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Acumba Diving


DIVING IN PARADISE: BAHIA SOLANO (good diving practice recommendations to prevent any more damage to the ecosystem)

By Laura Andrea Mejía Escobar – Instructor & Pro Diver

The area of the Colombian Pacific is rich in biodiversity where species of fauna and flora, coral reefs, an incredible fishing wealth and a unique cultural mosaic abound. Not surprisingly, it is one of the regions with the greatest biodiversity on the planet and according to WWF (the World Forum for Nature) this area is considered one of the 17 priority sites for the world’s conservation. One of the main tourist attraction is diving, which has not been fully exploited and this guys at Afloat with its operation Acumba Diving are going to set the bars high.

Initially the diver must be certified as Open Water or basic course which has a depth limit of 18 meters or 60 feet and must not do night dives. If each diver wishes to advance and deepen their knowledge and access deeper sites or do night dives, they must adhere to the PADI academic plan (or whatever their organization is internationally certified) to be certified in courses such as advanced, rescue, among others.
To be certified as a diver, you must initially have a medical assessment and be 12 years old or older, if a child who does not reach the minimum age to be certified wishes to have his underwater experience, he may do so with the strict accompaniment of a diving instructor or professional in a course called Bubblemaker.

While diving is a recreational activity that generates awareness by sensitizing those who practice it, if not done within the appropriate margins it could become another factor that threatens marine ecosystems.

Among the diving practices are:

Exceed the carrying capacity: It is related to diving with large and inexperienced groups which can negatively impact the marine ecosystem.
Buoyancy and flutter patterns: Neutral buoyancy is the goal of proper diving technique to achieve it requires experience and practice. If a diver fails to have a perfect neutral buoyancy which goes hand in hand with a frog-like flutter pattern to avoid maximum contact with corals, it will end up damaging the reefs and all the benthic life of the underwater world.

The use of anchor without precaution: Dive sites that are not marked with buoys suffer from the anchoring of the boats. When the anchors are thrown to the dive site, corals and marine life suffer an impact that could take years to recover, in bahia Solano the guys at Acumba Diving are marking the dive sites to prevent damage of marine ecosystems.

Human alteration of ecosystems and marine life: Practices such as actively interacting with marine animals, feeding them and / or changing their normal feeding cycle affect the safety of divers and the natural behavior of aquatic animals.

Passage of boats near the reefs: It represents a direct irrigation with the safety of divers and the health of marine reefs.

The habits of the diver: A diver must have sustainable practices that make him a role model, otherwise the garbage generated in the diving zone impacts the ecosystem, tourism and consequently the economy of the community.

The extraction of marine resources: It directly affects the live stock of the reef. Due to the value of coral decorative items and other organisms, they are extracted from the environment, thus constituting an unauthorized and unsustainable extractive activity.

Fortunately this guys at Acumba Diving are implementing good diving practices and making sure that this paradise called Bahia Solano continues giving us all who want to enjoy the wonders of nature more years of joy.

Special thanks to Laura Andrea Mejía Escobar.

Acumba Diving

Lifetime encounter with the gentleman of the sea: The Wahle Shark

Lifetime encounter with the gentleman of the sea: The Wahle Shark

BY Alfonso Ortiz Montes / Pochortizm Photography

It appeared suddenly on our side the Great Giant, showing its 39 feet long and 15 tons of weight. We were about 30 feet deep and was a little dark, forcing us to keep the darkness that surrounded it and highlight its moles and unmistakable lines.

The whale shark needs water with lots of plankton, their main food. As a wonderful gift from the ocean, the planktivore came into the surface to say hello and feed, showing us his best side, just perfect for a great portrait We had great natural light for its top side. We needed to be carefull reducing strobes power and closing diafragm a little bit, because we didn’t want an overexposed white skin on the bottom.

Maybe tired of swimming with us, the Giant began his journey and left us on surface, happy for having shared a great time. We did our best to photography our friend, despite the low light and high distance between us. We opened diafragm to f/5.6, maintained our shutter time to 1/80, ISO 160 and gave maximum power t o our strobes.

Probably, hungry, the Giant came to the surface, but got distracted with our group. We saw it, while playing with them. Showed us its best angle! Whale Sharks also eat small fish, crustaceans and even squid and tuna. We took advantage of little natural light coming from surface to display its top, skin texture and color. Controlling the power of our strobes, to avoid burning its white skin.

At 25 feet deep, the great Giant surrounded by clear waters, still illuminated by the sun, swam near us. Despite the distance between us, with beautiful red planktivores in the scene, we got one of the best images.

After a spectacular diving, the appearance of our friend around the boat, forced us to jump into the water with only the basic scuba gear. We attended its game on the surface and capture its movements, with the support of natural light. We were so happy with the photography results, seeing the Giant alongside our partners, being the star of the evening .

It is believed that whale sharks have no fixed migration patterns and depending on the abundance of food can be found in different areas of southern and eastern South Africa, Utila in Honduras, Belize, Western Australia, Philippines, Sea of Cortez and off Isla Mujeres in Mexico , Indonesia, Maldives, Madagascar, reefs Mozambique, Tanzania, Zanzibar, in the Red Sea, Bahia Solano north pacific and Malpelo Island in Colombia. Here, we were so happy with the photography results, seeing the Giant alongside our partners, being the star of the evening

Special thanks to Alfonso Ortiz Montes, great professional and friend, to more adventures together!

Acumba Whale watching

Whale Watching in Bahía Solano

Whale Watching in Bahía Solano

Every year, between July and November, after a long journey, they arrive to the Colombian Pacific.

The Pacific Ocean, from the department of Nariño to Chocó, becomes between July and November of each year the place where humpback whales, after a long journey from Antarctica and southern Chile, seek their warm waters to mate, give light and raise their calves.
Colombia has unparalleled destinations to see whales, such as Bahía Málaga, Nuquí, Bahía Solano and the Gorgona and Utría National Natural Parks. Humpback whales belong to the group of bearded whales, which feed on groups of crustaceans and small fish. To cover the sufficient amount of food they use different techniques: when there are large patches of food on the surface, they are submerged and then come up with their mouths open and cover the largest amount of food; Another technique is through a column of bubbles, generated by the nostrils, to corner fish allowing the capture of large amounts of food.

The first whales to migrate to the tropics are nursing mothers, then juveniles, mature males, mature females, and finally pregnant females. Its speed during migration is 8 to 15 kilometers per hour.

The body of humpback whales is robust, has extremely long pectoral fins unlike other whales, which reach a third of the total size of the animal. The shape of its head is wide with a central keel and a series of tubers that also extend to the jaw.

As a curious fact, the whale’s breath consists of three elements, water vapor that comes from the lungs, mucus and seawater.

Humpback whales use a courtship method that is singing, lonely males emit sounds like songs and present behaviors such as jumps and bumps on the surface with their pectoral fins.

Whales do not sleep deeply and prolongedly, because breathing is an activity that requires awareness and not reflex. To rest they do it very close to the surface and go up just a little to breathe, this behavior makes them more vulnerable to collision with boats.

Acumba Whale watching

Whales in Bahía Solano, Chocó

Whales in Bahía Solano, Chocó

Bahía Solano, in the department of Chocó, north of the Pacific coast of Colombia, is a unique natural paradise in the world where the tropical rainforest and the sea meet each other, where you can enjoy 60% of the biodiversity of the planet, with 25% of plant species that are only in this place. In addition to the magic of this natural wealth that allows you to see trees, flowers, birds, butterflies, frogs and roots of all colors and shapes, it is also possible to see humpback whales that migrate from Antarctica to mate and give birth to their calves , as well as living the experience of watching the sea turtles spawn and being part of the release of the turtles that are born and embark on their way to the sea.

The Utría National Natural Park is beautiful cove that leads to a path with mangroves, nature and beaches with corals; the Chadó River with its waterfalls; the Tundó river, surrounded by jungle and multicolored birds; and much more.
There are no words to describe the energy of the Colombian Pacific!

By: Catalina Franco Restrepo all the main news of Colombia and the World




By Capt. Rudy Dodero

The first time I visited this incomparable site was in 2012 when I accepted an invitation from a friend, who told me about the potential of the site. And above all the need to bring new fishing techniques.

Located in the Colombian Chocó, surrounded by unexplored mountains, Bahia Solano is really one of those privileged sites that take your breath away.

Its airport is simple but quite safe and ready to serve airplanes of up to 15 passengers. The flow of tourists is constant, and it is nice to decipher the different languages ​​that are heard on the site while figuring out how that tourist came to know about the site.

The landscape is impressive and invites you to explore the town, although small, has become a tourist destination, mainly due to its nature, whale watching and as a port of entry to other national parks. It has comfortable places to stay and the food is excellent, with very good quality restaurants.

The distance between the lodging sites and the pier from where the fishing adventure would start, is not more than a kilometer, I soon discovered that it was much more pleasant to walk the rustic road than to take the taxi, it will be because nature attracts me and the path that is lined with almost virgin jungle, surprises you at every bend with exotic birds or fabulous butterflies.

The local boats usually are 30 to 38 feet, with outboard motors, quite basic, but capable of carrying out the task without problem, the captains with whom I have shared the numerous fishing tasks, have always been, good connoisseurs of the area and its secrets.

Fishing areas rarely require more than 30 miles to leave, marine currents carrying nutrients and bait are present year-round, underwater structures, distant islets off the coast, several river mouths and little commercial fishing pressure, conjugate all necessary ingredients to make this spectacular scenario, not only a fabulous site, but one of the least explored fishing mecca.

Our first departure resulted in innumerable “piques” of sailfish and mahi’s of a very good size and only traveling about 20 miles to the site where we found a current loaded with fish.

The next day we decided to explore the area of Cabo Marzo, located about an hour’s journey away, the objective was to determine its potential as a coastal fishing area, where surface lures could be casted in search of Cuberas, Roosters and other sportfishing species, the potential of the area is impressive, you can chat all day without repeating site. For miles and miles, the coast offers all kinds of scenarios dreamed by any fisherman. All kinds of casting lures, from poppers to walkers are usable in the area. Very good quality equipment is necessary, 50 lbs multifilament line. And equipment with brake capacity to handle it are mandatory, the gigantic Cubera’s, Gallo and even Sabalos are frequent encounters.

We could not stop exploring the shallow depths in search of the famous Bravo’s and Cherna’s in Jigging mode. It was not necessary even a second descent of the jig to achieve a good hitch, a Bravo of more than 60 pounds welcomed us. That half day we repaired more than 10 more Bravos, some of almost 80 pounds. Chernas, Snappers and more than 12 species completed the catches.

Jigging equipment, whether in the Speed Jigging mode or the most modern variation, Slow Jigging, must be of very good quality, if there is a place where marine monsters can be found, this is. The depths to which it is jigged rarely exceed 300 feet, so relatively light equipment can be used with no more problem than taking them to their limits in a good fight. The jigs selection must include jigs of at least 125 grams to 300 grams.

This year I returned to Bahía Solano with some changes I notice, the town a little bigger, more boats to choose from, the food just as tasty, old friends and new friends, fishing the same, fabulous, we achieve Blue Marlin, Sailfish, giant Mahi’s, Wahoo’s and Tunas.
Jigging is still very productive and casting out of this world.

Only one thing I would like to see one day in Bahia Solano. A yacht with diesel engines that allows you greater autonomy to explore those areas still intact with more comfort, and with these guys at Afloat Fishing with its operation Anigua we will get it without any doubt.

This year I left a couple of days in Bahia to dedicate them to explore the wild side that attracts so much tourism, walking those lonely beaches full of life, exploring the jungles was definitely a lifetime joy.

As a good nature lover photographer, I was surprised by the incredible biodiversity of the area, birds, frogs, reptiles, butterflies and amazing scenery complemented my journey.

Special thanks to Capt. Rudy Dodero for guiding us through his experiences in this paradise called Bahia Solano.