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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Islas Revillagigedo

Solmar V, Dec, 2006,

by Sean Bruner, AZ, USA (Contributor Contributor 16 reports). Report 3135.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Galapagos, Roatan, PNG, Palau, Hawaii, Bonaire
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 77 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 30 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 130 foot max, no drifting for more than 10 minutes
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Large camera table and two large separate rinse tanks. Compressed air. Cameras handed down after in the water.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We had heard mixed things about the Solmar V operation, but their timetable fit ours perfectly over the Christmas/New Year's week. The owners, Jose Luis and Leslie Sanchez, were on board for this trip. They just took over the ownership of the boat a year ago and have refurbished it, so some of the negative comments which appeared in previous chapbooks may no longer be valid. The boat left Cabo San Lucas at 5 p.m for the 24 hour crossing to San Benedicto. We got there in time for one checkout dive the next day. Expectations were high due to sightings of schools of hammerheads and two whale sharks on the previous trip. The following day, we had three dives at the Boiler, a manta cleaning station. A pod of dolphins played with divers, although when Laura and I got in the water they had already left. One manta and some hammerheads in the distance. Otherwise, somewhat uneventful. Headed out for Roca Partida the next day where the whale sharks and hammerhead school was seen. We were disappointed. A single manta and a couple of Galapagos sharks was all we saw. Three dives and not much of the usual raging current. Next day off to Socorro Island. The day starts late due to check in with the Mexican Navy in the morning. They boarded the boat with guns, but were very respectful and unobtrusive. The diving at Socorro was a bust, although we met some of the famous current. Best feature was a panga trip to see some of the island, which is a fascinating tangle of volcanic rock. Next day back to San Benedicto to dive El Canyon. Good silvertip action, some close encounters with mantas and dolphins. Final day back at the Boiler. This day made the trip. Six mantas on the second dive and four on the third. Very close encounters as they played with us the whole time during both dives. Some divers swam off into blue water and saw a school of hammerheads reported to be up to 150, but at a distance, below 150 feet. All in all, a successful trip. We went for the mantas and weren't disappointed. Although we were excited, then disappointed, about seeing whale sharks, we did not book the trip with that expectation. Unlike coral reefs, there is no guarantee with pelagics; it is hit and miss, mostly depending on luck.

The crew was great. The dive masters, Rey (8 years on the boat), Eric and Jorge were always watching out for us. Some of the dives are from pangas and some are off the back of the boat, although the pangas are always in the water and you have the option of surfacing and letting the pangas pick you up instead of returning to the boat. The one time we drifted far into the blue observing a Galapagos shark that made a close pass, the panga was right there when we surfaced, a good distance from the dive sight. Safety sausages are provided to those who don't bring one. Nitrox is available ($100 extra). Tipping is encouraged but there is no pressure applied. Food is good and filling and special requests are honored. The rooms are small, consisting of a tiny top bunk and slightly larger lower bunk. Storage is extremely limited, although dive bags and camera bags are stored in a waterproof locker on deck. The cabins have in suite toilets and a hand held shower above. It's tiny and one diver joked that he liked it because you could do everything at once. One nice touch is a DVD tv in the cabin because there are long boat rides on this trip. Overall A-.
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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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