The Revillagigedos Archipelago
The Revillagigedos Archipelago, more commonly called Socorro is located in the eastern Pacific Ocean approximately 250 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – at the tip of the Baja peninsula. These islands have been compared to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador or Cocos Island in Costa Rica because of the big animal encounters they provide.
The Revillagigedos Islands consist of 4 islands – San Benedicto Island, Socorro Island, Roca Partida and Clarion. The group is called Socorro. They are wild, remote and unpredictable and have been called the Mexican Galapagos. This area is famous for up close and personal encounters with the Giant Pacific manta ray, which can grow to 22 feet from wingtip to wingtip. The operators of the SOLMAR V Liveaboard have been interacting with these gentle giants since 1992 and as a result of having worked with several manta researchers over the years, they have extensive ID’s on most of them and special relationships with many of them. The interaction with these awesome creatures is initiated by the mantas themselves and their continued willingness to interact with divers is surely due to the respect shown for them over the years. San Benedicto is by far the best location in the world to experience and photograph these gentle giants. The feeling of a wild animal this large deliberately interacting with you is something you will never forget.
There are lots of sharks in the Revillagigedos Islands - hammerhead schools, white tips, silver tips, silkies, duskies, Galapagos and occasionally tigers, with up encounters of up to 7 species on a single dive! As with the Cocos here too several hammerhead cleaning stations exist. Whale sharks are a special treat at the islands, common in November/December and late April/May. Encounter pods of wild bottlenose dolphin on a regular basis and from January through March, these islands are home to a large population of humpback whales, that come here to breed and calve. Several newborn humpbacks have been observed in the years Solamar V has been fortunate enough to visit these remote and pristine islands. In the last few years the frequency of underwater encounters with humpbacks has increased dramatically. The scientists who visit the Revillagigedos Islands every year to study the migrating whale population say that after twelve years of encountering the SOLMAR V, the humpbacks now recognize the vessel with improving underwater encounters. Add to the mix extremely large tuna (the world record yellowfin is from these waters), wahoo, thick schools of jacks and many other big critters along with endemic tropicals found nowhere else in the world, and you have the BEST BIG ANIMAL DIVING ON EARTH!!
Departing from Ensenada,
Mexico, this is the newest dive adventure in the Baja California
area. In 2005, Solmar V teamed up with Great White Adventures
in order to provide guests the opportunity to view the apex
predator of the sea – the great white shark.
Located in the Pacific Ocean
approximately 180 miles west of Ensenada, Mexico, Guadalupe Island
is rapidly becoming the world’s best location for diving with great
white sharks. The visibility is often more than 100’ and the water
temperature averages between 65F-70F. This is cage diving at its
most exciting and, because you will be using surface supplied air
(hookah) instead of scuba tanks, you do not need to be a certified
scuba diver in order to participate in these trips. These 5 day
trips are shorter than the other diving excursions so they are
perfect for a great mini-vacation.
V, in conjunction with Great White Adventures, also offers
submersible cage diving on our Guadalupe Island expeditions.
The submersible cage allows us to
descend a little further into the world of the great white shark.
Although the submersible cage is only 20' below the surface of the
water, it provides a completely different perspective to your great
white shark diving experience. These spectacular dives are available
to certified scuba divers only. A Great White Adventures safety
diver escorts one diver at a time on these 20 minute dives. We
rotate all certified divers who wish to experience the submersible
cage as many times as conditions will allow. The view offered by the
submersible cage is a photographers dream come true. You are
actually surrounded on all sides by the apex predator of the sea. We
have had an exceptional response from our guests about how
phenomenal this experience is. Both professional and amateur
photographers rave about the different angles available to capture
the mighty great white sharks of Guadalupe Island.
The Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez is also home to many endemic species, such as the Cortez angelfish and Cortez damselfish, found nowhere else in the world. You also encounter whale sharks, hammerheads, orcas, whales and dolphins. Solmar V has been diving the amazing Sea of Cortez since 1984.
The Sea of Cortez is located between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland of Mexico. It is one of the youngest and most fertile seas on earth, containing over 850 species of reef fish. The beautiful, tranquil sea has much to offer – large schools of tropicals, jacks, tuna, dorado, wahoo, marlin, stingrays, turtles, playful resident California sea lions, several types of moray eels, lobster, octopus, frogfish, sharks, mantas, and the famous flying mobulas of the Sea of Cortez.
Dive the infamous offshore seamounts like El Bajo and Gordo Banks or dive the largest living coral reef on the western side of North America, Cabo Pulmo.
The water temp is usually between 74F - 84F during our visits into the Sea of Cortez and the visibility ranges from 50 - 100+ ft. The dates of these trips vary each year but usually run in June, July and October, depending on the dates of our boatyard haul-out and the dates of Solmar’s Guadalupe Island great white shark trips.
This area is usually calm and the distance between dive destinations is not far. Although there are some advanced dives most of the diving is moderate. This is a great trip for those looking for a live-aboard experience in calm water with both big and small marine animal encounters. There is something special about the Baja peninsula and diving the Sea of Cortez – a living desert wilderness spilling into the spectacular Sea of Cortez.
The Solmar V is one of the most luxurious live-aboard dive vessels in the world
This is the only luxury live-aboard dive vessel departing from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico—well within range of the most exciting diving in the Sea of Cortez and Soccoro Islands. The Solmar V travels with a crew of 10 and a maximum of 22 divers. Side scanning sonar, multiple radar systems and the most modern electronic marine technology package provide an excellent compliment to an experienced crew. Twin compressors, with cascade storage for fast filling, provide guests with an endless air supply and quick fills between dives. Two main engines and three full-time generators power the Solmar V to a top cruising speed of 11 knots. Two freshwater makers produce 1,600 gallons per day, more than adequate for its passenger capacity.
Solmar V Accommodation - A Luxury Liveaboard with character
As a guest, you will receive unmatched service and comfort while experiencing the best big animal diving on earth! There are no dormitory-style rooms available on the Solmar V—luxury and comfort are the specialty. This vessel was specifically designed with your comfort in mind. The interior of the Solmar V is outfitted in brass, rich mahogany, granite table tops and is completely carpeted. It is a gracious and beautiful boat. The salon comfortably seats all the guests and offers a large-screen HDTV, VCR, DVD player and stereo system.
Each mahogany-detailed stateroom features air conditioning with individual controls, a private head, sink and shower and a TV/DVD player for your enjoyment.
All staterooms have top-of-the-line "Pillow-Top" mattresses and down pillows, and new carpet.
New SEA WAVE Sat Phone and Email System
Whilst the satellite phone systems is prioritised for emergency use, Solmar V offer a brand new SEA WAVE communications system which will allow much better access via phone and email. If you're interested in email, you may sign up before you leave for your trip and have email sent to your Solmar V Sea Wave account. All online and easy.
Computer stations are available for use by guests for checking email, downloading and archiving images, and image processing using Adobe Photoshop.
Dining Aboard Solmar V
You will be well-fed from the time you set foot on board until the time you leave. Arriving guests are greeted with snacks and a welcome Margarita.
Each day the early risers can start with fresh, hot coffee or tea. Before the first dive passengers are served their choice of continental or hot breakfast, both if you like.
At lunchtime, divers come back to the lounge for a delicious 3-course lunch which includes fresh homemade soup, a hot entree and desert. During the day there is always fresh fruit available, hot chocolate and a never-ending supply of guacamole. Fresh produce and local ingredients are laid out as much as possible.
‘’We realize that our diving experience is like
no where else on earth, so we may opt
to keep the dive deck open through lunch on
days where the experience is extraordinary’’.
Following the afternoon dives our Chef will have snacks waiting, which leads to happy hour. There is plenty of Mexican beer and Chilean wine on board and there is no additional charge for either. If you like Tequila be sure to try Pepe's Margaritas. They are world-class!
Every night divers will enjoy a sumptuous 3-course dinner served with a house "white" and "red.
Diving From Solmar V
Guests have said that Solmar V is one of the most user-friendly boats they've been on. When the vessel visits the Sea of Cortez or Socorro diving is sometimes done from the pangas and sometimes from the Solmar V, depending on the dive site and conditions. The Divemasters will let you know the plan when you arrive at each location. Typically divers are divided up into two groups, each with their own panga. A simple back roll and you're enjoying the wonders each dive provides. Your panga driver stays within sight of your bubbles throughout the dive. Each pangas has a sturdy side ladder so you can don your gear in the water and easily climb up after your dive. Guests may also dive directly from the Solmar V. There are entry gates on both sides of the vessel, as well as custom-built double swim steps, very popular with all divers; getting in and out of the water very easy. The helpful crew is always there to assist.
The Dive Deck
The dive deck is very spacious and designed for flow and ease of use, even with a full load. The dive stations are positioned around the outside of the dive deck. You don't need to carry your tanks around at any time during your vacation. The crew will fill your tank between dives and move your gear to or from the panga if needed for the next dive. There is also plenty of room on both sides to hang your wetsuits.
At the center of the dive deck is a huge multi-level camera table, complete with charging stations and an air gun. There are also plenty of charging stations inside the lounge.
At the back of the dive deck are four large rinse bins; two for rinsing gear and two separate bins for cameras. There are also two fresh water showers so you can rinse off after getting out of the water. Fluffy towels are provided and fresh drinking water is always available on the dive deck.
Nitrox 32/36% is available on board. The Scuba Instructors can provide training on board for those guests who wish to use Nitrox and are not currently certified.
Solmar V Sample Itinerary Socorro
DAY 1: Departure from Cabo San Lucas about 4 p.m. to San Benedicto Island.
DAY 2: Arrival at San Benedicto about 1-2 p.m.(crossing takes 22-24 hours) rest of the afternoon is spent diving.
DAY 3: Day is normally spent diving around San Benedicto and considering weather possibilities for a crossing to Roca Partida. After sunset boat departs to Socorro Islands - crossing takes 4-5 hours. On occasion if weather looks good we might decide to try Roca before Socorro.
DAY 4: Arrival Socorro Island early a.m. then quick check in at Navy Base for clearance. Most of this day is spent diving around Socorro Island. If conditions are good here or it is humpback whale season we might stay another day but usually we depart back to either San Benedicto or Roca Partida after sunset.
DAY 5: Arrival early a.m. to San Benedicto or Roca Partida, with diving all day.
DAY 6, 7: These days are spent diving numerous sites around San Benedicto and/or Roca Partida depending on weather and if we have been able to get to Roca Partida previously. Both islands known for most of the large animal encounters on our trips. Departure after a full day of diving on day 7 back to Cabo.
DAY 8: Arrival to Cabo after a 22+ hour crossing, depending on weather conditions, which means the boat usually arrives after sunset on this day. Guests overnight in port and disembark the next morning after breakfast onboard. Our dock has a great location near town for those who want to get off and stretch their legs or visit the local night spots.
DAY 9: All clients must disembark after breakfast no later than 9 a.m. Our crew will help you with your bags and in arranging airport transportation.
This is a general itinerary that is adjusted on a trip by trip basis according to weather and marine life. Having dived this area since 1992, our crew and boat are familiar with the changing conditions and knowledge to maximize your BIG animal experience.
Solmar V Sample Itinerary Sea of Cortez
DAY 1: Depart San Lucas about 4 pm local time stopping at Lands End to take pictures of the famous Arch & Sea Lion Colony found there.
DAY 2: Arrive Cabo Pulmo (largest living coral reef on western side of North America) very early in the morning and start diving after breakfast, spend the day diving the reefs of Cabo Pulmo Marine Sanctuary. Then head north to Espiritu Santos Island. Note: Early in the season we sometimes skip Cabo Pulmo on the way up and stop on the way back.
DAY 3: Dive at El Bajo Seamount for large pelagics in the morning and dive with the Sea Lion Colony at Los Islotes in the afternoon.
DAY 4 & 5: These days are spent diving the Las Animas, La Reynita, San Diegito Island area and other secret spots, determined by weather conditions and where marine life encounters will be best for that particular time of year. Our crew has grown up on these waters and has a real feel for the area.
DAY 6: Depending on how the water conditions and marine life have been either stay in the El Bajo/Los Islotes area or move down towards Cerralvo Island. Regardless this evening we depart back to Cabo Pulmo so we are there early morning.
DAY 7: Dive Cabo Pulmo at different dive sites than previously dived. These reefs are so extensive you could dive here a week and not repeat dive sites. Depart back to San Lucas in the evening after a full day of diving. Arrive in Cabo late at night.
DAY 8: Disembark around 9 AM, after breakfast on this day after a great week of diving.
As with any itinerary that takes advantage of weather conditions, marine life, etc., this is not written in stone and is subject to change. Occasionally, we will stop at the Gordo Banks sea mount off of San Jose Del Cabo but this depends on weather conditions and group experience (Gordo is a small, open water seamount at 110‘ minimum depth, 5 miles offshore). On our Sea of Cortez trips, you can expect an interesting combination of large pelagics and schools of tropicals, along with Pacific schooling gamefish. These trips are suitable for all levels of scuba experience.
RATES IN US DOLLARS INCLUDES: 8 day/7 night or 9 day/8 night (depending on itinerary as above) cruise on board SOLMAR V, accommodation in a twin sharing cabin, unlimited diving - Full board - Snacks - Beverages including soft drinks, beer, and wine with dinner (any others alcoholic drinks are extra)- Transfers from hotel/Solmar V/Airport.
RATE DOES NOT INCLUDE : International flights which will be calculated at the time of booking - 1 night before your Liveaboard in 4 star SOLMAR SUITES at Cabo
San Lucas in double/twin sharing room, including breakfast, Mexican tax 10% of cruise value, crew tips (Solmar V recommends 8% of cruise value), and any other personal extras.
Solmar Suites, Cabo San Lucas
Bask in the sun at Solmar Suites, the "most Cabo" resort at Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. This secluded, deluxe oceanfront property is located along Playa Solmar where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. Blessed by the most enchanting and romantic location in Baja California, Solmar Suites now offers unexcelled accommodations and amenities for its guests.
The intimate size of the Solmar Suites makes for the perfect getaway or an extraordinary Mexican adventure. You will be surrounded by unmatched privacy and beauty and still be less than one mile from the shopping, restaurants, marina, and nightlife of Cabo San Lucas. Solmar Suites offers a cornucopia of delights and activities for a wide range of guests. This first-class resort provides fishing with the world-famous Solmar Fishing Fleet and scuba diving tours with Amigos del Mar. This is the perfect starting point before your cruise and for those who have the time we recommend 2 nights before your Solmar V departure.
Satellite TV, in-room safe, servi-bar, & air-conditioning
Multi-bedding arrangements & room service
All tile-bathroom with shower & tub
Studio category and up include kitchenettes
Oceanfront units have beach entry patio or private balcony on second floor
2 super-heated swimming pools w/ swim-up bars
1 aqua-aerobics pool for lap swimming
15-person oceanfront jacuzzi
Lighted tennis court
Complete fitness center with massage services
World class restaurant & lounge
2 off-site hotel owned restaurants within walking distance
Nightly mariachi entertainment
Solmar Suites Rates
10/01/09 - 19/12/09