The Story of Quino

Dora and Francisco (Lolo) Sandoval had a dream.  Their dream was to build a boat designed specifically to explore the amazing waters of Mexico.

Lolo had been a commercial fisherman and captain on the East Coast most of his adult life.

Dora was very successful in real estate in Phoenix.  But her heart always belonged to the sea.

Because of this dream, they designed and built the Rocio Del Mar specifically for exploring the Pacific Ocean.

When they launched the Rocio del Mar, Dora and Lolo were introducing not only the ship, but also a new dive destination; the Northern Sea of Cortez. Divers came from around the world to explore this amazing and magical place. Some of their favorite trips involved marine biologist groups.  The time spent with these groups was especially precious as they were collecting data and information to help preserve the ocean and its inhabitants that were so loved by all.

Soon, along with expeditions to the Socorro Islands, their books filled with recreational diving trips to the point they could no longer accommodate research and investigation trips.   The need for another vessel dedicated to science and unique expeditions was obvious.  Dora and Lolo began looking for another vessel where they could be surrounded by open minds whose only interest was making the world a better place.

Then a unique opportunity came along.  Mr. Benevitez, a very good friend of Lolo’s and who both had a very strong bond for years, gifted to Lolo what was to become the Quino El Guardian.  Because the ship was located on the East Coast, Lolo brought it all the way through the Panama Canal to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. Lolo and Dora named the ship after their grandson, Joaquin, who they call Quino.

Although Lolo had been a commercial fisherman most of his life, diving the Sea of Cortez on the Rocio del Mar and developing relationships with scientists and conservationists motivated him to work toward saving our oceans. He refitted Quino to serve as a research, investigation and education ship. Redesigning Quino into a vessel specifically built for scuba diving and scientific research presented endless challenges, but visualizing it’s mission and the results it will generate on conservation and protecting our ocean inspired him to persevere.

We are pleased to present to you the Quino El Guardian and her mission to protect our oceans, one charter at a time.

The Quino is available for scuba diving charters as well as unique expeditions to destinations like Clipperton and the Benito Islands, Citizen Science Programs, private charters, videography workshops, rebreather diving and teaching children how to save our oceans.

We invite you to join us on this special journey.


Our mission is to protect our oceans,
one charter at a time.