Blog about Underwater Life and Scuba Diving

Diving in Galapagos Islands

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Galapagos islandsTourism infrastructure in the Galapagos is not really developed yet. There are no large coastal bases for diving here, no specialty stores, so better take your scuba diving gear with you, or inform your travel agency about what you need

The best season for diving in the Galapagos is from December to May, the highest visibility of the water is during October – November.
Average visibility: 9 – 21 m
Depth for diving:   5-24 m

Diving in the Galapagos is great only for experienced and qualified divers. You must be perfectly oriented, be able to determine the velocity of flow and face the problems which may arise during the dive. In the Galapagos Islands converge five warm and cold ocean currents, the impact of which varies depending the season, but this shift of temperatures may give “a surprise” for divers almost every minute. A strong underwater current hits the largest island of the archipelago (Isabella) bringing cool water and rich with plankton to the surface, which is becoming food for the fantastic inhabitants of this underwater archipelago. Galapagos Islands also attract whales and whale sharks. Right opposite the island of Fernandina is Urbina Bay and one of the few places with coral reefs. In Galapagos Islands fish of all colors is becoming lunch for Galapagos penguins.  Cold undercurrent is frequent and may produce unpredictable changes in water temperature and visibility. Within a few hours the temperature can vary by 6 degrees, so be sure take a suit with thickness of 5 mm.

Playing sealIt’s a great pleasure to swim under water with the seals. Females are very friendly and curious. They will play with you, posing in front of the camera and slightly biting your flippers. All these games end as soon as male seal appear. Local biologists say that the sharks in these waters are not making any problems. The problem makers are male seals. They are aggressive, jealous, with a great desire to protect their harem and their territory from any kind of intruders included divers,. On the shore of seals (female) and birds are very friendly and letting human to approach very close. But it’s recommended not to touch them as with your simple touch they can lose their life. Seals are very sensitive to smell, and the smell of human hands may remain on skin of little seal, which could deprive him from parental attention and he will die of hunger and loneliness.
As I’ve told above here you can find penguins. This is surprising and no one knows for sure how they inhabited this place.


Dive Sites:

Roca Redonda. Located north of the equator and west of the northern tip of the island Isabella. Here are sharks and groupers, all around are swimming huge shoal of fish, from the bottom to the surface cluster bubbles are coming out. In some places during the downward currents the water delightfully playing with air bubbles.

Roca Cousins (or Cousins Rocks): Reefs are located north to islands of Santiago and Bartolome. This dive site presented with beautiful underwater wall, next to is the fascinating sea life. This place is the “choice” of giant rays, Galapagos sharks, sea eels, and it’s full of corals and mollusks. Visibility is very good almost whole year.

Roca Gordon (or Gordon Rocks). These reefs are located to the east of Santa – Cruz and have reputation of being on of the best places for diving in the central islands.
Hammerhead and Galapagos sharks, seals and turtles will accompany you throughout the dive. This dive site is recommended for experienced diver because of large depth, strong currents, eddy basins.
Guy Fawkes Rocks. Calm, week currents ,  medium-sized exotic fish – what more needed for a  novice diver? Underwater life of this dive site is covered with black branches of coral reefs with picturesque underwater species.

Wolf and Darwin

These northern islands are far from the main part of the archipelago. 12-14 hours is needed to reach them by boat. Such a long trip is quite unusual and sometimes annoying, but it worth it even in Galapagos where you can find tons of stunning dive sites not requiring such a long trip. Wolf and Darwin considered being almost the best dive site in the world for advanced divers, this is opinion of many professional divers. . Local instructors say: «If you have not dived in Wolf & Darwin, then you have not seen Galapagos».
The water temperature here is considerably higher than in the south (26-28 C). Hammerhead sharks are gathering here in large flocks, up to 100 individuals, affecting you with their larger size. Slowly and gracefully moving hammerhead «shepherds» guarding bands of tuna and from time to time eating the weakest ones. Only here hammerhead sharks allow divers to approach them as near as 1 meter distance. It’s very likely to meet the whale sharks, especially in November. It is possible that you’ll see a huge (up to 4 meters lenght) Galapagos shark. But keep in mind that these sharks are not “quite friendly”. If you’re planning to shoot them, you’ll need to be especially cautious. If you’ll be lucky, you’ll see the graceful game of the world’s largest mammals – whales.

North Seymour and North Seymour Channel. Here are the largest in the Galapagos flocks of pelicans. If you’ll take a walk on the island, you’ll see sea lions and iguanas. Huge flocks of rainbow wrasses and reef sharks are inhabited here. From times to time, visibility during five minutes drops from 25 to 6 meters. In the channel with a sandy bottom at a depth of about 15 meters is a huge colony of endemic garden eels.
Isla Mosquera. The best place to learn about sea lions. Both on shore, and under water, lions will let you to approach very close, but do not lose vigilance. Try to avoid being on the way sea lions which are getting out of the water to shore.

Florena (Isla Santa Maria or Charles). Large numbers of Galapagos sharks, morays, eels and turtles. You can find sea lions, flocks with a dozen hammerhead sharks. It’s a great pleasure to watch the sea lions teasing whitetip reef sharks biting their tails. Sea green turtles lay eggs on the sandy beach.

Espanola (Hood). This dive site is famous because of huge number of rays , but also  sea lions, whitetip reef sharks can be met.

Galapagos Islands Photo Gallery ( by Pavel Rudenko , kashalot.ru )


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