Advice for dive ops in Galapagos?

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SharonY

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Hey Scubaboarders!

My boyfriend and I are planning a last-minute trip to the Galapagos next month. So far we have the return flights to Quito booked. I am waiting on confirmation of a last-minute cruise. The cruise will involve a lot of snorkeling options (almost every day) and walks, kayaking etc., but no scuba options.

Either before or after the cruise, we would like to do some day dives from the Galapagos, as opposed to a Liveaboard. I have been searching the forums and I can only find LOB info.

Can anyone please help with the following:
~ dive ops that do day dives (preferably only divers, no snorkelers on the trip)
~ recommended dive spots that you can get to on a day dive
~ is Kicker Rock (el león dormido) a good dive sight?

We are not opposed to snorkelers, we just think it might limit the sights (and depths) that we can go to on a day dive. I understand the limitation is that most of the great dive sites are remote and require a LOB.

I have communicated with the dive op Wreck Bay on San Cristobal, they only offer a day trip with divers and snorkelers to Kicker Rock. You get to do two dives, then a walk on another beach (which we are not really interested in, as we would have done nature walks on the cruise).

Any advice would be very much appreciated! Thanks everyone.

Sharon

FYI I only have open water and less than 50 dives under my belt, and my boyfriend has the advanced and is more experienced.
 

explore_DMC

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I saw this shop while on Santa Cruz but can’t specifically comment on any day trips. I did a liveaboard.
 
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SharonY

SharonY

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I saw this shop while on Santa Cruz but can’t specifically comment on any day trips. I did a liveaboard.
Thanks explore_DMC! I will check out their website. What liveaboard did you do? I'm now wondering if a few day dives will not be enough and if I should change my plans for a regular cruise....
 

Can't Talk ... Diving

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Academy Bay Divers was highly recommended by dive guides but I didnt use them so I can't comment on them directly.

To be honest,, if you don't spend time at Wolf and Darwin islands you are missing an incredible dive experience. I realize it may not be possible to work it into your itinerary but it's well worth it if you can.
 

Scared Silly

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What you describe for Kicker Rock is rather typical, a water and a shore activity which makes it a full day.

Regarding a LOB for diving, as noted folks go because of the pelagic action at Darwin and Wolf. However, there are some serious currents to contend with at times. As a newish diver they are probably more than advanced than your experience. We were just on the Tiberon and the Beluga in June. There are boats that just dive the central islands. And there may be shorter 5 day cruises.

If you are looking do not hesitate to contact one of the agents that frequent the boards. We used Dom at Dive Advice (dom@diveadvice.com). And would highly recommend him.
 
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SharonY

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Thanks Can't Talk Diving and Scared Silly.

Wow.... now I'm thinking maybe a naturalist cruise is NOT the way to go! I would hate to regret going all that way and only seeing Kicker Rock's marine life...

But I do not want to feel out of my depth, if the currents are tough at Wolf and Darwin. I wonder if the month / season impacts that.

I like the idea of a shorter LOB, with only the central islands!

Panic is setting in that I have my roundtrip ticket to Quito, without having booked anything or researched this properly! Do you guys think I could find a last-minute LOB that matches my experience level?

I have contacted Dom! I'm looking forward to chatting with him.

Thanks everyone for your advice/opinions.
 

Can't Talk ... Diving

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Dom is great and will help you find a trip that suits you.

Sorry i missed the bit about limited experience. Wolf and Darwin require good buoyancy control as safety stops are bluewater. Currents can be strong but you mostly hide in the rocks or drift (once again buoyancy is key). Depths were 60-80'.
 

peeweediver

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Diving conditions are worse from June through November. Seas are calmer and water is warmer from December to May. Currents remain however. We have an LDS trip in January and did sift out those without 50+ dives. HOWEVER, as an instructor I can say that I have a number of students with less than 50 dives whose buoyancy control is so good that I’d have no qualms about taking them. They have between 30-50 dives. The shop stands by its 50 standard and that’s fine. My point, some with only 40 dives are better candidates for this trip than some I know with over 100. Where we’re those dives done? Experience with currents? Confidence in the water? Buoyancy control? All these matter more. Don’t go beyond your experience and ability, but know your capacity. The LOBs may rule you out with a 50 dives requirement, but make some calls, do some e-mailing and find out. Just as in diving, don’t panic, relax and problem solve. 😉
Rob
 

explore_DMC

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Thanks explore_DMC! I will check out their website. What liveaboard did you do? I'm now wondering if a few day dives will not be enough and if I should change my plans for a regular cruise....
I went on the Tiburon Explorer. Regarding currents and experience, it is more about keeping a level head. We had one diver with 25 or so dives and he did fine…he just had much shorter dives due to air consumption.
 

rmorgan

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Sharon, there are some good trip reports for Galapagos LOB trips—you’ve probably seen the ones from September, but there are a number of others, including a gold-standard report by drrich a couple of years ago. While Darwin and Wolf are obviously magnificent, we decided to stick with a years-old plan to do a naturalist cruise, and will do some land-based diving, although I can imagine a dive boat in the future.

As to the land-based diving, I’m pasting in a response I received recently on another forum:

“I am Rescue Diver and I have dived all over Galapagos and the mainland of Ecuador.

“San Cristobal is probably the greatest site for land based scuba divers, there you have the chance to dive at Kicker Rock, Punta Pitt and Española, Kicker Rock is in my opinion the best land base scuba place from the archipelago since there in a good day you can see three species of sharks in one day.

“Puerto Ayora has accessibility to Gordon Rocks, Cousin Rock, Seymour and Mosquera, I think Gordon is the best since there you can spot a few big hammerhead sharks, Mosquera is also good but to spot sharks there is better to jump in the water at 6 am. which is not possible since day dive boats start their journey at 7 am from town. If you like to spot sea horses may be you should go to Cousin Rock.

“Isabela is far away and consequently scuba logistics there make an scuba day trip very expensive and only affordable by people that really want to spend a certain amount of bucks. The highlight there is Tortuga Island.

“Ferries are good to travel in between the islands so are small airplanes, starting at San Cristobal is a great idea since the airport there is right in town making transferring to hotel easy.”

Anyway, we are going to San Cristobal before our cruise (which departs from there), and will dive there for two or three days, the. To an Amazon basin lodge in northwest Ecuador.

have a great trip!
 

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