Solmar V

Join the Captain and crew of the Solmar V as it travels in search of scuba diving adventure in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A true four-season liveaboard dive boat, the Solmar V takes excellent advantage of the varying seasons and weather patterns to take passengers where dive conditions are optimal year round. Three different itineraries result in three different adventures, all equally spectacular. Traveling 250 miles (400 km.) south of Los Cabos, Mexico to the Revillagigedo Islands—also known simply as Socorro—Solmar V takes you where the Giant Pacific Manta Rays, Dolphins, Sharks, and even Humpback Whales populate the waters. Solmar V also journeys to the Sea of Cortez, one of the most fertile seas on earth. This sea is home to hundreds of species of reef fish, schooling pelagics, and the famous Flying Mobulas. Lastly, Solmar V travels to Guadalupe Island, approximately 180 miles (290 km.) from Ensenada, Mexico. Guadalupe is one of the best locations in the world to experience the thrill of diving with great White Sharks. Diving done in custom-made cages brings you face to face with these magnificent creatures. As with any liveaboard boat, itineraries on the Solmar V are dependent on prevailing sea and weather conditions, and are subject to change so as to ensure you have the best liveaboard and scuba diving experience possible.

The Revillagigedos Islands – Socorro

The Revillagigedos Islands consist of four volcanic islands: San Benedicto Island, Socorro Island, Roca Partida, and Clarion. This area is commonly referred to as Socorro. Because of the big animal encounters they provide, some also call this archipelago the Mexican Galapagos. Pelagics are the main attraction for scuba diving at Socorro. Because of its location in open, ocean waters, Socorro attracts large concentrations of big animals. You will see a variety of sharks, sometimes up to seven species on a single dive. Hammerheads, Galapagos, White- and Silver-tipped Sharks, Silkies, Duskies, and occasionally Tiger Sharks can be seen in these waters. Whale Sharks can be spotted both early and late during this dive season, in November-December and late April-May. Between January and March, the mighty Humpback Whales migrate into these waters to breed and calve. Divers may be fortunate enough to encounter these majestic creatures whose numbers in the Revillagigedos Islands appear to be increasing year after year. Other big animals you will see in these waters include Wahoo, enormous Tuna, and huge schools of Jacks.

The Solmar V’s first stop on the Socorro itinerary is San Benedicto Island. This island is about 2.6 miles (4.1 km.) long and has two prominent peaks, one of which is a ½-mile (.8 km.) wide volcanic crater. A favorite dive site here is the Boiler, a large pinnacle rising from the depths of the ocean to within just a few feet of the surface. A variety of marine life gathers here from miles around, including Whale Sharks and Tiger Sharks. With patience, you will be able to experience the magic of the giant Pacific Manta Rays. Some are as large as 22 feet (7 m.) across, and their graceful moves and acrobatics will amaze you. The Mantas often willingly and deliberately initiate interaction with divers, seemingly inviting you to swim alongside them, all of which makes for excellent photo opportunities.

Socorro Island is about 30 miles (48 km.) south of San Benedicto. Home to the Mexican Naval Station, this island is approximately 9 by 10 miles (14 by 16 km.) in size. The volcano Mt. Evermann rises in the center of the island some 3,700 feet (1,130 m.) above sea level. Dive sites you may visit at Socorro Island include Aquarium and Cabo Pearce.

Appearing to be two separate rocks rising from the sea, Roca Partida is the smallest island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, at only 115 feet (35 m.) high and 300 feet (91 m.) from one end to the other. The wall of this pinnacle, with its many shelves and ridges, drops straight down to the depths and provides refuge to the many animals that hide there. Groups of White-tipped Sharks can often be found sleeping in large caves at depths of about 40 feet (12 m.). Some divers enjoy encircling the entire pinnacle while others prefer staying in one area to simply take in the beautiful pelagics as they swim by. Here you may spot schools of Hammerhead Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, Silkies, White-tipped Sharks, giant Manta Rays, Dolphins, and occasionally Whale Sharks and Humpbacks.

To ensure guests experience unsurpassed diving, the Solmar V travels to Socorro between November and May, when weather conditions are best for sighting large pelagics. Humpback Whales migrate into these cooler waters at this time of year, and divers can often hear the mating song of the males. In November, December and early January, as well as between late April and May, water temperatures range from 75° to 80°F (24°-26.6°C). From about mid-January through early April, the water temperatures are cooler, ranging between 70° and 74°F (20°-23°C). Depending on the dive site and dive conditions, some diving at Socorro will be done from the dive deck of the Solmar V and other diving will be done from pangas. With water temperatures this cold it is recommended that you wear protection, such as a 7mm. wetsuit, a hooded vest, or a drysuit.

Guadalupe Island

Guadalupe Island is considered to be one of the premier locations in the world for spotting Great White Sharks and numerous other marine animals. From August through October, Solmar V departs from Ensenada, Mexico and travels west 165 miles (266 km.) to Guadalupe Island in the Pacific Ocean. These months are prime time for shark encounters. The waters around Guadalupe Island contain one of the most prolific populations of this apex predator of the sea—Great White Sharks—making Guadalupe Island a premier destination for diving with these magnificent creatures. The Solmar V provides guests with a quality experience on their four-night / five-day excursion to Guadalupe. They take fewer passengers on this trip than on others, which enables each guest to have maximum cage time and onboard comfort.

Submersible cage diving is available to both certified scuba divers and non-divers, as air is supplied from the surface via a hookah system. You will enjoy the shark diving adventure from inside 4-person custom-built cages, and rotate through the cages with the other guests so as to maximize everyone’s dive and shark viewing experience. The submersible cages take divers to depths of just 30 feet (9 m.) below the surface, providing an excellent perspective to view and photograph the sharks. The Great Whites will come in close proximity of the cages from all angles, even bumping up against them. Water temperatures average between 65°-70°F (18°-21°C), and visibility frequently exceeds 100 feet (30 m.).

Although Isla Guadalupe is known as one of the best sites in the world to see Great White Sharks, guests aboard the Solmar V will also have opportunities to experience many other varieties of marine life. You will be able to take an enjoyable panga ride, where you can expect to see curious, playful Sea Lions, birds, and other endemic creatures while taking in Guadalupe Island’s impressive scenery with its rocky shorelines, and high cliffs and bluffs.

Sea of Cortez

Located between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland of Mexico, the Sea of Cortez is home to many endemic species found nowhere else on earth. The diversity of both the marine life and the terrain at the Sea of Cortez provides scuba divers with a truly memorable liveaboard dive experience.

The waters in the Sea of Cortez are extremely fertile, as they contain more than 850 species of reef fish. You will be amazed with what this beautiful, tranquil sea has to offer. You will see Jacks, Wahoo, Tuna, Dorado, Marlin, Stingrays, Turtles, and the playful resident Sea Lions. You can also expect to see various types of Moray Eels, Frogfish, Lobsters, Octopi, Mantas, Sharks and the famous Flying Mobulas. The Solmar V will take you to some spectacular dive sites where you can explore offshore seamounts and enormous living coral reefs, El Bajo, Gordo Banks, and Cabo Pulmo.

Visibility at the Sea of Cortez ranges between 50 and 100 feet or more (15-30+ m.) and water temperatures average 74°-84°F (23°-29°C). The waters are usually calm, and most dives require a moderate level of scuba diving experience, although there are some advanced dives. The Solmar V usually travels to the Sea of Cortez during the months of June, July, and October. Depending on the dive site and dive conditions, some diving at the Sea of Cortez will be done from the dive deck of the Solmar V and other diving will be done from pangas.

For those interested in natural history tours, the Solmar V offers Baja Nature cruises in the Sea of Cortez on a limited availability basis. You will be able to snorkel and scuba dive at Cabo Pulmo Marine Sanctuary, the only living coral reef located on the western side of North America. This trip also takes you snorkeling with Whale Sharks in La Paz Bay. At Los Islotes, you will enjoy visiting the California Sea Lion colony where you will experience playful and inquisitive pups. Your Baja Nature cruise also provides opportunities for kayaking, hiking, and spending time on pristine white sandy beaches. An early morning visit to a mangrove lagoon lets you watch as the large bird population comes to life.

The Captain and crew of the Solmar V strive to provide scuba divers and vacationers with the highest quality and most innovative liveaboard experience possible. In addition to unmatched scuba diving, guests aboard the Solmar V will enjoy excellent accommodations and delicious meals as part of their vacation package. Their dive boats afford guests both safety and comfort as they travel to the best diving locations around the world.