Search Words: Galapagos Islands, Diving in Galapagos, Scuba Diving at Galapagos, Charles Darwin, Archipelago, Ecuador, Live Aboard, Expeditions, Cruises, Travel
Another spectacular adventure you can travel to is located in an archipelago called the Galapagos Islands which is famous for its vast number of endemic species and the studies by Charles Darwin that led to his theory of evolution by natural selection.
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of roughly 125 volcanic islands straddling the equator some 600 miles off the western coast of Ecuador. These islands are remote, isolated, unique and, in many ways, famous. Of greatest importance is the significance of a visit in 1835 by Charles Darwin. Based on his observations of the wildlife of these islands, Darwin later developed his theory of evolution, including his explanation of the Origin of Species. The Galapagos Islands can rightly lay claim to being the “laboratory” in which these theories were developed.
The islands, consisting of 13 large islands, 6 small islands and more than 107 islets and rocks, support more than 5,000 unique species of flora and fauna. In today’s troubled environmental times, the Galapagos still retain nearly 95% of their original biodiversity. Many of the species found here are endemic to these islands and, most remarkably, there are obvious distinctions in some species from island to island. Although there are permanent settlements on some islands, and tourism has increased through the years, including the construction of airstrips, hotels and restaurants, many of the islands are protected.
Today, the Galapagos Marine Reserve covers roughly 53,282 square
miles of ocean. Many visitors to the Galapagos marvel at the unique
and exciting encounters with wildlife on land, but many are
surprised to learn that beneath the waves an extremely diverse and
healthy marine ecosystem thrives. During our expedition, we will
explore this marine environment via live-aboard dive vessel. The
base of our operations will be aboard the Galapagos Aggressor II and
our itinerary will take us to the remote, northern islands of Darwin
Below are descriptions of some of the sites
you will hopefully to visit:
Additional Information (Wikipedia)
A small island (1/2 square mile) nearby to larger island of Santiago. A large pinnacle rock juts up on the north side of the island and is one of the most photographed places in these islands. Here we expect to encounter Galapagos Penguins, the only variety of these birds living north of the equator. Dives may be conducted at Cousins Rock, a small, inhospitable-looking islet nearby. Washed in a moderate current, this location is home to Eagle Rays, White Tipped sharks and, occasionally, Hammerhead Sharks. In addition, we will be seeking to photograph the Pacific Seahorse, a much sought after subject for underwater photographers that is very rare in most places but can be found at this location fairly regularly.
Another dive site on our itinerary may be Beagle Rocks, three large exposed rocks on the southern side of Santiago Island. With depths ranging from 10-120 feet, divers have a lot to choose from here. Here, we expect to dive with the Galapagos Sea Lion, Eagle Rays, Manta Rays and large Marble Rays.
Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos (1771 square miles). The waters on the western coast of this island are the coolest in the archipelago, averaging 56 degrees Fahrenheit. There are a number of dive sites that are of interest in these waters. At Cabo Marshall, we will dive along a wall in the prevailing current looking for Mobula and Manta Rays, along with Oceanic White Tipped Sharks and Black Marlin.
At Punta Vicente Roca, a protected cove on the northwest coast of Isabela, we will search for Seahorses, Red-Lipped Batfish, Golden Hair Shrimp and, if we are lucky, the strange looking Ocean Sunfish (Mola Mola).
At Tagus Cove, on the west coast of Isabela, Horn Sharks are our quarry and we expect to find them in depths greater than 70 feet. On land at Tagus, we will search for the Galapagos Penguins that make their home here. In addition, we hope to spot the local varioations of Darwin’s Finch, the Galapagos Mockingbirds and the various species of Flycatchers that nest on Isabela.
Fernandina is a moderate sized island adjacent to Isabela on the western side. Dive sites include Punta Espinosa, where we expect to encounter Torpedo Rays, Pacific Beekfish, Harlequin Wrasse and Rainbow Scorpionfish. On land here, we will attempt to photograph the Marine Iguanas that reside here, as well as the species of flightless Cormorants found on this island.
Both Darwin and Wolf Islands are remote islands to the north of the Archipelago and are the premier location for diving with and photographing large marine animals in the Galapagos. On Wolf Island, dive sites such as Shark Bay, The Pinnacle, Landslide and the Elephant often reward divers with encounters with Galapagos Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, and the elusive Whale Shark. In addition, huge schools of jacks, eagle rays, manta rays and other pelagic fish can be found in the waters off Wolf Island.
Named after the archipelago’s most famous visitor, Darwin is the northernmost island in the Galapagos. Although there are only a small handful of dive sites here, divers journey the world over to visit this special place. Here, Whale Sharks abound, along with huge schools of Hammerhead Sharks, Dolphin, Tuna, Bonito and Jacks. With strong currents and cool water, this diving will be challenging, but the rewards are potentially great. Even in some protected coves on Darwin, where snorkeling is possible, divers can encounter Sea Lions and Fur Seals.
Local Big Animals
Below is a list of possible big animals you may see on this trip. Though nobody cannot guarantee big animal encounters on every trip, because in reality, marine animals have their own schedules and priorities. But you should see most of these animals.
- Hammerhead Sharks
- Whale Sharks (depending on the season)
- White Tip Reef Sharks
- Silky Sharks
- Scalloped Hammerheads
- Galapagos Sharks
- Manta Rays
Selected Reading & Guide Books
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The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles west of Ecuador and offer some of the most spectacular wildlife found anywhere in the world. Nowhere else on this planet will you find penguins which live on the equator (The Galapagos Penguin) or iguanas which swim and feed in the ocean (The Marine Iguanas)!
Because these islands have only recently been invaded by man, the literally 1000s of animals that inhabit these islands have never learned to fear us. This means that you can literally walk right up to hundreds of blue-footed boobie birds, red-footed boobie birds, masked boobie birds, albatrosses, penguins, land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, sea lions, fur seals, red-chested frigate birds, flamingos, finches, tropic birds, lava gulls, giant tortoises, and flightless cormorants.
Contact us directly for pricing and to book this trip.
Trip Includes: Meals, RT airfare from Guayaquil to
Galapagos, 2 nights in a hotel on the mainland and mainland Ecuador
|DAN Diving Insurance (accident & trip protection) is highly recommended for all divers...|
Though our tour operator has a very successful expedition record, they cannot guarantee big animal encounters (large/small) on every trip. It would be irresponsible to claim some sort of control over Mother Nature. In reality, marine animals (whale sharks, hammerhead/Galapagos sharks, rays, large schools of fish, etc.,) have their own schedules and priorities. They live in an extraordinary environment that at times, does not cooperate according to our schedules. Weather is always an important factor when operating offshore. The tour operator does however, promise to take you to the best place at the best time and provide you the best opportunity to encounter all kinds of amazing marine life.
Weather cancellations can and do occur. The tour operator does not provide a refund due to weather cancellation. Their policy is to reschedule your trip during the current season or the following year and is an industry-wide standard.
Name of Vessel
Photo Courtesy: www.wirodive.de
Length: 106 ft.
Beam 24.45 ft
Speed 12.5 Knots (One of the fastest yachts in Galapagos !)
A large dive staging area with fresh water showers
Air compressors, tanks, weights and some rental gear
Nitrox membrane system
2 Camera tables
Air conditioned throughout
9 double cabins all with individual climate control, private bathrooms and hot water
Fresh towels provided daily
All Lower beds
TV / DVD
A large sun deck, covered back deck
2 Generator ONAN 75 KW
2 Engine CUMMINS 440 HP
Crew 8 plus 1 guide on naturalist trips, 2 guides on dive trips
All safety equipment complies with international Coast Guard Regulation.
Shark Diving International (SDI) is one of the best expedition groups you can travel with if you are planning to visit the Galapagos Islands. SDI is an organization that promotes conservation and protection of the marine environment while providing adventurers with a rewarding and educational experience. Shark Diving International as well as Eco-Photo Explorers believe that education and enjoyment of our environment is the key to its protection. We all hope you will come away from your adventure with a new found respect and appreciation of the ocean and all of its inhabitants.
We have traveled with Shark Diving International on multiple trips and highly recommend their operation. They have an unblemished safety record which is priority number one, an extremely professional and experienced crew. You will not be disappointed.
- Shark Diving International - Make sure you include our Referrer Name: Eco-Photo Explorers on all correspondence to Shark Diving International (SDI).
Available Multimedia Program
Galapagos: Darwin’s Enchanted Islands
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Running time: 90 minutes
Current Local Weather
- Earthship Biotecture: Galapagos Institute of Village Ecologies (G.I.V.E.) - Global sustainability earthship institute/village on the Galapagos Islands
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