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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Guadalupe

Solmar V: "Guadalupe Great Whites Awesome", Aug, 2017,

by Jeanne Sleeper, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 9740.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Just back from a Solmar V great white shark trip to Guadalupe Island, Mexico.
Have previously gone on Solmar V to Socorro and liked their operation: seamanship, vessel condition, staff, dive practices, operations and attitude - so they were an easy choice to travel with again. Heading out on a 20 hour run offshore, the vessel and captain quality and competence are my #1 consideration. Solmar V once again demonstrated great seamanship. Many of their crew has worked together for 5-10 years and they function like mind-meld team. The chef has been there 8 years and the meals he turns out in that small galley are amazing. Top quality ingredients, well prepared, nicely plated - when most every plate is clean at the end of dinner, it is a good indicator of a tasty, well prepared meal. The cabins are compact, but have in suite bathroom with a "shower over the toilet" system. The Solmar instructions suggest you use a duffle bag type suite case, instead of a hard side suitcase - GREAT advice. There is no place in the cabin to store a hard side suitcase. You only take mask, wetsuit, hood and gloves dive gear. The boat supplies weights and surface supplied air. The dive gear and minimal clothes needed easily fit in a soft side bag.
The variables that the boat and crew can not control are the trip's question marks - visibility, surge & surface chop (big impact on how much the cages move around) sunny or cloudy (big impact on photography) and animal cooperation. Sharks coloring blend into the sea really well. Many times I got surprised from sharks being out of sight and quickly being 20 ft away. Sharks usually came solo and there often long gaps of time looking at blue water. No pattern - one hour no sharks, next hour a shark every 15 minutes. If you are holding up a big DSLR "in position" ready for a shot, for a long time while jostling around with cage movement and trying to not smack into other divers in the cage, it can be tedious. Worse is to be "ready" in a high gap in the bars and the shark comes in low and you need to be on your knees in a low window for the shot. Extracting the big rig from the top gap and getting into the low gap - fast- is tough. If I do the trip again, I'll bring a small camera set up to use when in a cage with 4 divers and save the big rig for when in the submersible cage with a max of 2 divers & 1 divemaster. Small cameras and Go Pros got some great shots on our trip when the animals were close. When the sharks were very far away, no one got great shots as they disappeared in the blue. I decided diver nimbleness with a good small camera had the advantage much of the time.
Can't say enough about the friendliness and helpfulness of the crew. Safety was #1 and making sure you had a good time was a close #2. They worked hard to wrangle in sharks close to the cages.
Later in the season there might be more animals, we saw males and the females seemed to have not arrived back at Guadalupe yet.
Our crossings were mellow both ways which was a nice luck of the draw. I would go back with Solmar V again when returning to Socorro or Guadalupe. This trip was by myself, but found the other divers whether solo, couples, buddies, or multi-generation family to be cordial and welcoming to a solo traveler. The crew really sets the tone of good hospitality and friendship for all.
Websites Solmar V   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving worldwide
Closest Airport Tiajuna or San Diego Getting There Solmar charter bus picks you up at specific San Diego hotel and goes to Ensenada where you board the boat

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 69-70°F / 21-21°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 15-30 Ft/ 5-9 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions This is shark cage diving. The surface cages were 60 minutes per session. The submersible 25 ft deep cage is 30 minutes, open to certified divers only. You can dive multiple times per day 7 am - 4 pm
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments If you want to photograph 8 - 14 ft great white sharks from a cage that has sufficient gaps in the bars to shoot a DSLR with a full dome port and 2 strobes, Solmar V is a good choice. Lots of small yellow fin and a few 30 inch plus long yellow fin around the cages on every dive. 2 well over legal minimum size calico bass hung around one day. On a 5 day trip with 3 days in the cages in mid August, early season, we saw 8 different sharks, 6 of them on more than one day. There is a lot of time standing in cage waiting for action which can be slow motion glide by or a flash to snatch the bait. Two fresh water big bins of water daily, big 2 level deck w non skid surface for cameras, plenty of 110v plugs outside by camera counters and inside the salon to charge. Great respect by the crew when camera gear handling. Big water tight Pelican boxes can stay on camera deck.
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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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