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Dive Review of Solmar V/n/a in
Mexico (Western)/Socorro Islands

April, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Daniel Mann, Ohio, USA (1 report)
Report Number 2816

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Reporter
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Over 20 liveaboard trips throughout Caribbean, Mexico, Sea of Cortez,
Socorro Islands, Hawaii, Australia, Coral Sea, Bahamas, Turks/Caicos,
Florida Keys 

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, dry  
Seas
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
71   to 75    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
4
Water Visibility
70   to 120    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
130 ft max depth; surface with >500 psi; stay with divemaster/guide when
diving from inflatable; could dive own profile when diving from mother ship  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
Squadrons 
Dolphins
Schools 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
1 or 2 
Whales
>2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
Dedicated rinse tank for cameras refilled with fresh water daily. 
Dedicated camera table had adequate space for all photographers onboard. 
Suitable recharging stations provided for batteries.  Good digital
equipment onboard for digital still and video cameras.
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
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
2 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
     The Solmar V is a well-maintained liveaboard based out of Cabo San
Lucas.  You must make your own arrangements for transportation from the
airport to the boat once you arrive at airport (not a big hassle but allow
~1 hr once you clear customs to get to the boat).  The open ocean crossing
from Cabo to the Socorro Islands takes more than 24 hrs and some passengers
were sea sick.  Once at the islands, seas were quiet and no one had any
problems.  Sleeping quarters were typical liveaboard size (adequate bunk
beds, small bathroom in each cabin, limited storage so pack light).  Food
was plentiful and tasty. Crew was helpful and attentive.
     Seeing giant manta rays (20 ft wing span) is virtually guaranteed on
this trip.  Every diver had the opportunity to dive with multiple mantas as
well as six different species of sharks on nearly every dive.  Several
divers had repeated up-close manta encounters when the manta stopped
directly above and the diver was able to stroke the manta's underbelly.  
     The highlight of the trip happened on the last two days at the Roca
Partida dive site when a mother humpback whale (~42 ft) and her baby (~15
ft) stayed around the Solmar V for two full days.  At the end of each dive,
we left our BC/tanks/regs on the inflatable and snorkeled with mother and
baby humpback.  The mother allowed the baby to surface repeatedly among the
snorkelers and at times you literally found yourself looking into the baby
whale's eye only 2 feet away.  This was an awe inspiring experience that
happened four times over the last two days.  It is hard to state in words
the emotions that you feel when interacting with a sentient being such as a
humpback whale but some described this trip as a life-altering experience. 

     This was my second trip on the Solmar V and while this trip's
extraordinary humpback experience cannot be predicted for future Solmar V
trips, I would certainly recommend this itinerary to any experienced diver
who is looking for "big animal" encounters.  Many dives resulted
in spotting schools of hammerhead sharks, as well as 5 other species of
sharks (white tips, silkies, silver tips, duskies, and Galapagos).  We also
had several opportunities to enter a rocky cavern and lay beside 5-10
"sleeping" white tip reef sharks (great photos!).  Pods of
dolphins often made passes through the divers but didn't hang around very
long.  Huge schools of fish often were dense enough to block out the sun. 
Macro photo opportunities were also plentiful.  Those who enjoy diving at
night should be aware that the Socorro Islands area is protected by Mexican
regulations that prohibit night diving.  
     Overall I would give this boat and the Socorro Islands itinerary 4 out
of 5 stars.
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All Mexico (Western) Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Mexico (Western)
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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