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Best liveaboard for Galapagos?


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#1 Shark Diver

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 11:10 PM

Looked at the Aggressor and it is $5000 for the trip.

Is it worth it?

Are there any other boats that offer more, or are cheaper and just as good?

#2 WanderingBob

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:14 AM

I have just returned from Galapagos. I was on the Humbolt Explorer which offered a great price. I feel if money is not an issue, go on another boat. If money is an issue, shop for the cheapest price. I think the aggressor or other boats will offer a much better experience.

That being said, the diving in Galapagos, principally, Wolf Island has to be the most challenging, AMAZING diving experience of my life. Do it! Hundreds of hammerheads in view in a constant procession totally thousands! The visibility is not the best, but the diversity and number of fishes are staggering!
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#3 Canes05

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:59 PM

I was last in the Galapagos in 2005, and from what I hear, things have changed a lot since then. I did a 10 day trip on the Sky Dancer (a Peter Hughes boat when they were an independent company). I believe this boat is still around and is now called the M/V Galapagos Sky and is operated by Divencounters. This was an excellent boat and operation back when it was part of the Peter Hughes Dancer fleet. Back then, more shore excursions were permitted by the Ecuadorian government, and we made daily trips ashore on multiple islands, while still managing 4 dives a day. Liveaboards in the Galapagos have always been pricey. If you can afford it, just go. As the previous poster said, it's fantastic. The visibility is generally not spectacular (don't expect 100ft of viz), but it's still pretty good. The better sites averaged 40-50ft of viz when I was there in July. Also expect a range of water temperatures and moderate to extremely strong current at most sites. The payoff is some of the most spectacular shark and big animal encounters you'll ever have underwater. It's definitely worth it.

#4 gumbyDives

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:32 PM

We dove with the MV Deep Blue in July 2010. I thought it was a good balance of cost/comfort relative to what we read about the other options at the time. We had one very good dive guide and one sub-average guy just trying to sell his video. Rest of crew was fine. Boat was in good shape and crew did their jobs without getting in the way.

We had a great experience at Wolf and Darwin islands. The rest of the dive trip paled in comparison. You never know what the next trip will hold, but any itinerary that spend more time at those two islands is worth paying more for IMHO.

After the cruise, we spent another week wandering the islands on our own. It's easy to get between the three main islands and there are plenty of lodging options and some amazing scenery / animal life on each. Our dives at Wolf/Darwin were incredible, but I do have trouble justifying the cost relative to considerably less expensive trips I have done to other prime destinations (Komodo, Sipadan/Derawan and Maldives, in particular were all ~half the price of our Galapagos trip). But for me, the Galapagos start making sense when I include the second week we spent on the island for a small incremental cost. Our final justification was the 3rd week hiking the hills around Quilotoa (near Quito) for next to nothing...

#5 jlyle

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:34 PM

We've been on both Peter Hughes and Aggressor boats in the Galapagos and they were both good experiences.

For the money, I'd return to Coco Island instead on the Hunter boat.

Edited by jlyle, 24 January 2013 - 03:35 PM.

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#6 pdemaagt

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:41 AM

I have been on the Galapagos Sky and it is a very nice boat and good crew. Maybe we were unlucky, but we didn't see too much (also bad viz). So, please think twice before spending the money. There is no guarantee that you will have a realy good time...

#7 John Bantin

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 03:34 AM

I hada great trip to malpelo on Yemaya II with some guys who told me the viz at Cocos was apalling. I went to Cocos immediately after and the viz was gin-clear. I've had several trips to the Galapagos and the story is the same. You can be unlucky but generally you are LUCKY!


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#8 johnspierce

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:04 AM

Did the Aggressor II two years ago and it was spectacular.  Boat was nice, but I wouldn't say any better than the Explorer Ventures boats I have been on.  One bonus for Aggressor is the captain had been doing this itinerary for over 9 years -- he certainly knew the sites like the back of his hand.

 

One of the previous posters in this thread said Wolf and Darwin was much better than the rest of the diving, and they are standouts, but the rest of the diving was pretty spectacular too.

 

- Our first murky check out dive in the bay at Santa Cruz turned out to be fantastic because we were mobbed by playful sea lions.  Welcome to the Galapagos!

- Cousins was a great dive for Seahorses and different varieties of Blennies and Sea Stars.  Unique and different from other destinations

- One of the early dives at Bartolome was great for watching white tip sharks corraling smaller schools of fish

- Gordon Rocks was spectacular with schools of Mobula rays and Barracuda.

- Snorkeling with the penguins at Lands End was very cool.

- Lots of Eagle rays at Wolf for us

- Hammerhead highway at Darwin -- hundreds of them interspersed with Silky's and the occasional Galapagos shark.

 

The whole thing was pretty amazing.  As I said, I'm not sure the boat would be any better or worse, but we went with Aggressor simply because they have the most experience in those waters of the larger companies.

 

JP


Edited by johnspierce, 25 February 2013 - 10:05 AM.

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#9 eyu

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

Having dove the Galapagos I would highly recommend it, but not for the faint of heart.  The diving at Wolf and Darwin has current and surge, but the animal life as noted above is fantastic.  Darwin is considered to be one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.  If you time it right you will also see whale sharks that are as big as school buses.  I would recommend the Galapagos Sky as well as the Aggressor boats.  

 

Dive boats have continued to be restricted so the big fishing boats can plunder Wolf and Darwin islands.


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#10 Jules (Helioxfilm)

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:14 PM

Did the Aggressor II two years ago and it was spectacular.  Boat was nice, but I wouldn't say any better than the Explorer Ventures boats I have been on.  One bonus for Aggressor is the captain had been doing this itinerary for over 9 years -- he certainly knew the sites like the back of his hand.

 

One of the previous posters in this thread said Wolf and Darwin was much better than the rest of the diving, and they are standouts, but the rest of the diving was pretty spectacular too.

 

- Our first murky check out dive in the bay at Santa Cruz turned out to be fantastic because we were mobbed by playful sea lions.  Welcome to the Galapagos!

- Cousins was a great dive for Seahorses and different varieties of Blennies and Sea Stars.  Unique and different from other destinations

- One of the early dives at Bartolome was great for watching white tip sharks corraling smaller schools of fish

- Gordon Rocks was spectacular with schools of Mobula rays and Barracuda.

- Snorkeling with the penguins at Lands End was very cool.

- Lots of Eagle rays at Wolf for us

- Hammerhead highway at Darwin -- hundreds of them interspersed with Silky's and the occasional Galapagos shark.

 

The whole thing was pretty amazing.  As I said, I'm not sure the boat would be any better or worse, but we went with Aggressor simply because they have the most experience in those waters of the larger companies.

 

JP

John,

 

in which month have you been there?

 

best,

Jules



#11 johnspierce

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:55 PM

John,

 

in which month have you been there?

 

best,

Jules

 

Hi Jules,

 

We were there in mid-May of 2010.  May is known for the schooling hammerheads.  Also, the water varied from 74 degrees at Cousins to 81 at Darwin - warmer than I was expecting.

 

Oh -- and as eyu said in a previous post, Darwin is not for the faint of heart.  The current was absolutely *ripping*.  


Edited by johnspierce, 12 March 2013 - 12:58 PM.

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