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

Solmar V: "Great Liveaboard and amazing operation", Nov, 2016,

by Maria Chapman, TX, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 9358.

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 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This is a super well run operation and it is obvious both boat and crew are very experienced and work really well as a team.

Its starts with great customer service and information when you book with them. Colleen is friendly and efficient with both verbal and email communications.

We were greeted by Matt at the Hampton Inn San Diego (preferred hotel for the trip) who proceeded to give us information about the coach trip and what to expect in general. Great and friendly customer service with added photography tips for those who wanted to listen. On the coach trip Carlos (the guide) and Rogelio (the driver) were super accommodating of all our needs an were super helpful with the border crossing and kept the trip interesting and funny until we got to the Marina in Ensenada where we were transferred to the care of the Solmar V crew.

Captan Gerardo started with crew introductions and cabin assignments, then general boat and trip instructions as well as connecting a safety emergency drill. Great and very detailed instructions were given in regards to the cages, logistics, the sharks and what is known about them so far. Our crossings to/from Ensenada were very windy and a bit rough, so most of the guests spent most of the crossing time sleeping. The boat has ample supplies of anti emetic medication for those who need it.

Chef Tony produces delicious food and snacks and the crew is always there to assist with questions and help serve food and drinks. All are great at what they do and this is one of the safest operations we have encountered in our trips.

The time spent in the cages is scheduled ahead, but as time goes by, one can spend additional time in surface cages when there is an empty spot. All air is supplied by hookah both for surface and submersible cages. Added pony bottles with regs are supplied when in the submersible cage. There is always someone watching that the lines do not get tangled and keeping an eye for the wellbeing of those in the cages. There are go-prsos attached to the inside of the cages, so even when on the boat one can see what goes on underwater. On this trip, we anchored at two different sites due to windy conditions and visibility got incredibly better on the second spot. The crew acting as wranglers with the bait did a great job keeping the sharks interested and around the cages for us to see them.

Water was in the high 60s and low 70s and customers can rent adequate suits prior to the trip. The shop that is suggested by the sales office has someone waiting at the hotel with additional suits in case the ordered sizes are not al good fit. The camera table on the boat is well laid and was adequate for this trip as there were few big DSLR rigs and most had go-pros on sticks or small trays.

This was a trip of a lifetime for those who love sharks. The great whites swam close enough for incredible photos and video and we were visited by quite a variety of sizes and personalities. Some of the females were huge and appear to be as curious of us as we are about them. The crew has a wealth of information about the sharks, behavior, photo/video and the area in general.

There was a shark entering the cage incident during our trip, but the crew acted efficiently and exactly as expected while the one diver that was in the cage was experienced and also acted exactly as instructed during our very detailed briefings. The incident lasted seconds and no person was hurt. The shark appeared to have gotten some lacerations, but came back again the next day without any issues. This was clearly a perfect opportunity for education on the behavior of these magnificent animals and for us divers to gain greater respect for them. Additionally, we could not have been in better hands than the crew of Solmar V. Their actions prior, during, and after the incident were exemplary and we always knew we were safe.
Websites Solmar V   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, PNG, Indonesia, Galapagos...
Closest Airport San Diego Getting There Fly to San Diego then motor coach to Ensenada

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 67-72°F / 19-22°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 0-50 Ft/ 0-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions This was cage viewing with air supplied by hookah, not tanks.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

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 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table may not be sufficient if boat is full and all customers have big DSLR rigs with lights, but the dining tables can be used as well.
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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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