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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)

March, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Peggy and William Goldberg, FL, USA
Report Number 3351
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Cocos Island, Hawaii, All over the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida- including
the caves, springs and rivers- mostly on liveaboards where it applies..
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
70   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
AS we dove Nitrox, our depths were restricted by the mix- generally at
32-34%- but we were responsible for out own profiles  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 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  
The Solmar V provided a large camera table- there was no specific charging
station, so you could charge at any outlet- they had 2 big camera rinse
tanks- and the crew was very good about handling your equipment after the
dive. Because we dove from Pangas- the cameras were set on the floor until
we got back to the big boat. We only made a few dives directly from the
boat. They have a computer on board if you didn't bring a laptop, to
download your photos. Bring your own CD's/DVD/s- ,a lot of people brought
their own laptop, as I did.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 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    
We dove 250 miles southwest of the Baja Peninsula- out of Cabo San Lucas-
to the Revillagigedo Archipeligo - also known as the Socorro Islands. They
dive 3 of the islands- San Benedicto, Roca Partida, and Socorro.The Solmar
V office arranged for everything on our trip- from the pickup at the
airport, to our hotel- which was simple, clean, and inexpensive - to
picking us up at the hotel to get to the boat. They even took us back to
the hotel after the trip, and arranged for the shuttle to the airport for
our return.
The rooms on the boat are small - the bottom double bed for my husband and
I was long enough (we're tall), but difficult to get out of because of a
protruding wall- the top bunk a single, where we stored our clothes, etc.
We heard from other passengers that they had trouble turning over in the
top bunk, especially if they were broad shouldered.
The food was fantastic, and as we did not night dive,(because of currents
and sharks) wine was served each night with dinner.
That said, we dove 4 times per day- and unlike some liveaboards, where you
could dive anytime you wanted, they had to have a more rigid schedule as
they had to dive from the pangas ( zodiacs). There were 2 pangas in the
water at all times- 2 groups of divers- so we really didn't run into the
other group much.
Expect typical volcanic seamounts - no soft corals, few hard corals and
encrusting sponges - so there is not as much color- currents, surges, can
be strong and change unexpectedly -(I was at 60', and suddenly found myself
at 95'- and we only had to deploy our safety sausages once), but there are
lots of indigenious tropical fish, moray eels, lobsters, schools of jacks,
tuna, wahoo, humphead hogfish, and oh, yes, the reason we came here - to
dive with 20' manta rays, sharks (we saw 4 out of the 7 species- Galapagos,
Silvertipped, Hammerheads, Whitetipped. Tigers, Silkys and Duskys are also
seen), and Dolphins, and Humpbacked Whales and their babies! 
We heard the whales song on most dives - and even though they stayed just
out of our visible sight underwater, we were treated to their breaching,
skyhopping, tail slapping, right by the boat all day! We saw the mantas,
sharks, and dolphins on every dive! The pangas would sometimes take us near
the whales for possible snorkeling encounters, but the mothers were
protective of the babies - as they should be, so we had to just enjoy the
experience on the water with them. The diving is high energy- you must be
comfortable with changing strong currents, and doing your safety stop in a
current in the blue in thousands of feet of water,waiting to be picked up,
( with the hammerheads and the whales),  - but that's why you go there in
the first place - to see these magnificent animals.
The trip was 9 days- the crossing to the Socorros is between 26-30 hours.
Cabo San Lucas is a tourist town of resorts, shopping and spring breakers -
a day there for us was enough to see everything- and take a small boat out
to the arch, sea lions and remote beach at Land's End. Cabo for us was just
a place to meet the boat. 
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