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nudisusie

Contributor
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Location
Spain
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
We took a 10-night trip booked through Master Liveaboards on the newly fitted Deep Blue known as Galapagos Master. We were a group of divers who all knew each other from past trips on Siren Fleet yachts.

The Diving

Prior to the trip we were all a little concerned regarding the effects of El Nino on the hammerhead populations and whilst we didn’t get the iconic views of hundred of sharks cruising above us, we did see schools of 40-50 sharks cruising about at Darwin and Wolf islands and had plenty of close encounters with hammerheads as they came in to be cleaned or just being a little curious.

Marine life seen:- Hammerheads, eagle rays, Galapagos sharks, marbled rays, black tip reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, pacific creoles, jacks, tuna, blue fin trevally, green turtles, mobula rays, golden rays, mola mola, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, blennies, sea lions, galapagos penguin (tiny!), hakfish, nudibranchs, harlequin shrimp, seahorses, horn sharks, octopus, manta rays, barracuda

Darwin’s Arch - 8 dives. Water temp 27C, Viz 10-15m. Topography - Rocky barnacle encrusted boulders with sand patches

Wolf Island - 7 dives - Landslide, Batfish Dive, The Caves/Drift. Water temp 27c (except on batfish dive where temp dropped to 21C). Viz 15-20m. Topography, sloping rocky reefs, occasional pinnacle and sandy bottom

Cabo Douglas - 2 dives. Water Temp 19c. Viz 5-10m. Topography rocky wall with black corals, fans and soft corals, shallow water rocks with algaes.

Punta Vicente Roca - 3 dives. Water temp 19C. Viz 10-15m. Topography rocky wall with black corals, fans, soft corals, and anemone.

Cabo Marshall - 3 dives. Water temp 26C. Viz 10-15m. Topography sloping reef with boulders and sand patches.

Cousin’s Rock - 3 dives. Water temp 27C (with thermocline at 20m, dropping to 21C). Finger shaped reef with steep side and sloped side. Cleaning station at the point.


The Yacht
Cabin - There are 9 cabins - 4 lower deck, 1 middle deck and 4 upper deck we were in a lower deck cabin with twin bed configuration on starboard side bow. a/c with 2 portholes, wardrobe, under bed drawers and bedside table with drawer, reading lights, above head shelves (had no lip to prevent items falling off though) Private shower room and toilet, hot water, shower gel, bath towels, hairdryer
We experienced some creaking noise from the anchor chain at night when moored up, but managed to sleep soundly through the night crossings with only minimal disturbance from the engine (i’m very used to boats though!)

Lounge - cushioned bench seating running in a U-shape. with 1 large screen, used mainly for briefings

Dining area - meals served buffet style. Cushioned benches and chairs. Comfortable and clean with big windows.

Dive deck - individual stations with crates under the benches. 1 rail for wetsuits and 1 rinse tank for suits. 1 v large rinse tank for cameras. Plastic matting on the bench was practical but a little rough! We found there was enough room to gear up at the same time but only just. 2 toilet cubicles (1 with urinal only)

Outside areas - upper deck seating was disappointing as not enough space for the whole group. Lacking fixed tables and cushions for the seats. Uncomfortable. Sundeck had a few broken bar stools but was nice to sit and spot for dolphins. Bow loungers were great for sunbathing

Camera stations - 1 inside, 1 outside with air guns and storage drawers. We had enough space for the number of cameras - about half large half compact. Towels would have been useful. bright strip lighting

Food - Plenty of choice at each meal and all cooked well but a little repetitive throughout the 10 nights on board. hot food was always hot and i enjoyed the variety of vegetables and salad items. Fresh fruit, juice, yoghurt, soft drinks, tea and coffee was always available.

Overall the boat was well maintained, the engines ran well, the crew kept areas clean, we had no issues with a/c units or hot water (save 1 day when 1 cabin (9) had none but it was fixed immediately). The yacht was stable throughout the crossings.

The Crew
Dive team was a little inconsistent for my liking- JC was helpful, friendly and knowledgeable he gave all the briefings and communicated to the dive group well during the dives. Solon was quiet and uncommunicative both on the dinghy and underwater not very willing to give additional assistance to those divers who needed it. Both guides carried Go-Pros on sticks during most dives. Briefings were clear and informative. We rarely saw either of them unless it was dive time. I'm used to having a cruise manager available - eating with guests, being about on the boat incase guests have questions (I was one myself so know a bit about expectations!)

Other crew members did their job but were not the quality that I have experienced on Siren yachts or of resorts in Asia in terms of helpfulness and general friendliness. Exceptions were Captain Javier who came to see us each day and Juan our steward who went above and beyond expectations during meal service - plus helped always on the dive deck. I read on another post re Galapagos Sky that the crew were worse than those on a Red Sea Liveaboard. My assessment of the GM crew would put them on a par with those in the Red Sea ie they do their job but are not overly helpful or present for guests. The expectation also seems to be that a 10% tip is automatic. No one of our group (Europeans and Americans) felt they were deserving of such a high amount.

I’d definitely recommend the Galapagos Master and a 10-night trip if you have time as you get 2 land visits and more dives at Darwin & Wolf. The wwdas owners have taken our feedback regarding the service seriously and are making further crew training. Safety was never an issue and the crew did work hard just not to the quality of other wwdas operated yachts.
 
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