Help - need to see some hammerheads - Galapagos

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My wife has been diving all over the world and one of the things she has never seen is a hammerhead shark. She has even made special trips specifically to see them, including plain blue water dives, but still hasn't had any luck. (Her previous trip to the Galapagos was canceled 9 years ago when she found out she was pregnant). So, we are making a trip to the Galapagos specifically to see them. Although I want to see a lot of the other things the Galapagos has to offer, the trip will be extremely disappointing if we don't see some hammerheads.

Based on a little research (and our work schedules), we decided early March would be good. It is right in the middle of the season that Blue Water Dive Travel mentions is good for hammerheads. And PADI basically says they are around all the time.

Galapagos Islands
"During the warmer Manta Season (December-May) the schools of hammerheads are generally larger and giant manta rays may be found off Isabela island."

Diving in the Galapagos | PADI
Based on this info from PADI, it doesn't seem to matter much when you go. They are "most likely sightings" all year around.

However, as I was reading @drrich2 My Research Notes from Planning Galapagos Trip, he had a quote from @DiveTheGalapagos in the post about Galapagos - best month to go for best of sea and land?. In that, @DiveTheGalapagos said "Hammerhead populations are good apart from late Feb - April due to migration to Cocos."

In that same research note post he had a quote from @Dom@DiveAdvice from the post Galapagos April 2018 where @Dom@DiveAdvice said "Dec thru May is what some describe as the Manta Season and although the likelihood of huge schools of hammerheads is not unlikely, warmer water temps can sometimes push them deeper at that time."

So, now I am nervous that March is a bit risky. My wife is an instructor with thousands of dives and and I am newer with about 100 dives. Although nothing local will completely prepare us for the currents, we both dive regularly in the cold, choppy water in Monterey, CA, so we could probably go later in the season if necessary, but work schedules could be a bit more challenging then.

Should I be planning a different time? And any other info about the Galapagos is appreciated.
 

Can't Talk ... Diving

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I can't speak to other times of year but I was there about a month ago and hammerheads were abundant (100s on almost every dive) as well as other species including whale sharks and a few tigers. If you are used to Monterey, fall temps will seem warm.

Make sure you maximize your time at Wolf and Darwin islands.

I recommend using Dom for arrangements.
 

JMJ Wetsuits

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Hey broncosrul,

I was there in the first week of March 2011 and the hammerheads were there in abundance.

Water temps were very warm in the top 15-or-so feet, but temps were more California-like at depth as multiple currents were converging. I was happy to have a 5mm custom fullsuit.

Hope that helps and kind regards,
Derek
 

peeweediver

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Ditto on making sure you do a live-aboard to get to Wolf and Darwin where the hammerheads are. Land based operations can’t get there. Another option for tons of hammerheads is Cocos Island but it’s a 36 hour boat ride out there.
Though nothing is guaranteed in scuba diving viewing, I think you’ll be fine in March. We’ll be there in January.

Rob
 

drrich2

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Another option for tons of hammerheads is Cocos Island but it’s a 36 hour boat ride out there.
Judging from trip reports in recent years, another key difference is that Cocos diving may be likely to have tiger sharks (I don't know to what extent, if any, that's seasonal), and if you consider it, you ought to read Dan's Cocos trip report. Whether one considers tiger sharks a 'bug' or a 'feature' of the diving is a matter of individual perspective.
 

Dom@DiveAdvice

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I don't think you will have a problem seeing them at any time but you must go up to Darwin + Wolf - visibility and water temps may vary from Spring to Fall, or even from week to week, so although you may not get the classic shot we are all in awe of with the hammerheads from 100ft to the surface, I have rarely if ever heard that someone did not see any at all. March should be fine for warm waters and hopefully good viz and tends to be calmer seas, but no whale sharks, so if you want everything you go in Aug, Sep + Oct. If you decide on March, the GPS MASTER is currently offering 20% off their March 21-28 trip, making it $4928. Good boat with top crew and guides. Few discounts being offered in Aug-Oct as that is peak time for the whale sharks. Happy to chat with you on skype or whatsapp if you like - just call or skype me.
Dominick Macan
Dive Advice Travel
dom@diveadvice.com
www.diveadvice.com
Tel: +33 492 94 02 99 (France)
SKYPE: adventuredom

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Akimbo

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Just in case you missed this new feature, you can search all ScubaBoard threads that contain the word Galapagos and have the Trip Report title prefix:
Search results for query: Galapagos

 

Dom@DiveAdvice

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Cocos and Malpelo are also guaranteed to see scalloped hammerheads, but if it is about the ultimate Hammerhead, it is hard to beat interacting with Great Hammerheads and Tigers at Tiger Beach, Bahamas. Tigers are always there and perhaps best period for Great Hammerheads, which is like a regular hammerhead on steroids, from 10-17ft and with a dorsal fin that can reach 6ft high. They tend to see them at Bimini from Nov thru April where you can stay in a resort hotel and go out for the day, while Tiger Beach tends to be liveaboard only with options from 4-10 nights. In fact in recent times they seem to be seeing as many if not more Hammers at Tiger Beach than Bimini.
 
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