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Dive Review of Solmar V in
Mexico (Western)/Sea of Cortez

Solmar V, Sep, 2004,

by Mark Buchfuhrer, CA, USA . Report 1316.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments The cost of the diving on the Solmar V is similar to other first class live-aboards. However, the operation has much more in common with less expensive boats. They do not pick you up at the airport (I spent $80 on a taxi from the airport to the boat) and no welcome T-shirt on my bed. As noted by many others, the rooms are tiny and my son and I could not stand without touching each other (and there were actually smaller 2 person rooms!). The food was on a par with most live-aboards and quite plentiful. They did have sodas, but no juices included. Visibility was usually 10-30 feet making sightings of pelagics virtually impossible. We saw only one small white tip shark on the last day when diving in the southern most area. A whale shark was seen the week before us, but there was nothing even close on our trip. The highlights of our trip included 2-3 turtles, many seals, 2 jawfish, 7 sea horses (on one site) and one school of small baracuda. I did see 2 nudibranchs the entire trip (so much for my macro photography!). Many of the divers had been on the Solmar several times and kept saying that more pelagics were seen over 3-5 years ago. There was open diving at times from the stern of the boat, but diving from the pangas was limited to 50 mintues (that was a first for me on a live-aboard...I prefer live-aboards because they do not limit your dive time except when the must travel to the next site). There are too many divers for the 3 divemasters as with visiblity of 10 feet it was easy to get separated from the group (especially when taking pictures) and several times I ended up diving alone (despite their warning us not to dive alone) missing out on the few interesting things on the dive. I had to fight for space on the photography table and their were only 7 cameras. Imagine if all 22 divers were taking pictures! There were no secure indoor charging stations and the main area to charge was outside under dripping stairs with only 3 double sockets. As far as how pretty the reef was, fish life and photography opportunities, this has been the worst trip that I have ever taken, live-aboard or land based! The most positive aspect of the trip is the short 2 hour plane ride from southern California (where I live) to the Solmar's port in Cabo San Lucas.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving All over the world, mostly south Pacific
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, surge, currents
Water Temp 79-86°F / 26-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 10-40 Ft/ 3-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 130 feet (fine by me), but only 50 minutes when diving from pangas.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The photography table was too small for 22 divers (luckily, only about 7 cameras, but still not enough room). Only 3 outlets for charging and they are outdoors under dripping stairs.
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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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