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DiveTheGalapagos

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There will be a new Galapagos liveaboard beginning operations May 2, 2019. She was one of the original Ecoventura boats (Eric, Letty, Flamingo, Galapagos Sky) that is still undergoing a complete rebuild: New motors, new generators, new compressors and Nitrox system, back to the studs rebuild on the entire interior, sundeck with jacuzzi and they added a new dive deck which will have camera tables, rinse tanks, hot showers and a head.

The itinerary includes Darwin, Wolf and the western sites with the addition of a site only scientists or others with special permission have dived over the last few years, Marchena. You can see some old photos before the rebuild here. Departures are on Thursday from San Cristobal.

The owners are a pretty remarkable family from Galapagos. The brothers and sister grew up watching Jacques Cousteau. Their father was a fisherman and named his fishing boat Calipso. As part of the arduous process of getting the permit to dive, the father traded in his fishing boat to help his children get the dive permit. Carlos (Jr) is defending his thesis next month for his PhD and runs a respected foundation he founded in Galapagos. Sister Gabriela is a biotech engineer who studied in the UK. Brother Fabian has his masters in environmental impact studies and brother Bolivar exports contaminants out of Galapagos for recycling on the mainland. Like I said, a remarkable family. And yes, in Ecuador, Calipso is spelled with an 'i', not a 'y'.

They are offering the introductory rate of $4945 pp for the first 3 months of operation: May, June & July of 2019. Get in touch if you would like to know more or are interested in a departure.

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Dianshan

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Looking to do a liveaboard in May! Would you recommend this boat for diving? Concerned with new operation that they may not be as experienced with dealing with dive operations (although they are very much experienced with naturalist cruises).
Also have you heard about Galapagos Aqua liveaboard? Apparently they are new too but offers a more budget friendly rate
 
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DiveTheGalapagos

DiveTheGalapagos

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Galapagos Aqua is not new. It was Penguino, then Astrea and has now been rebranded to Galapagos Agua. It's more of a tourist class boat than Calipso and others with a price that reflects that. Calipso is a nicer yacht, more spacious, a better dive deck, no bunk beds, sundeck with jacuzzi and all systems as well as every inch of interior and exterior common space are new. So it depends on what you're comfortable with and what your priorities are.

PS...Calipso has been pushed back to July, so if your dates are in May...
 

Dianshan

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Thanks for the information! It's good to know the previous names of the Galapagos Aqua so at least it is not a totally new operation and seems like it does have experience in running a dive liveaboard. We are fine with less comfort as long as the diving is managed well and the price point is a big plus. Trying to find more information about this liveaboard but there is almost none - I guess also because it's being rebranded and refurbished.

And unfortunately Calipso cannot be considered since it is delayed.
 

aimwich

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Galapagos Aqua is not new. It was Penguino, then Astrea and has now been rebranded to Galapagos Agua. It's more of a tourist class boat than Calipso and others with a price that reflects that. Calipso is a nicer yacht, more spacious, a better dive deck, no bunk beds, sundeck with jacuzzi and all systems as well as every inch of interior and exterior common space are new. So it depends on what you're comfortable with and what your priorities are.

PS...Calipso has been pushed back to July, so if your dates are in May...

Do you have a sense of how smooth the dive operations will be, how experienced the crew will be, etc. given it’s a new boat? Starting to research a trip from June-August to try to see some whale sharks before the water gets completely freezing...
 

Dianshan

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Do you have a sense of how smooth the dive operations will be, how experienced the crew will be, etc. given it’s a new boat? Starting to research a trip from June-August to try to see some whale sharks before the water gets completely freezing...

Booked a trip on Galapagos Aqua for end May. Can update our experiences after the trip. Hopefully they use the period March-May to ramp up the experience
 
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DiveTheGalapagos

DiveTheGalapagos

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Do you have a sense of how smooth the dive operations will be, how experienced the crew will be, etc. given it’s a new boat? Starting to research a trip from June-August to try to see some whale sharks before the water gets completely freezing...

Sorry Aimwich, I was in Germany for the boot Dusseldorf show. I have worked in Galapagos since 2007, exclusively in diving since 2009. We are very selective about dive guides and go above and beyond on diver safety. Our dive guides and dive operations will be excellent. Certain guides won't be used simply because they have the certification issued by the Park about 17 years ago. Some of those guides would not be qualified dive masters outside Galapagos. There have been some I have literally refused to send clients onboard with. So our standards are high. Lots of experienced crew members, so no worries there.

People don't realize how important each job is to the success of their trip...the Captains, the First Mate (timonel), the pangeros (driving the Zodiacs), the engineers responsible for the right Nitrox mix, the cabin boys responsible for cleaning your cabin, the chef and chef's assistant...they all are vital to the experience. As well as the people in port who prep the boat before you board. If you've ever been on a trip that ran out of soda or beer, you understand that last part.

I had a lengthy conversation with a free diver who had made a film in Galapagos. She may have been the first person I've met who admires pangeros as much as I do. I've spent quite a bit of time in the pangas with them and there is simply no way I have the vision for diver bubbles they have. It's almost miraculous to me. They see if a diver ascends early. They see if a group breaks up. And every time, they are there for divers who have surfaced. We joke about our dive guides that they have 30 meter sighting ability in 20 meter visibility.
 

glee719

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Quick question on the Galapagos Aqua since it was the Astrea before. (which didn't get that high of a review in general). I am looking to contact the owner and see if I can pull off a charter in 2021. Does anyone know how to contact them? Everything I found online was through agencies.

Thanks.
 
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