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Dive Review of Shark Diving International/Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Guadalupe Island

Shark Diving International/Solmar V, Oct, 2007,

by Dan Clements, WA, USA (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 3681.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Puget Sound, British Columbia, Galapagos, Bahamas, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Marquesas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 68 to 69 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions This is cage diving with air supplied via hooka. Two surface cages, one submersable to 40'.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 1 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Exceptionally good facilities for photographers. A large table with ample room for everyone, including me and my Nikon DSLR/Subal housing rig. No problem recharging batteries, computers. (There are 110 outlets in each cabin on the middle bulkhead, lower bunk that most folks missed seeing.)

The sharks are so close I recommend a wide angle. My Tokina 10-17 mm fisheye was perfect. I also shot with a 60 mm, but the shots were much better with the wide angle. I brought twin Ikelite 125 strobes and never used them.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This is one of the best run, well organized, live aboards I have ever been on. Our trip had 14 divers (maximum of 16 taken on Guadalupe outings). There was all the cage time anyone would want. After the first rotation it was possible to be in a cage with one other person, or by onesself.

Great whites showed up within fifteen minutes of arrival. In comparing notes with folks who have visited this site on other boats, Shark Diving International and Lawrence Growth run the best tours on the Solmar V. We visited the first of October, had eleven different sharks in the 12-14 foot size category. We also witnesses the second recorded attack and devouring of a 400 lb elephant seal (caught on film).

The routine goes from waiting 20 or so minutes for a shark, to close encounters with one to five sharks. They were visible on all rotations. We did quite a bit of shooting hanging out of cages, especially from the bottom of the cage shooting up.

Great outing, great crew, great photographs, great fellow travelers. Large camera table made it wonderful for my Nikon DSLR and Subal housing rig.

Two issues: 1.) The 18 hour trip is south/north from Ensenada, seas quarter from west. On return, only three of us who did not get sea sick. If in doubt, use a patch. 2.) Shark Diving International advertises a PADI great white specialty. Not available for our trip.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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