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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Revillagigedos Archipelago

Solmar V, Dec, 2010,

by Jeanne Sleeper, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 5946.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving all over the world
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 76 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth, based on Nitrox mix, no lights, no night dives - reserve rules and common sense given the location
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 5 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 Need good camera with high iso, 10, 16, 18 mm wide angle up to 55mm. No macro.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We had incredible weather-flat, dry, sunny 75F days and water that was 75-80. Wore a older 3mm and a hooded vest and was toasty warm. Had no current to diveable drift dive current. Dove from 6:30 am - 4:30 pm which translated into 3-4 dives of 60 minutes on the computer. Mostly 50-80 ft midwater dives with dolphins, mantas, sharks, jacks and a whale shark. There are a limited number of reef fish, but the rock cracks are filled with lobster and the big octopus out hunting in the day time were a huge treat. Leaving port and running 24+ hours to see the first speck of land - Roca Partida- was am amazing transition from the stress of daily life to the wide openness of being at sea for a week. We jumped in the water and within minutes had 2 mantas with 14 ft plus wing spans using us for a slalom course as they zigged and zagged over our bubbles. They loved capturing the bubbles on their bellies and wings, then banking and letting the bubbles slide off. I assume they loved it - they did it over and over! Big mantas - 26ft+ wing span come in out of the blue like the stealth fighter - suddenly they are in your face - up close and personal - but never touching you. They are big, but glide thru the water with no wake.
Eyes on the sides of their head, but they know exactly where you are in the water column. It's a no touch rule to preserve their mucus layer - wow was it tempting when they were so close. Sometimes they hover over the rock reef and the Clarion Angels march in a line up onto their backs and flit about cleaning, then with a shrug the Manta is done hanging out and the Clarions line up and file off its back, marching down to the reef like soldiers. The white and black tips were out cruising the walls and laying in piles on the ledges sleeping. You could approach them within a foot and fire off the pictures. The Solmar divemasters Eric and Rey were excellent watermen and their detailed knowledge from years of diving Socorro, Isla Benedicto and Roca Partida wre invaluable. The seamanship of the entire crew and tip top condition of the ship is critical when you are 300 miles off shore. These guys are pros. The anchors went down first time, every time and were exactly where the dive briefing said they would be. The customer service was exceptional. Safety first, was not just a slogan. This boat and this crew have been coming to Socorro for years. They clearly know the above and below water territory from 1st hand experience - no reading a chart and guessing with this operation. I'd go back in a minute with Solmar V in the December-January time frame and hope to see more scallopped hammerheads or wait until March-April and hope for some freediving with humpback moms and babes. But the Giant Pacific Mantas are the ones that stole the show on our trip - including the biggest that we named, Darth Vader, for his near all black color - who followed us 70 miles one night when we moved from Roca Partido to Isla San Benedicto - I think he must have been having as much fun with the divers as we were shooting hundreds of images of him. If your travel budget is tight and you are undecided, the extra this one costs is worth every penny. Save your money and do it.
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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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