The Solmar V pioneered luxury live-aboard cage diving to Guadalupe Island, starting in 2005. The team provides guests with a safe and secure environment to meet the apex predator of the sea – the Great White Shark. She travels with a crew of 10 and a maximum of 20 divers.
Located in the Pacific Ocean approximately 165 miles west of Ensenada, Mexico, Guadalupe Island has become the world’s best location for viewing, photography and video of great white sharks. The visibility is often more than 30 metres and the water temperature averages between 21 - 26°C. This is cage diving at its most exciting and, because you will be using surface supplied air (hookah) instead of scuba tanks, this adventure is open to both divers and non-divers alike.
The interior of the Solmar V is outfitted in brass, rich mahogany, granite table tops and is carpeted throughout. The salon comfortably seats all guests and offers a large-screen HDTV, VCR, DVD player and stereo system.
There are two cabin types on the Solmar V - Superior and Standard and all are below deck. Superior cabins are in the middle of the boat and slightly larger than the Standard cabins. Standard cabins include the same amenities as the Superior cabins but are slightly smaller and located from the middle of the boat forward. Each cabin features air conditioning with individual controls, bathroom, sink and shower, air conditioning, TV/DVD player plus top-of-the-line 'pillow-top' mattresses and non-allergenic down alternative pillows and comforters.
Bathroom and dive deck towels are provided as are basic toiletries.
Two main engines and three full-time generators power the Solmar V to a top cruising speed of 11 knots. Twin compressors with cascade storage for fast filling provide divers with an endless air supply and quick fills between dives.
Onboard voltage is 110 AC. There are also a number of 220 AC charging stations inside and outside. 2 camera rinse tanks on dive deck and large camera table with air gun.
NAVIGATION / SAFETY
The Solmar V is fitted with side scanning sonar and multiple radar systems. Life jackets, Life rafts, Fire system, Satellite Telephone, Oxygen and First Aid are also available.
Solmar operates two 4-person cages using a proprietary swivel system which hooks to the swim platform, making it very easy and safe to get in and out of the cages, even in rough weather. The Solmar team also pioneered submersible cages at Guadalupe and operates a 3-person submersible cage to 30 feet. Having only 20 passengers and three cages enables the Solmar team to rotate 10 guests in and out every hour all day long. They considered adding more cages, but tell us that they decided against this to avoid a “circus” feel when meeting great whites on their own turf.
Schedules & prices
Boat Only price per person includes: Transfer from Hotel Solmar Suites and Solmar V, accommodation in a twin share standard cabin, 3 meals per day, snacks between meals, soft drinks, beer and wine with dinner, 3-4 dives a day (days vary), tanks, weights and weight belts, all port fees, fuel surcharges and park fees.
Please contact Regaldive
1.A $15 (cash) chamber donation is collected from each guest on board the Solmar V.
2.The Solmar V has Nitrox membrane system for Nitrox fills to 32-34% - $125 (USD) per person per trip (proof of Nitrox certification required).
Guadalupe Island is a volcanic island 150 miles off the west coast of Baja California and outperforms every other great white shark destination with shark-seeing consistency and beautiful diving conditions.
Dive to 10 Metres and Go Face to Face with Great White Sharks!
Great white sharkencounters at Guadalupe Island are nothing short of spectacular. Guadalupe feels like a remote outpost at the end of the earth, but is actually quite easy to get to. It’s the best destination in the world for calm, clear water and a consistently high probability of multiple shark encounters per day.
The sheer number of animals in the bay is jaw-droppingly amazing. Guests are likely to see two to three on most dives. The bay itself is home to over 200 recognised individuals, ranging from 12 to 19 feet long! At times, guests have seen as many as nine sharks on one dive—and that’s because Guadalupe is just the sort of place where magic regularly happens in the water.
Unlike traditional shark cages, Nautilus Liveaboards use submersible cages that descend down to 30 feet where the sharks naturally congregate. A permitted wrangling platform is also used and action in the surface cages can be just as exciting!
Even the island itself, 180 miles from the Mexico coastline, seems magical. The coast of Guadalupe is 25 miles of rocky cliffs, but above this is dense forest, giving it the feel of an exotic, South Pacific destination. You can expect between 125 and 150 feet of visibility. You can literally see the sharks come in from beyond the anchor line. Nothing but clear, cobalt blue water.
This experience isn’t limited to advanced divers. You don’t need to be a certified scuba diver to join, although it is recommend that you take a Discover Scuba Diving course prior to your trip, and that you possess a strong in-water comfort.
All certified divers will have the opportunity for a minimum of three dives per day in the submersible cages—and your trip includes the opportunity for unlimited time in the surface cages. Divemasters are in the water during every submersible-cage dive to ensure your safety. The surface cages open at 6.30am and diving in the submersible cages begins at 8.00am. Both are available until dusk.
The overall aim is to keep guests safe, and also to protect the growing shark population. The dive guides and crew teach and ask for responsible shark interactions that do not impact or change the behavior of these magnificent animals. Oil, chum or blood is not used. A piece of tuna, wrapped in a burlap sack, is all that the sharks need to know that we have arrived.
These conservation efforts also continue at night when guests kick back in the salon and identify who we spent the day with. Should you realise that you hung out with a great white shark not yet catalogued, yes, the naming rights are all yours!
BEST period to travel
Guadalupe Island trips are only available from July - November when the sharks are in the area. July and August features rowdy gangs of male sharks. Female great whites start showing up in October and November.
The climate is tropical sub humid with summer rains throughout the archipelago. Guadalupe Island also has a tropical semi-dry climate zone and a subtropical sub humid climate zone with occasional summer rains.
The visibility throughout the liveaboard season (November – May) is variable with the lowest visibility occurring during November and December when it can drop from 30-40m to around 15-20m.
For trips to Guadalupe, the best flight option is the direct flight to San Diego in the USA, from Gatwick. These flights are daily. Alternatively, these is the option of flying via Mexico City to Ensenada, where the liveaboards depart.
PASSPORTS & VISAS
All non-US citizens travelling to the USA will need to obtain a US visa or Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA) at least 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers without the required visa or ESTA may be denied flight boarding. Citizens of 37 countries, including most European nations, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are eligible for the ESTA and can apply for these online. There is a charge of $14 and the issued authorisation is valid for 2 years and allows for multiple entries into US territories within that period.
British passport holders visiting Mexico as a tourist don’t need a visa, but you do need a tourist card, which you can get on arrival by completing an immigration form available at border crossings or on-board flights to Mexico. Immigration officials at the port of entry may ask to see proof of your departure plans from Mexico before allowing you entry to the country, although this isn’t a formal entry requirement.
Always check for last minute changes in entry requirements at the Foreign & Commonwealth website. Nationalities other than British citizens should check with their own consular office.
Please always check your own entry requirements, regardless of your nationality.
Passengers travelling to Mexico must have a minimum of six months validity on their passport from the date of entry into Mexico.
Note: If you are travelling to Mexico via the US, even if you are only transiting, you must check the US entry requirements. If you do not have the correct authorisation you will not be allowed to travel to or transit through the US.
There’s a departure tax of circa £50 when leaving Mexico by air. Some airlines include this in ticket prices.
VACCINATIONS & HEALTH INFORMATION
There are no compulsory vaccinations, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and rabies. The risk of malaria in Mexico is generally very low and therefore anti-malarials are not required for travel to the Playa del Carmen or Cozumel area.
However, there is a moderate risk in some south western parts of the country. If you intend to travel beyond the Yucatan Peninsula we would recommend that you contact a travel clinic for the most up to date advice.
Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic.
Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider.
Please note that liveaboard itineraries can change without notice. The itinerary will depend on several factors including, but not limited to, weather, diving ability of guests & the number of other boats already present at the various dive sites. All dive sites visited are subject to weather conditions and are at the discretion of your dive guides and vessel captain.
Guadalupe liveaboards embark from Cruiseport Marina in Ensenada, Mexico.