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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Revillagigedo Islands

Solmar V: "Great Manta and Dolphin Encounters", Feb, 2019,

by David Marchese, PA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 27 Helpful votes). Report 10862 has 1 Helpful vote.

Photos Submitted with this Report

Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The crossing was rough but not painfully so. When we arrived at San Benedicto, the water was still rough and the currents were too strong to dive the Boiler. So we did 4 dives a day for two days at The Canyon site. We saw at least one manta on each dive along with white tips and silvertips. We also saw several hammerheads, but they mostly stayed at the limits of visibility. The currents were strong, sometimes to the point of needing to kick as hard as you could to penetrate it or resort to "rock climbing" to make headway, which wasn't easy with my DSLR rig. It also made for short dives (40-45 minutes) due to all the heavy breathing. Dive times were limited to 50 max anyway.

The next day we moved to Socorro Island. On the first dive, we had a great dolphin encounter, but on the subsequent 3 dives, we didn't see much. We went through the blue, but it was pretty empty. All three groups (22 divers total) reported the same empty blue water.

Then we departed for Roca Partida. Went I climbed out of my cabin to see the sunrise, I was shocked to see that the Solmar V was one of 5 liveaoards surrounding this tiny island! With only one dive site, the diving had to be coordinated like visits to the dentist's chair. Each boat had three time slots, which meant that there would be about 20 divers in the water continually from 7 AM to 4 PM. As one group dropped in, the other climbed out. Our first dive there was very good. We saw a school of dolphins, many white tips, schools of jacks, silver tips, Galapagos sharks, silkies, a manta, two mobula rays, tuna, and hammerheads (mostly at the viz. limits). Unfortunately, all the subsequent dives were mediocre at best. It seemed that the constant activity of divers in the water was just too much (how could it not be?), and most of the animals (except for the jacks and white tips) left for quieter waters. We spent two days and did 3 dives/day at Roca Partida. And based on all but our 1st dive there, that was more than enough time.

We returned to San Benedicto and spent our last two days (and 8 dives) at the Boiler. Fortunately, we were the only boat there, and we had excellent diving. We met a very friendly pod of dolphins on each morning dive. The pod interacted with us for several minutes each morning. We also had at least one manta (sometimes up to 3) with us on all the other dives.

There is apparently no limit on the number of liveaboards that are allowed to visit or dive these islands, and that is very disconcerting. The Palegic Fleet (owner of the Solmar V) will be launching a second ship next month, and I heard that other ships are also coming. I don't know how the diving could possibly survive that kind of pressure. Without limits on the number of boats and divers, this magical, unique destination surly won't survive.
Websites Solmar V   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caymans, Turks & Caicos, Bay Islands, Bahamas, Fiji, Saba, Maldives, California, Revillagigedo, Cozumel, Midway, Kona, Galapagos, Panama, Palau, Tahiti, Cocos, Malpelo, Tonga, PNG, Komodo, Sulawesi, Holbox, Solomon Islands, Belize, Komodo, Raja Ampat, Wakitobi, Alor, Marquesas, GBR
Closest Airport Cabo Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 75-77°F / 24-25°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 40-75 Ft/ 12-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions They split the 22 guests into 3 groups and wanted us to stay in our groups. Dive times were limited to 50 minutes (including safety stop).
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 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 The low to moderate viz made some photography difficult. Plus, most sharks (especially the hammers) kept their distance. While the dolphin encounters were fantastic, the animals are only playful in the morning when there is little light penetration so photographing them is difficult.
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Subscriber's Comments

By report author: David Marchese in PA, US at Feb 28, 2019 12:54 EST  
Edit: "...surely won't..." in my last line! :-)
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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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