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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Sea of Cortez

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Steve Maguire, OH, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 1890
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Caribean, Pacific
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
85   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Must stay above 130 ft.  Diving from pangas and night dives restricted to
50 minutes.  No deco diving.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 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  
The camera table was crowded, and there were only four working outlets, but
only two of the outlets were ever used.  Most overcrowding came from strobe
arms not being folded down.  Two big camera rinse tanks, although at least
once I was told someone dunked their wetsuit in the camera bucket as my
housing was soaking.  There was a great deal to shoot, so most people had
photo gear of some kind, and to my knowlege, there was no dammage reported
on the crowded surface of the table.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
I dedided to dive the Sea of Cortez aboard the Solmar V to see something
different from the Caribean Liveaboards I have done.  I was not
dissapointed.  The life here was significantly different.  The highlight of
the trip was the sea lions.  We encountered them at three or four
locations, the biggest colony was at Los Islotes.  The young sea lions were
eager to enter the water and cavort with divers.  They would chew plafully
on fingers, fins, and cameras if given the chance, and encouraging them
with your own acrobatics made them even more entertaining.  One day we
skipped two afternoon dives to look for reported whale sharks in La Paz
Bay.  To my surprise we found them, and spent several hours snorkeling with
them from the boat's pangas.  There were no hammerheads present at El Bajo,
but the site is pretty good without them.  I have never seen green morays
in these numbers before.  There were hundreds of green morays with multiple
heads (up to five) in many of the crevices.  Most of the sites also
featured clouds of schooling fish that range from very small to medium
sized, getting progessively larger as you get away from the structure.  It
was a profusion of life.  In general, most of the things I saw were in
larger numbers and sizes than ther caribean counterparts, with quite a few
things I had never seen before.
The boat itself was very comfortable, although I think the air conditioning
was pushed to its limits.  My cabin was usually warmer than I would like it
until the middle of the night when the cabin ac finally caught up.  The
crew and the food were all definitely up to luxury liveaboard standards.
The dive deck was well laid out, except for the last 4 spots on each side. 
I was assigned one of these stations, where the main cabin started and we
were on the outside walkway, and on the other side of us was the wetsuit
storage.  So each time I leaned down to access my gear, I would have to
stop and let somebody through to get their wetsuit.  That got a little
annoying.  But the divemasters were good, and the diving itself was great
by my standards.  Even in August we hit some distinct thermoclines on many
dives, usually below 60 feet, but surface temps were in the mid 80's.  
With storage in the cabins very scarce, I would recommend packing even
lighter than usual for a liveaboard.
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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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