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

Solmar V, May, 2004,

by Bruce Busfield, NJ, USA . Report 1058.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp 72 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 0 to 0 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 130' and 50 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales >2
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments It was a little over 24 hours sailing from Cabo San Lucis southward to the first of the Islas Revilla Gigedo. Also referred to as Socorro, which was the largest of four islands, this is a remote area of the Pacific visited for diving only by the Solmar V. The main attractions were manta rays and sharks, seen on almost everydive, and large schools of fish such as tuna and jacks. The bottom topography was always stark rock which made many of the local fish, in particular the orange, outlined in brilliant blue, Clarion angle fish really stand out. The crevalle jacks were also spectacular with their iridescent blue color. The Solmar V is a nicely designed dive boat that is well maintained. The crew of ten were always very enthusiastic and helpful. The food was excellent with good verity. The cabins were not big. The tiniest of them all were cabins 201 and 203, one of which I stayed in. With only a floor space of about 2'x 2'to stand on, these cabins are fine for singles but would be very tight for two. Each cabin had its own combined shower/head, so everything gets wet when the shower is used. I preferred to rinse off at one of the two showers at the back of the boat in the dive area. And the dive area was laid out as nice as any I've seen. Plenty of room for dive equipment to be stowed and lots of room for cameras on the camera table with several tiers underneath. The dive platform was great. Two wide stairs go down to the transom platform and then the same into the water. With nice flat steps and hand rails on either side it was possible to walk into the water up to your waist with all your gear on, including fins, and then cast off into the ocean! When the dive site required, dives were made from two zodiac type pangas. These were crowded and a confusion of fins, weight belts and cameras but all somehow went smoothly. We all rolled in backwards at the count of three. The panga drivers were execellent at following bubbles and retrieving divers scattered all across the ocean. Safety sausages were provided but they ran out by the time they got to me - fortunately I brought my own. Weight belts, BCD's and fins were handed up from the water making the ladder climb back up into the panga easy. All week I saw only 5 hammerheads. There were a fair number of silky and whitetips, but no Galapagos sharks to be seen. When the boat arrived at Roca Partida, a rock just sticking out of the ocean 68 miles west of Socorro Island, there was a long line fishing boat illegally within the limit of the marine preserve. Our captain radioed the Mexican Navy to complain. The next morning we awoke to see 6 bouys floating near by to mark the location of the long lines the fishing boat put out during the night. After a morning dive our panga approached within several hundred feet of the fishing boat and we watched as they pulled live sharks out of the ocean - to be finned. This is part of the marine life we came to see and they were stripping the place clean! Shortly thereafter a Mexican Navy patrol boat appeared on the horizon and seized the boat. Two days later when we returned to Socorro Island, which had the Navy base, the illegal fishing boat was still there in custody. We will never know if they were in serious trouble or eventually let go with only a small fine. One of the return divers on the trip, however, thought there were many more sharks four years ago. A highlight of the trip was snorkling with about 20 false killer whales. They swam all around us in groups of 6 or 7 in very tight formation, often swimming on their backs or side to eyeball our pathetic human group staring from above. Our snorkling activity also attracted silkys that immediately appeared when the whales moved off. When the whales returned over and over the sharks just dove down a little deeper to get out of their way. I would definitely do this remarkable trip again, but soon, while there are still big fish to be seen.
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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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