Join us for a Photo Excursion
Diving the Revillagigedos Archipelago (Socorro Islands)
Aboard the Solmar V
April 12-20, 2012 9 days/8 nights*
+ one optional night in Cabo prior to departure.
not including 11% Mexican tax,
$15 chamber fee
Price is per person, double occupancy
Have you ever been face-to-face with a giant Pacific manta
ray? Would you like to twirl with a dolphin? Have you ever
heard the song of a whale?
Any one of these is a life-changing experience.
To be able to find all three and more in one dive trip is even
That's why Socorro is often called the "Mexican Galapagos".
March is the time of year when humpback whales migrate through
see whale tails and breaches all day long and will hear their
song underwater. If we get really lucky, we may even have an
us for a magical trip aboard the 112' luxury live-aboard Solmar
V. This vessel has been visiting the Socorro Islands
for over 17 years and has more experience there than any other
live-aboard. She's a gorgeous vessel with warm mahogany decor
accented with etched glass and brass. There are 12 staterooms
on board that can accommodate up to 22 divers. The cabins on
this boat are small, but there's plenty of storage area. Each
cabin has its own ensuite head and shower.
The food on the Solmar V is really good and
plentiful! Each morning we'll be served a hot breakfast made
to order. Of course
coffee, tea, cereals and fruit for the early risers. Both Lunch
and dinner are a sit-down three course meal. If we find any
particular dive area especially active, they'll keep the dive
deck open and serve up a simpler lunch, such as tacos or sandwiches,
so we can eat quick and get back in the water. There is also
plenty of snacking between meals too. On top of this, We'll
will put in our order for extra chocolate for our charter and
Margaritas for happy hour!
- Don't read this if you don't want to get sucked
We will fly into Cabo San Lucas the
day before the boat leaves port. It is possible to fly
in the same day, but its not recommended.
If you missed a flight or lost your luggage, you would
have no time to recover. That evening we'll stay at the
Quinta Del Sol in Cabo San Lucas. You'll have some time
to tour around Cabo, do some shopping or take in some
of the other activites. On the 10th we'll board the Solmar
V around 2:00 in the afternoon. Be sure to bring your
C-card and NITROX card if you plan to dive NITROX. We'll
get settled in, complete the trip paperwork, have some
and Margaritas. The boat leaves the port around 3:30-4:00.
Have your camera ready because we'll cruise right past
El Arco for some amazing photo opportunities.
The trip to Socorro is about a 22 hour
steam from the time we leave port, but the time goes
quite fast on the way out. After happy hour margaritas
and a sumptuous dinner we settle in for the night. The
next morning we enjoy a late breakfast, have plenty of
time to get our dive gear and camera put together, get
to know the other passengers, get the boat and dive briefings
out of the way, and maybe watch a movie if there's time.
Of course there are way too many interruptions by the
we pass, the dolphins that ride the bow of the boat and
the gorgeous sunset.
The first island we'll reach is San
Benedicto around 2:00 the next day. Here we'll do a check-out
dive and anchor the boat for the evening.
The next day is when the real diving
begins. We typically visit The Boiler first.
This is a pinnacle that rises to about 30' from the surface
drops down to 160'. The giant manta rays come here to
be cleaned by the Clarion angelfish. Seems like the mantas
thing us divers are a bunch of big cleaner fish too,
since they come right to us. We've also seen large schools
of jacks being bombarded by feeding
past trip we've come face to face with a humpback whale.
Sorry, but I was do dumfounded I didn't get any good
photo by Marty Snyderman, bottom right photo by Bill
Depending on the manta activity, weather,
and wind we may also visit The Canyon on the other side
of the island. This is a shallower area where mantas
and dolphins are commonly seen. On the wall side the
rocky slope is full of eels, octopus and cleaner fish.
The wall attracts Galapagos sharks, black tips, silver
tips, silky sharks and hammerheads. We've seen dolphins
here several times in past trips too! Near the shoreline
I found a huge old anchor that was so encrused with coral
it was hardly recognizable.
The next stop is either Roca Partida
or Socorro Island depending on weather and animal activity.
Roca Partida is a tiny pinnacle in
the middle of nowhere that rises about 105' out of the
Its about as long as a football field and is frosted
with a thick layer of quano. Smells horrible, but underwater
the steep wall of the rock drops down to the bottom at
is a magnet to marine life. Here we commonly see mantas,
white tip sharks, large schools of jacks and tuna, silver
tips, Galapagos shark, dolphins and sometimes even whalesharks.
Its possible to swim around this rock at least once during
one dive. Inside the rock there are caves and crevases
full of lobster, eels, cleaner fish and more. It is here
that we are most likely to get close to schooling hammerheads
also. On past trips the passengers voted to spend several
days at Roca, but we always keep our options open to
go where we'll find the best diving.
Our last island is Socorro Island.
Here we'll stop by the Mexican Navy Station to clear
customs around breakfast time, then move the boat to
The Aquarium or to Cabo Pearce, where we have been greeted
by many dolphins both on the surface and underwater.
On one trip several years ago, we dived with dolphins
for the entire dive.
After our amazing trip we head back
to Cabo San Lucas to arrive the evening of April 16.
We usually have enough time to go into town to play.
Dinner is served on the boat for those who want to stay,
or guests can go into town on their own. The food is
so good on the boat, guests usually stay onboard. The
last night is spent on the boat while she sits at the
dock and passengers disembark early the next morning,
right after breakfast. If your flight out isn't until
later, we'll arrange a day room at the Solmar Hotel to
hang out. Transports will take you back to the airport
for your trip home. :(
DIVING REQUIREMENTS: Diving
here is not for beginners. California divers do quite well
because the water
is warmer and clearer than what we're used to, but before you
decide to join this trip you need to ask yourself the following
Are you comfortable diving to 100+ feet in at least a 5mm
wetsuit and the appropriate weight?
Are you comfortable diving in bottomless
water? This means you have the skills to control your depth
and buoyancy at
all times, even when you're distracted by pesky dolphins,
mantas and sharks.
Will you make the right decisions in the event of an emergency?
Are you comfortable diving in a current or surge? Current
can pick up at some of the dive sites.
If you are afraid of sharks, dolphins,
mantas or whales we recommend you stay home, because here
you're going to get really, really close to them!
Socorro is about 22 hours away from reality, so if you
screw up, the whole boat suffers the consequences. We don't
want do discourage you. We just want to make sure that you
are comforable enough with your skills to fully enjoy what
this amazing destination has to offer.
with all my workshops we recommend that if you don't consider
your buoyancy to be perfect, you should think about leaving
your camera behind. Your safety is most important and we
About the Photo Workshops - Because the
dive, eat, sleep schedule on live-aboards is already really
intense, we'll keep the presentations to a minimum. I will
offer one presentation about how to photograph mantas on
the way out and will be available to assist through the entire
trip. I'll also be doing Photoshop mini-sessions with those
who are interested in learning the best way to process blue
water images. There is a nice wide screen TV in the lounge
of the Solmar V that I can hook my laptop to, so this makes
it possible for several people to join in on these sessions.
I have many other presentations available about topics such
as photo composition, digital workflow, image size & resolution,
and file formats. Let me know what you need and we'll tailor
the schedule for you.
Bring a still or video camera with a wide-angle or fisheye
lens. The mantas are big and
they do get very close IF you don't chase them. At least
one external strobe with an extra long arm is recommended.
Two would be even better. There are some macro opportunities,
but you know that as soon as you put that macro lens on,
the big animals will show up. If you need help getting
your camera set up for this trip, please
Of course you may just want to come to enjoy the experience
also and leave your camera at home. That's OK too!
RT airport transfers
9 nights aboard the Solmar V
All meals while on board
Photography assistance and instruction
11% Mexican taxes
Chamber fee - $15 cash
Crew gratuity - generally
about 10% of the price of the cruise...these
guys are good!
Extra nights in Cabo
Post trip shenanigans at Cabo Wabo and/or
El Squid Roe
For more information or
to sign up contact Bonnie or call the Solmar
V office at (866) 591-4906 or (310) 455-3600 for more info.
Please remember that this area is very
remote. Mother Nature has the final say about where we go
and what we see. Visibility,
water temperatures, currents, surface conditions can change
quickly and as the organizers of this trip we have no control
over this. These animals are wild and are in their own habitat.
Big animal encounters are totally random and are at the choice
*It takes one full day to get there and
one full day to get back from Cabo. The boat leaves around
3:00 on day 1 and arrives back around 6:00 p.m. on day 8.
You'll depart the boat the morning of day 9. We'll likely
get 1 dive in on day 2 and have five full days of diving.