wild side; everything here is hiding or looking for lunch. This site lacks the richness in coral that other sites have, but that is compensated for by the sightings that you may have here, beginning with huge dog snappers, amberjacks, big turtles and a higher possibility than anywhere else in Cabo Pulmo that a Tiger Shark, Bull Shark or the Reef Whitetip Shark may show up. A lovely dive for the adventurous and daring!!!

El Cien (100 ft)

Standing up for its Spanish name (which means the hundred) this deep site is pretty much like La Esperanza, but deeper, with less coral because of this depth, and also home to the big guys of the reserve, and a shark sighting area.

Chopitos

This site is actually in a rocky inlet made out of boulders of several sizes. This is the perfect beach for people learning to dive because of its shallow depth, pool like quality and the protected nature of this site. A nice sandy area in which new divers can learn the basics of diving in a safe way both for them and the reef.

Casitas

Next to Chopitos, going south along the coast is the Casitas site. This consists of a bunch of giant rocks below water level which have multiple caves and ratholes in which life flourishes. This is usually the next step on the “discover scuba diving” or DSD tours. There is plenty of life in here; shore fish such as surgeonfish and goatfish, wrasses, parrotfish and probably a turtle or two. Some of the caves have space enough to let a person pass, but this is a choice the Divemaster makes after checking your level of scuba skills.

La Lobera

Lobera, the local word for Sea Lion Colony, is a nice dive for everyone, both experienced and new divers. Here you dive around the off-shore rocks that protect sea lions from land predators such as coyotes. The rocks provide a good sundeck for passing the hours doing nothing but sunbathing. The playful creatures live here with the exception of hurricane season, when they leave for two months in August and September for more sheltered areas. This is a nice dive and a good place to take pictures of the sea lions, who are usually unafraid, curious and ready to pose for you!

Brief History of Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, Aquarium of the World !

In the mid 90s, this village of fewer than 200 residents came to a decision as a community that changed the fate of the surrounding coral reef and its fish population: Cabo Pulmo stopped fishing commercially.

The Sea of Cortez (or Gulf of California) is one of the most productive seas in the world, famously called “the world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau. At the southeastern tip of the peninsula, where the waters of the Sea of Cortez remain the perfect temperature, lies the northernmost coral reef in the American Pacific: the Cabo Pulmo reef, once famed for the abundance of its fish and other marine life. In the “Log from the Sea of Cortez”, John Steinbeck wrote of his 1940 visit to Cabo Pulmo :

           "The complexity of the life pattern on Pulmo Reef was even greater than at Cabo San Lucas. Clinging to the coral, growing on it, burrowing into it, was a teeming fauna. Every piece of the soft material broken off, skittered and pulsed with life, little crabs and worms and snails. One small piece of coral might conceal 30 or 40 species, and the colors on the reef were electric.”

However, by the early 1990’s, advances in fishing technology, refrigeration and transportation were emptying the formerly rich Cabo Pulmo reef of all of its fish. It was at this point that local fishermen decided to stop fishing, protect the reef, and change from a commercial fishing economy to a tourism-based economy, and in 1995, Cabo Pulmo was declared a National Marine Park.

This was an extremely difficult and complex process, as Cabo Pulmo is located in a tiny desert enclave without major resources, little water, isolated from the rest of the state, and fishing was the village’s only important source of economic production. After making the commitment to protect the reef, all bets were on tourism, a fairly unknown activity for the East Cape at the time.

It was not an easy task for the people of Cabo Pulmo, but today their efforts have been rewarded by nature. The fish population in the national park area has increased by over 450% according to scientific studies by Scripps Institute, which has given Cabo Pulmo a prominant place among the Mexican and global maritime scientific community and in the world of diving as the most successful marine reserve in the world.

The Cabo Pulmo marine reserve now provides a glimpse of what our seas were like before the era of massive fishing. The recovery in number of species, size of fish, and increase in number of top predators (yes, sharks!) has been astonishing. In short, this small village gave the world a lesson in coexistence with the environment without destroying it. Here they demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the process of systematic plundering of our natural resources. Today we are a model for the protection and regeneration for compromised reef systems and fisheries all over the world.

Diving is exceptional throughout all seasons, always full of surprises. The waters of this park vary with the seasons, ranging from green and cold (winter and spring) to beautifully warm and clear waters that put it on par with a Caribbean dive. When the water is cold, visibility usually decreases, but at those times the abundance of fish and other marine species increases greatly, so there is still much to see. As an added bonus, Cabo Pulmo features unique phenomena such as schools of "mobulas" jumping around on the water’s surface, and at certain times of the year whales, dolphins and orcas make guest appearances.

During the warm season, visibility dramatically improves. Note that, in Cabo Pulmo, the probability of seeing sharks during a dive are very high in certain places throughout the year. Also, one of the most outstanding attractions of Pulmo`s waters are shoals of jacks that become so abundant that the schools block the passage of sunlight and extend from the water surface to the seabed. At times these schools begin a slow swirling dance that has become known as the famous “jack tornado”. This amazing natural phenomenon occurs in Pulmo throughout most of the year. In one day at Cabo Pulmo, you may see what in other places would take a lifetime!

Cabo Pulmo is certainly a unique experience of diving for any level of experience and in any season.

Parallel to the aquatic world of Cabo Pulmo, you will also find serene beauty above the water: miles of walking trails through desert landscapes, ideal for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. All of these activities, coupled with the tranquility of the area, attract many tourists who require services such as lodging and restaurants, and this has generated an economic framework whose influence extends beyond the dive centers.

CONTACT US for information on DIVING, SNORKELING, UW photography training or any inquiry regarding CABO PULMO!!!

 

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