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Interceptor121

Galapagos Sky 11-17 May 2014 Trip Report

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We boarded the Sky on Sunday afternoon after a swift check in procedure assisted by the Ecoventura operator and a flight that from Quito stopped at Guayaquil to then proceed to San Cristobal.

As soon as we got on board we received a number of briefings, with the safety one being the most detailed I have ever seen on a boat. Due to challenging conditions each diver is equipped with a surface marker buoy (pretty tiny and smaller than my AP Valves 6 feet DSMB) a dive horn (reduced dramatically the inflation power of my BCD so I abandoned after a few dives) and the Nautilus safety device, this one very interesting with a walk talk function and integrated GPS. We were told water temperature had been unusually high for the last weeks reaching 27C which we did not take as a good sign.

We then jumped in the water for a check dive with visibility close to 0 at least the sea lions were at play though you could barely see them.

The day after we went for a land walk on Bartolome which was brilliant.

From here you can have a view of the landscape from the top point

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/14255626665/in/set-72157644403759400

We then proceeded to two dives at Cousin Rocks that were pretty green and dark and had average visibility of 10 meters

I took some decent close video of turtles and schooling barracudas but nothing too great.

Overnight we moved to Wolf but there was strong current against us so the next day we could only do 3 day dives and one night dive.

The dives were good but we only saw single sharks no schools until the 3rd day dive where I was surrounded by around 20 galapagos sharks (none of them came to close except this one)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/14027833128/in/set-72157644719557612

On the way to the safety stop we saw schooling hammerheads at depth in the blue. The night dive that followed was not memorable.

So we set towards Darwin expecting the schools of sharks but there weren't any to be seen in fact we decided to go back to Wolf after the first dive in Darwin confirmed the schools of hammerheads were not there. We did entertain the surge and hanging onto the rocks

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/14212109532/in/set-72157644719557612

Back at Wolf conditions were better but again mostly Galapagos sharks and no signs of hammerhead schools close to the reef, this is the only decent shot I could take sadly a tail in the blue below our group at safety stop

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/14027852248/in/set-72157644719557612

The day after we headed back to Cape Marshall and Punta Vicente Roca where the water was green

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/14028406758/in/set-72157644719557612

Sea lions were hunting Salemas

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/14213998304/in/set-72157644317011237

And there were also some large sea horses

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/14215197742/in/set-72157644719557612

our last dive in Pinzon was to find the Red lipped batfish but no signs of Mantas or Mola Mola

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/14027568328/in/set-72157644317011237

Apparently El Nino is coming and this is not going to be good news for Wildlife in Galapagos better hurry up to see the animals before they get decimated

So despite a good boat (but not exceptional and definitely not very stable boat) a great crew (the guides Santiago and Max tried their very best and the rest of the crew was excellent and helpful at all times) the trip was a bit of a sweet and sour with Darwin being a great disappointment

 

Luckily we decided to spend time on Land and the snorkeling at Las Tuneles (Isabela) and Santa Fe (from Santa Cruz) were brilliant

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/sets/72157644403759400/

Our last days were spent in Quito a dramatic scenery and very interesting Old Town which we followed with an ascent to Cotapaxi at 5000 meters followed by a treacherous descent by mountain bike

https://www.flickr.com/photos/interceptor121/sets/72157644834881902/

 

I would definitely recommend Galapagos and also Quito and what we could see of Ecuador although I now need to look at another trip for schooling hammerheads and with El Nino coming the hammerheads seems to be far from the reef and deeper in all of Galapagos, Cocos and Malpelo!

 

 

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Isn't that Galapagos diving season is August through November? Sounds like your trip was just an okay trip when come to diving.

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Isn't that Galapagos diving season is August through November? Sounds like your trip was just an okay trip when come to diving.

There is no diving season in Darwin and wolf except for mantas and whale sharks

Mantas were there (I saw them in open ocean) whale sharks supposed to come from June

Hammerhead and other sharks are all year around

This was supposed to be manta season (but wasn't bothered about mantas really) the hammerhead were out in the blue

Also there were no thermoclines at least down to where I could go with ean32

Apparently hammerheads over just above the thermocline but with the warmer water this may be down to 40+ as it happens when you go see them in other places

The trip delivered the fish species (except mantas and mola that we saw none) but failed on the quantities

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Sorry to hear about the Galapagos trip. That kind of diving can be hit or miss. We just got back from a very disappointing trip to Socorro. Galapagos is still amazing, and you should try to go again in another year.

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What's the best boat/time of year for temperate water dives there? My one regret from my trip was not getting more opportunity to do cold water dives with penguins and iguanas and sunfish, etc.

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As far as I know iguanas are only on aggressors schedule other boats only do them on 10 days trip. Water is coldest in late September looking at historical data. It is not that cold at surface but thermocline can get to 13-14C

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