Mexico, Liveaboards – Quino El Guardian – Citizen Science – Ultrasound Pregnant Whale Sharks and Manta Rays

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Quino El Guardian

Mexico, Liveaboards


Discover the magic of Mexico with Quino El Guardian.

Quino’s mission carries the awareness that while we are privileged to have experienced the wonders of the underwater world, we also carry the responsibility to protect it. Quino was once a fishing vessel and was redesigned into a ship whose sole purpose is for scuba diving and scientific research. Quino was created because of the time their team spent with marine biologist groups on their sister ship, Rocio del Mar. The experience with them was so incredibly rewarding that they wanted more. They believe that they can make the world a better place one diver at a time.

Quino gives divers the opportunity to visit magical destinations such as Socorro (Archipelago de Revillagigedo) and the Sea of Cortez. They offer the same diving along with the same amazing crew and delicious food guests have come to know on Rocio del Mar at an incredible value.

Quino el Guardian offers fun and exciting scuba diving experiences including their truly unique Citizen Science Expeditions. Quino is available for individuals, one-half and full charters as well as custom private charters. We can design a trip itinerary around the special desires of the charter group. Quino is wonderful for single travelers, too!

Quino el Guardian takes 16 divers in 4 quad cabins and 1 double cabin with 4 community bathrooms. Each bathroom is assigned to a cabin so guests can leave their personal items inside. Quino has a comfortable salon with a TV and computer station, a galley with plenty of seating for everyone with a pull down screen for presentations and a shaded sundeck for relaxing between dives. The camera table is large and with plenty of outlets to satisfy even the most fastidious of photographers. Quino is the perfect size – big enough to get privacy when you want it and small enough to get to know everyone. You’ll be one, happy family by the end of the first day of the trip!

Many of the trips on Quino are Citizen Science Expeditions giving divers the experience of working side-by-side with scientists as they study sharks, mantas, reef ecology, marine biology and more. Activities include animal tagging, identification, DNA sampling, and daily presentations on migration, reproduction, conservation and daily observations.


Socorro Islands. Season: November – May

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE! The Archipelago de Revillagigedo is 250 miles off Baja’s southern shore and are a spectacular magnet for the largest oceanic pelagic animals in the world. In addition to the inquisitive giant manta rays, the islands attract schooling hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, silky sharks, galapagos sharks, clouds of jacks and barracuda, tuna, wahoo, oceanic white tip sharks, and friendly bottlenose dolphins. Mid-February through mid-April is humpback whale season and November, December and May are whale shark season.


Sea of Cortez / Midriff Islands. Season: July – Mid-September

EAST TO GET TO YET IMPOSSIBLE TO FORGET! Called “The Worlds Aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau, divers experience untouched walls and reefs abounding in marine life. Encounter large and small whale species, giant pods of dolphins, sea lion colonies, turtles, rays, octopuses, eels, mobula rays and countless species of fish in unheard of quantities. It’s a macro photographers dream with nudibranchs, colorful blennies, dancing jawfish and seahorses. Between dives, enjoy a hike or kayak remote islets. This trip is great for snorkelers, too. A trip highlight is snorkeling with whale sharks.


Sea of Cortez / Explore Baja. Season: Mid-September – October

EXPLORE OVER 700 MILES! Go off-the-grid for 13-days to experience the incredible diversity of the Sea of Cortez by diving from one end to the other. In addition to the Midriff Islands itinerary, enjoy a night dive with mobula rays, see schooling hammerheads and dive wrecks, Fan Ming and Salvaterra. And you are seeing giant, oceanic manta rays again! See the incredible life on the surface including pilot whales, humpback whales, blue fin whales, orcas and sperm whales along with blue and brown footed booby birds, cormorants, frigate birds and the endemic yellow footed gulls. While the boat has an itinerary, they stay open to what Mother Nature may bring your way.


Book Now / More Information


Special Offer

$3500 per person based on quad occupancy
November 10 – 19, 2020

$3600 per person based on quad occupancy
November 21 – 30, 2021

Join the fantastic crew of the Quino El Guardian, world-renown whale shark researcher Dr. Dení Ramírez Macías, and her team as we attempt to ultrasound pregnant whale sharks and manta rays in the Archipielago of Revillagigedo!

In 2017, Deni was aboard Quino el Guardian and became the first person to successfully ultrasound a pregnant manta ray in the open ocean. 

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) and the giant manta ray (Mobula birostris) are filter feeder elasmobranchs. In some countries, these species constitute a fishing resource, while in other countries, they are more valuable as an opportunity to attract tourism. Therefore, the sustainable exploitation of these species depends significantly on the knowledge of their populations. This knowledge is minimal.

Both species are especially vulnerable due to their biological characteristics as they are slow-growing, late to reach sexual maturity, and found in small populations. All of this is why the IUCN Red List recognizes these species for the Conservation of Nature.

In the Archipielago de Revillagigedo, we can find giant manta rays and whale sharks that enable Dr. Dení Ramírez Macías and her team to study these charismatic giants. Their studies have focused on demonstrating the presence of pregnant females in both species showing that this is a critical habitat for these elasmobranchs and requires a top priority for its conservation.

Our expedition will focus on obtaining an ultrasound in females of both species to corroborate that they are pregnant and to evaluate the degree of the embryonic development. This information will help to substantiate the theory that these waters are necessary for reproduction and to strengthen the protection of habitat for the conservation of the species. A second goal will be to place a satellite tag to see her movements.

Our goal is to use the regular itinerary for diving in Socorro, knowing that we will be open to using any opportunity that presents itself to ultrasound whale sharks and manta rays.

Deni will also be doing presentations throughout the trip. These presentations will include but not be limited to:


1. Following the Giants: Whale Sharks
2. Conservation Biology of the Whale Shark
3. The Giant Manta Rays from Revillagigedo
4. Ultrasound on Mobula Rays
5. I3S software for whale shark and giant manta ray photo identification



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