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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)

Solmar V, Mar, 2007,

by Peggy and William Goldberg, FL, USA . Report 3351.

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

Weather sunny, dry Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 70 to 75 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
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
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales >2
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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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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