Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Back from the Galapagos....(the albino whale shark)


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 scorpio_fish

scorpio_fish

    Orca

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1413 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 01 September 2007 - 06:49 AM

Not an "official" trip report, so I will put it in the general chat category.

The Wolf and Darwin ban was lifted while we were there. We were on the Aggressor, so the ban wasn't going to affect us anyway.

The Aggressor stuck to its lame itinerary with absolutely no variations allowed. "Our permit says we must dive here" was the response, yet those who have seen the permits know that there is no such specificity.

This was our 3rd trip on the Aggressor. Half the boat had been there before and this was a full boat charter. We did 11 dives at Darwin on our first trip, 9 on our second trip, but only 6 at Darwin on this trip. While we only did 6 dives at Darwin, our group had 29 whale shark sightings during those 6 dives. The disappointment was that we only did 6 dives at Darwin, as the other sites were mediocre at best.

We couldn't even get the Aggressor to change from Isla Mosquera to North Seymour for crying out loud. Seas were rough, the weather was cool, water temps were unusually low and visibility was 3-20 ft. everywhere but Darwin. Wolf and Cousins were OK, but not great.

In the meantime, Deep Blue made a bee line to Darwin as soon as the ban was lifted. They parked at Darwin for 4 days even as they waited for the "official" paperwork. The day before we arrived, they spotted an albino whale shark. Antonio Moreano of the Deep Blue showed me his recording at the airport before we left. It was pretty amazing. Whoever was on that boat got the trip of the century.

The boat, crew and food are excellent, but I would think long and hard about using the Aggressor again. I would also ask specific questions about the itinerary. Of course, everything could change.
"Me, fail English?.........Unpossible!"

#2 pakman

pakman

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1099 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hong Kong via Seattle...

Posted 03 September 2007 - 06:54 PM

thanks scorpio... I'm scheduled on one of the Aggressors for next October. Sorry to hear they are inflexible with their dive itineraries. Have heard the same from others who have been out to the Galapagos that they preferred to spend more time at Darwin.

Any chance you can get Antonio Moreano to post a shot of that Albino whale shark here on wetpixel? Curious to see what it looks like!

Edited by pakman, 03 September 2007 - 06:54 PM.

Canon 40D, S&S MDX-40D housing, Inon Z-240's
Sony HC7 & Gates Housing
 


#3 echeng

echeng

    The Blue

  • Admin
  • 5842 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA
  • Interests:photography, ice cream, cello, chamber music, quadcopters

Posted 03 September 2007 - 08:11 PM

I have Antonio Moreano's albino whale shark images. He wants to do a story of some sort, and I'm working with him on it! Looks amazing.
eric cheng
publisher/editor, wetpixel
www | journal | photos


#4 Giles

Giles

    International Supermodel

  • Moderator
  • 2618 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cayman Islands
  • Interests:water and sun my friend, thats what turns me on.

Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:40 AM

WOW .. you google Albino Whale Shark and this page already comes up !!

I was looking to see if there were any image sonline of this Sharky .. i didnt see any ... is it kinda just inverted ?
me on the web >> journal / flickr / portfolio
i use >> my camera, eye & stunning good looks

#5 Craig Ruaux

Craig Ruaux

    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 788 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oregon, USA

Posted 04 September 2007 - 11:01 AM

The Aggressor stuck to its lame itinerary with absolutely no variations allowed. "Our permit says we must dive here" was the response, yet those who have seen the permits know that there is no such specificity.

<snip>

In the meantime, Deep Blue made a bee line to Darwin as soon as the ban was lifted. They parked at Darwin for 4 days even as they waited for the "official" paperwork.


It certainly feels like heresy to call any of the Galapagos sites "mediocre", but I would quite happily have skipped Seymour entirely to spend more time at Cousin's Rock/Gordon Rocks.

Perhaps the Aggressor people are being extremely stringent in their interpretation and application of the dive permits as a way of trying to protect their business position. Afterall, they and the Peter Hughes boats were the only ones that were allowed to continue itineraries to Darwin and Wolf during the recent suspension, and that was allegedly as they were the only ones with the "correct" permits.
Why would I take a perfectly good camera underwater??
D300, D200, D70, 12-24 f4 AFS DX, 60mm f2.8, 70-200 f2.8 AF-S VR, 105 f2.8 AF-S VR, Tokina Wunderlens.

Photo galleries @ Ruaux.net

#6 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 04 September 2007 - 11:13 AM

According to the captain on our Peter Hughes boat in June; the schedules that they follow are pretty rigidly set by the Galapagos Park folks, and the captain is not at liberty to change these at his discretion. They are supposedly told where they are supposed to be and when, and can be fined or otherwise sanctioned if they are found in a location they are not scheduled to be. At one point on our trip, some of the folks wanted to leave Darwin early (before we saw whale sharks) and the captain indicated that this was not an option, and at best, we could be at our next location a little earlier in the day, but definitely not for overnight.
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#7 scorpio_fish

scorpio_fish

    Orca

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1413 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 04 September 2007 - 02:00 PM

It certainly feels like heresy to call any of the Galapagos sites "mediocre", but I would quite happily have skipped Seymour entirely to spend more time at Cousin's Rock/Gordon Rocks.


The vis at Isla Mosquera was around 5ft. A sea lion came up to me. I saw a turtle. I saw around 20 fish and the blue nudis. I couldn't see the yellow tank of the DM.

The second dive at Isla Mosquera was in the channel. It was worse. I skipped it. A fried who never skips dives did it. He aborted after 13 minutes. He said it was worse than the first dive. For $500+ a day, it was like the local quarry only colder.

Currents were ripping at Gordon Rocks. The vis was around 10 ft. We had to reverse the plan because of the current. I held on to the rock and did a safety stop after 32 minutes of seeing almost nothing, as did everyone else.

Cousins was very cold. We only got one dive rather than the normal two, because we didn't get there in time. We had to be out of the water by noon because of the new rules. So our last 2 days only had one dive each day. The vis was poor, but better than some of the other sites.

We couldn't snorkel with Penquins either. We couldn't run the dinghies through the caves. It's against the rules.

We also had two (ouf of six) not very good dives at Wolf.

I expect major itinerary changes come January for everyone. I think the dive ops need to rethink the whole process and schedule if the ban on land tours take effect as scheduled.
"Me, fail English?.........Unpossible!"

#8 chrism

chrism

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 172 posts

Posted 15 September 2007 - 02:39 PM

The vis at Isla Mosquera was around 5ft. A sea lion came up to me. I saw a turtle. I saw around 20 fish and the blue nudis. I couldn't see the yellow tank of the DM.

The second dive at Isla Mosquera was in the channel. It was worse. I skipped it. A fried who never skips dives did it. He aborted after 13 minutes. He said it was worse than the first dive. For $500+ a day, it was like the local quarry only colder.

Currents were ripping at Gordon Rocks. The vis was around 10 ft. We had to reverse the plan because of the current. I held on to the rock and did a safety stop after 32 minutes of seeing almost nothing, as did everyone else.

Cousins was very cold. We only got one dive rather than the normal two, because we didn't get there in time. We had to be out of the water by noon because of the new rules. So our last 2 days only had one dive each day. The vis was poor, but better than some of the other sites.

We couldn't snorkel with Penquins either. We couldn't run the dinghies through the caves. It's against the rules.

We also had two (ouf of six) not very good dives at Wolf.

I expect major itinerary changes come January for everyone. I think the dive ops need to rethink the whole process and schedule if the ban on land tours take effect as scheduled.


{also got here by googling albino whale shark}

We were on the week after you, same itinerary. We were told Seymour was out. While we had what seemed much better conditions at Mosquera (50+ foot viz), it's still the stepchild of Galapagos diving, although I thought the Seymour dives we did last time sucked worse. Frankly, I was glad my wife had a couple dives at Mosquera to get in the rhythm before heading to Wolf (and the Seymour land tour is very good, although they have restricted access to a very narrow trail). The second dive at Mosquera was actually pretty good, fish soup.

We got in 7 Darwin dives, most very good, but only about 12 whale shark encounters (2 of which were absolutely outstanding though). We did 3 dives at Wolf/Landslide that absolutely blew, but we did one dive on the way back that was much better, though still not as I remember it.

We also had very good viz at Cousin's (and 72 water temps) an got our two dives in, getting back on the panga at 11:57. :angry: I was surprised, as we did 3 dives at Darwin and one at Wolf the day before, and still made it in time for the two dives. Hit the seahorse, frogfish, fur sea lion trifecta, so it was good (although the barracuda were not there). We also had a very very benign Gordon Rocks dive, basically no current, but then again also not a whole lot of life.

The day we went to Darwin, there was (supposedly) a new reg in place that limited Darwin to one operator per day. We didn't see Deep Blue until we were leaving. Not sure if this was accurate, and if so whether designed to ensure there's boats there all week to keep an eye on the fishermen, etc.

My take on the itinerary vs. the permits is that the permits are silent on day to day issues. For example, we were told Plaza was closed to diving after a snorkeler got bit by a sea lion. Seymour was closed for some other reason I forget.

I agree with your last paragraph. I thought this might be my last trip there, but hey, can't give up on Darwin's Arch. Having done the land tours 2X that's not an issue with me. But it will be intreresting to see what itinerary they come up with given the restrictions to be out of the water by noon. Not sure anyone's gonna pay $3800 (the soon to be new rate as I understand it), for 3 a.m. dives and then sitting on the boat all afternoon.......

Oh yeah, I thought the Agg boats did a horrendous job of scheduling. Both I and II were at Wolf and Darwin, and it was up to the guests to request a pre breakfast dive so they we could spread out (and be first on the reef....). The Agg boats should do this themselves. On one dive, they came in about 30 minutes in and planted themselves right below the platform at Darwin, so we moved on. Come on, there's only two boats. LAst time I was up there there was more than 4 boats, and I saw less people......

Edited by chrism, 15 September 2007 - 02:44 PM.

Canon 300D, Aquatica A300, Dual YS90-DXs, Canon 18-55 mm, Sigma 15 mm FE, Canon 50 mm Macro

#9 chrism

chrism

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 172 posts

Posted 21 September 2007 - 08:25 PM

Unless it's somewhere else on the site, divernet's got the pic

http://www.divernet....p...c=1080&ac=d
Canon 300D, Aquatica A300, Dual YS90-DXs, Canon 18-55 mm, Sigma 15 mm FE, Canon 50 mm Macro

#10 danielandrewclem

danielandrewclem

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 378 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Massachusetts
  • Interests:writing, photography, fish

Posted 22 September 2007 - 08:56 AM

THAT. IS. AWESOME.

Thanks for pointing to the photo.
Flickr 5D Mk II & 20D | Ikelite

#11 echeng

echeng

    The Blue

  • Admin
  • 5842 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA
  • Interests:photography, ice cream, cello, chamber music, quadcopters

Posted 28 September 2007 - 06:51 PM

Here's another one:

Posted Image
eric cheng
publisher/editor, wetpixel
www | journal | photos


#12 echeng

echeng

    The Blue

  • Admin
  • 5842 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA
  • Interests:photography, ice cream, cello, chamber music, quadcopters

Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:08 PM

I posted some more images on the front page:
http://wetpixel.com/...hed-in-ecuador/
eric cheng
publisher/editor, wetpixel
www | journal | photos


#13 pakman

pakman

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1099 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hong Kong via Seattle...

Posted 28 September 2007 - 10:04 PM

wow, what an interesting critter! thnx for posting the pics Eric.

Canon 40D, S&S MDX-40D housing, Inon Z-240's
Sony HC7 & Gates Housing
 


#14 ScubaSpen

ScubaSpen

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 119 posts
  • Location:Phuket, Thailand
  • Interests:spending more than 500 hrs a year underwater gawking at marine life and taking the odd picture.

Posted 28 September 2007 - 10:43 PM

Awesome, hope the white whale swings past this neck of the reef one day. Make it nice and easy for manual WB. :)

#15 Hobbes382

Hobbes382

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 38 posts

Posted 30 September 2007 - 02:54 PM

I agree with your last paragraph. I thought this might be my last trip there, but hey, can't give up on Darwin's Arch. Having done the land tours 2X that's not an issue with me. But it will be intreresting to see what itinerary they come up with given the restrictions to be out of the water by noon. Not sure anyone's gonna pay $3800 (the soon to be new rate as I understand it), for 3 a.m. dives and then sitting on the boat all afternoon.......



What's this about being out of the water by noon?? That would kill half the dives!!! Is this a new restriction, including for the Aggressors? And what's this about ending land tours? When is that supposed to happen?

I'm heading there in November with Aggressor and have really really been looking forward to it. It almost sounds like game over. :)