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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Revillagigedos (Socorro) Is.

March, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Ken Mostello, MA, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 961
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Sea of Cortez, Bonaire, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Florida Keys, Southern
California, New England
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
71   to 74    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deco, 130 ft. maximum.  Sit out 24 hours of diving if violated.  Buddy
diving required, but not strictly enforced.  No diving after drinking.  No
riding or chasing mantas.  No night diving.  

Mexican law forbids gloves, lights, and knives on dives in Revillagigedos
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Cameras only table in dive area with separate storage underneath for camera
cases.  Dive masters happy to hand cameras to divers after entering water. 
Ample electrical outlets and compressed air available.  No E-6 processing.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
2 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
The Revillagigedos Islands (informally know as Soccoro Islands) are located
230 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  There are 3 small islands in
this group (Soccoro, San Benedicto, and Clarion) and Roca Partida, a small
rocky pinnacle.  The Solmar V is the only live-aboard to dive these
islands.  A permit is required from the Mexican government to go there, and
the boat is required to check in at the naval base on Socorro Island once
during each trip.  The boat does not typically travel to Clarion Island due
to the distance, and diving at Roca Partida is subject to favorable sea
conditions.   The crossing takes between 22 and 26 hours.  Our eight day
trip provided time for 19 dives.

The quality of service and professionalism of the crew on the Solmar V is
second to none.  Beds were made by the steward on all diving days and
linens were changed once during the trip.  

The dive briefings were sufficiently detailed, and the dive masters eager
to help.  All were fluent in English. The diving restrictions imposed were
not unduly onerous considering the remoteness of the islands.  Evacuation
to the nearest recompression chamber takes about 24 hours.  Night dives
were not allowed due to the strong currents and the aggressiveness of the
sharks at night.

The food quality was superb, consisting of traditional Mexican cuisine as
well as American dishes.  The cabin accommodations include private heads
and showers and TV/VCR units, but the cabins themselves were tiny and there
was very little headroom between the bunks.  These accommodations were
definitely not for those with claustrophobic tendencies.

The quality of diving in Socorro is variable, and depends greatly on the
season, sea conditions and plain dumb luck.  The main attractions are large
pelagics, including mantas, seven varieties of sharks, including whale
sharks, and dolphins and whales.  The reefs are all rocky and volcanic with
few macro photo subjects, so finding the large marine life is the principal
objective of each dive.  We were consistently able to find mantas at well
known sites like "The Boiler" at San Benedicto.  The mantas were
large, plentiful, and eager to interact with divers.  

White tip sharks could be found in small caves and crevices.  There were
occasional encounters with Galapagos sharks, yellow-fin tuna, and wahoo,
especially at Roca Partida.  Schools of scalloped hammerheads were seen at
The Canyon at San Benedicto.  Silkies were found on a few occasions near
the surface. 

Humpback whales were sighted many times from the boat but kept there
distance from the divers and the pursuing pangas.  No whale sharks were
seen on this trip.

Socorro diving is not for newly certified divers.  Currents are strong at
times, and most of the diving is deeper than 90 feet.  Manta encounters are
usually made in blue water conditions where bouyancy skills are important. 
Also, the frequent shark encounters, including the occasional tiger shark
(not seen on this trip) may not be for everyone.  However, for the
adventurous diver who wants to see large marine animals a short flight from
home, I would strongly recommend Socorro.

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Diving Guide to Mexico (Western)
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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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