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Dive Review of Shark Diving International/Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Isla de Guadelupe

Shark Diving International/Solmar V, Aug, 2007,

by steve wenc, IN, usa ( 2 reports). Report 3531.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Pacific, Atlantic
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 70 to 72 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions This was a shark cage diving trip. No diving certification was required for the surface cages. Only certified divers could use the submersible cage.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 1 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 5 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments There was a large area with shelves for all camera equipment. there was plenty of space for everyone. Freshwater rinse tanks were provided.

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 The Solmar V is the nicest liveaboard boat I've ever had the pleasure to charter. First class all the way. The CEO of Shark diving International, Laurence Groth, was on board. His enthusiasm for Great White sharks is contagious. He worked nonstop from sun up to sun down every day to make sure everyone was happy. The entire crew could not have been any nicer. Solo travelers don't always get the best treatment or accommodations. I was given a last minute cut rate deal, a solo cabin and free underwater video camera rental. This trip started in San Diego at 8:00am. After a four hour chartered bus ride across the border into Mexico we arrived at Ensenada, where we boarded the Solmar V. The 180 mile voyage to Guadelupe took about 18 hours. We had beam seas coming and going so the ride was a little rough. Lots of patches and Dramamine. Laurence and the crew began chumming as soon as we anchored and we had our first shark within 15 minutes. They have a 100% success rate for locating Great Whites on this trip. I'm not sure anything can prepare you for your first Great White experience. They are a different breed of animal. I've been around a lot of different shark species and take it from me, these guys are in a class all by themselves. They look you right in the eye and try to stare you down. We had as many as seven circling the cages at a time and I'd say they were all between 10 and 15 feet. They came close enough to touch, although we were told not to. The action was nonstop all day, everyday. There were two cages attached to the stern with four divers in each. We rotated in one hour intervals to start. Everybody got as much time in these cages as they wanted and after awhile you could stay in there basically as long as you wanted. Everything was done off hooka lines. They also had a submersible cage that was lowered to 35ft. One diver at a time was taken down with the dive master. He wore a full face mask and had radio contact with the surface. There were two bailout bottles in the bottom of the cage in case something happened to the hooka lines. They are the only outfit in the world offering a submersible cage experience. Laurence, the CEO is a former commercial diver so he knows how to rig a boat. He also isn't afraid to dig into that chum bucket and get his hands dirty. He has an on going identification program and they have identified 99 different sharks frequenting this tiny island. We were also taken on a panga ride where we saw seals, sea lions and elephant seals on the shore. We were not allowed to go on the island itself. I found this trip to be very interesting and educational. I think every diver dreams about cage diving with Great Whites. You don't have to go to Australia or South Africa to do it. This trip will be memorable and I couldn't give it a higher recommendation.
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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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