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

Solmar V, Jun, 2013,

by Randall S Preissig, TX, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 37 reports with 15 Helpful votes). Report 7022.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 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 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Solmar V has a well earned reputation for "big stuff" diving. We saw 2 whale sharks(15 ft), medium sized mantas (10 ft.), huge Galapagos Sharks(5-10 ft), and scores of white tips and silkies with a few silver tips and a couple of schools of hammerheads. Dophins "played" with us on several dives. On one dive a couple were really playing(mating). They broke off, swam over towards me, re coupled and proceeded to swim enjoined right past me as if to say.... I've had some fantastic manta experiences in Kona and Indonesia so I was hoping to see the giant mantas Socorro is famous for on this trip. Alas, they didn't show, but "regular" sized 10' mantas were on several dives. The mantas, mobula, whale sharks, dolphins and other fish did not mind us swimming with them--to a point. Once in awhile a photographer would take off after one trying to get the perfect shot(looking at their tonsils?) and scare them off, but that was rare. The divers on this boat were generally very experienced--several with thousands of dives. The largest school of fish I've ever seen swam by--yellowtail tuna from 1.5 to 3' in length for HOURS. They were at the beginning of our first dive and continued 3 hours later through our second dive. Very encouraging to see a school of this size still exists. Other large schools of Jacks, yahoos, creole fish, etc were routinely seen at Roca Partida. The trip was advertised as a "Bait Ball Special", but we didn't see even one. It seems that the diving is far richer at Roca Partida than at the other islands, and you should ask your captain to maximize your time there. Socorro and San Benedicto Islands, although sometimes having mantas, will be a let down after Roca Partida. My log book rated one of the dives at Roca as one of my 5 best ever, and I have been blessed with some amazing dives over the last 35 years. The big stuff was great, and the variety of big stuff seen was the best I've ever experienced on a single trip--and I've been to Galapagos, Cocos, etc. If you are experienced enough to handle sometimes significant currents and haven't filled out your bucket list of big things to see, I highly recommend a trip to the Socorro Islands.
The crew was VERY experienced, courteous and capable. The dive masters were excellent and seemed excited about every dive. Food was good and plenty was available. The ship is old and has a few faults. The cabins are small even by liveaboard standards and have almost NO storage space. Pack accordingly! Second, the boat is SLOW, taking 24+ hours to make the 250 mile trip from Cabo. This significantly impacts the number of dives you can make on your 8 night trip. We only made 17 dives--by far the least I've ever made on a trip of this length. This was compounded by a late departure(which is routine) on the first day. Our first day of diving(second day of the trip) consisted of a "check out dive" at 5pm at our overnight anchorage site. If we had left at noon we could have made 3 dives when we arrived the second day. On our trip the night before the trip was in a hotel owned by Solmar, so we could have left at anytime the next day(first day of the trip). Supposedly due to the deep dives sometimes required to see the hammerheads, most days were limited to 3 dives--a disappointment to me after coming so far and spending so much. "Stretching" the day with the first dive BEFORE a full breakfast could have easily allowed 4 dives on any day with the option to limit yourself to 3 if your profile demanded. I believe that other boats diving the area offer 4 dives at Roca Partida. If you add $1,000+ travel, tip, etc. dollars to the $3200 cost of the trip, this comes out to over $250 a dive, plus 10 total days of vacation time--a significant investment. On the other hand, I would rate this trip comparable to Cocos and even Galapagos, and it is certainly easier to do and cheaper than either of those. I will be back.
Websites Solmar V   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Raja Amphat, Komodo, Thailand, Burma, Sipadan, Palau, Truk, Fiji, Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, Tahiti(including Ringora and others, Marquesas, Ponape, Hawaii, Galapagos, Cocos, Red Sea, Bonaire, Cozumel, Caymans, Belize, Bahamas, Belize, Virgin Islands, Fl. Keys, PNG
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 73-75°F / 23-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No decompression diving. Please hold to 60 minutes, but sometimes exceeded without grief.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 5 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 Large camera table. No compressed air. "Dry"/camera only rules not strictly enforced but not a real problem.
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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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