- Schooling hammerheads at Wolf & Darwin
- Dec-May: manta & eagle rays
- Jun-Nov: enormous whalesharks
- Dive with sea lions & fur seals
- 2016/17 permission allows 2 land excursions
There are three distinctive types of underwater environment in the Galapagos Islands. It's almost as if you were in three different dive destinations. The Southern and Central Islands are washed by the Humboldt current from the South, so pretty cold water (23-24) but reasonably clear and blue. Stunning dives such as Cousins and Cape Marshall, with eagle rays, mobulas and huge mantas, as well as endless large schools of brightly coloured surgeon fish and snappers, and of course the ever present playfull sea lions. The western side of Isabella is washed by the cold upwelling of the Cromwell current. Here the water is quite chilly (18-22 C) and green, but also some fainting sites such as Roca Redunda and Punta Vicente Roca. Sea lions playing in the fumaroles (thermal vents), red lipped batfish, yellow sea horses are all seen at Cabo Douglas. You never know what is passing though. Orca, mola mola and whalesharks are all seen passing through!
But the really big action is in the North at Darwin and Wolf. Here the water can be 26-27 degrees as these islands are washed by the warmer Panama current. Before you even get in the water itís thrilling to be diving under the iconic Darwin Arch. Rocky and unwelcoming above the water line, beneath awaits a truly inspiring scene. 3 full days are spent on these two reefs, getting to grips with every nook and cranny. Hammerheads are the first and foremost attraction, schooling in vast numbers around the submerged pinnacles of Wolf and Darwin. Galapagos sharks are common too, slinky and svelte nipping in and out of the reef life. White tips hide in the reef from the larger predators. If you like your fish even bigger, whalesharks are often seen in the blue, munching on plankton along with manta, mobula and eagle rays. Look out for a Tiger Shark that can be seen in the shallows!
The itineraries are subject to minor changes at short notice by the Marine Park Authorities, however a substantial part of every trip is spent at Wolf and Darwin and some dives in the other areas. The current permission dives Cousins Bartolome, Cabo Marshall, Cabo Douglas, Punta Vicenteroca, Wolf and Darwin.
Every diver should certainly experience the Galapagos for themselves but the diving is not suited to novice divers. Wolf and Darwin are the furthest point on the itinerary and divers need to be comfortable in currents and zodiac diving. Thermoclines are common but these are what draw the overwhelming numbers of big fish closer. Dive guides are experts in their fields - not only do they know how to make sure you have a safe and awesome dive trip, but they are also hugely knowledgeable about the marine life and eager to share! The Galapagos is a once in a lifetime trip and the best diving can only be accessed from liveaboards on either 7 or 10 night liveaboard options. This is the only way to travel and dive in comfort, visiting all the hot spots and highlights of this remarkable corner of the globe. Sail the oceans blue and prepare to be left breathless.
- Average Water Temp: 21 - 24 C
- Average Air Temp: 24 - 29 C
- Average Visability: 5 - 30m
- Good for: Sharks, Rays & unique ecology
- Suitable for beginners: No
- Everything! From sharks and manta to sea lions and iguana... you never know quite what will turn up in the Galapagos. This is the ultimate pelagic paradise.
- "Absolutely fantastic week, we would definitely consider another trip. ". Steve Weller
- "From the initial phone call to book right through to the transfer to the airport home Scuba Travel have been superb."Vickie Aronsten
- "Thanks for organising our trip. We had an amazing time and did some of our best dives ever - I have to say that diving with Sea Lions is quite special! The Cloud Forest was also amazing."Tom & Karen Chamberlain
This is a typical example of the Galapagos Expedition itinerary. The schedule is subject to change according to prevailing weather conditions and is only given as a example of what you would usually encounter during your holiday.
Scuba Travel works with a range of liveaboards with permission to dive in the Galapagos.
All boats leave normally from San Cristobal island but on occasion they may need to depart from Baltra. This will not affect your diving.
Galapagos Sky offers trips for 7 nights with 17-19 dives dives and 10 night itineraries
Galapagos Aggressor 1 & 2 offers trips for 7 nights with 18-20 dives as well as 10/11 and occasional 14 night itineraries
Deep Blue offers trips for 7 nights
Please note the above number of dives are intended as a rough guide only. Local permissions mean that the actual sites visited can change at short notice although this is infrequent. On longer itineraries the aim is to spend more time at Wolf and Darwin.
Generally speaking you will arrive into Ecuador either via Guayaquil or Quito and then overnight. This gives you a chance to recuperate. Your flight to the islands will depart early the next morning and you will be advised of the transfer time locally. You will be met in San Cristobal by the boat who will assist with the national park fees, transit card and chamber tax (these can be prepaid). You will then be escorted to your liveaboard.
Your first dive will normally be that afternoon at a popular site on San Cristobal called Isla Lobos where you can get close to the colony of friendly sea lions. Looks out for rays and sand dollars too. if you are not having too much fun with the speedy sea lions! The boat will also sail around Kicker Rock so you can get your first views of the startling scenery in the Galapagos before cocktail hour!
Santa Cruz, Santiago & Isabela
On the way up to and back from Wolf and Darwin dives will be offered at some excellent dive sites.
Vincente Roca is well worth more than 1 dive and as diving was prohibited for several years here, the marine life is thriving with frog fish, red lipped bat fish, electric rays and even marlin. Mola mola can be drawn to the cooler water temperatures. You will sail past some of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos. There will be a panga ride to visit the penguins and chance to go snorkelling too.
Cousins Rock is a well known dive site in the region and offers both a scenic drift as well as a chance for pelagic encounters. Hammerheads can be found but seal ions are most common along with eagle rays.
New on the itinerary for 2013 is a stop at Izla Pinzon where you can find up to 6 species of shark, sea lions, manta and eagle rays.
Depending on the season you may dive at Cuidad de las Mantas and Cabo Marshall (Feb-May) or Bartolome(Jun-Dec). Cabo Marshall is a fast paced dive which promises the chance to see manta and mobula (keep your eyes open for whalesharks too).
Wolf & Darwin
Wolf and Darwin are where the action really starts! You can expect to do between 9-11 dives in this remote and wild area including a thrilling night dive. There are several sites here worth dropping in on. The Landslide is a sleep cliff that drops underwater to a depth of 50m and where the hammerheads can be found - look to the blue. Galapagos sharks, rays, eels and turtles too! The Pinnacle is a swift drift dive and Shark Bay is home to yet more hammerheads. Hop in for an easy last dive at the Anchorage to see the red lipped batfish crawling along the bottom.
The most famous landmark in Darwim is the Arch which can be subject to strong currents and therefore sharks. Hover over the sandy bottom as hammerheads come in to be cleaned by angel fish. Amid the sharks are schooling barracuda, tuna and jacks. Repeating the Arch will yield even more sightings, especially if you venture into the blue where you may find whalesharks, manta or turtles swimming lazily past.
At the beginning of the trip (Monday) there is usually a chance to go out in the panga to get close to marine life. There is a land tour of North Seymour on the same day.
At the end of your diving you will have a chance to explore the Galapagos surface side. The morning will start with a tour of Los Gemelos, the highest points of Santa Cruz island, with deep volcanic pits and a stop at a turtle farm en route. This is followed by a trip to the Charles Dawrin research station on Puerto Auroa. Finish your trip with a visit the Interpretation Centre where an interesting human history of Galapagos is told.
All boats normally return to San Cristobal but on occasions you may return to Baltra. If you are not extending your stay in the Galapagos then your return journey to the UK will begin. You can catch your return flight to Ecuador from either point.
Alternatively you can take more time on the mainland. Talk to the travel team about rainforest or city extensions.
If you would like to add an extension, combine this with another product or tweak the itinerary give us a call so we can discuss your dream diving holiday.
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The Galapagos is a true wish list destination for nearly every diver. The promise of hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, sea lions, iguanas, even whalesharks and manta... these are the unique encounters that draw divers to Ecuador for...
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