Sunday: San Cristobal
Upon arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal, the crew of the Sky Dancer meets you at the airport and escorts you to your dive live-aboard. After the initial briefing, there is a mandatory check-out dive at Isla Lobos where we encounter sea lions. At sunset, we circumnavigate Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), a vertical tuff cone formation that abruptly juts up almost 500 feet out of the ocean. Here we see bluefooted boobies, masked boobies and magnificent frigatebirds on the cliffs.
Monday: North Seymour/Bartolome
In the south side of Seymour Island and no deeper than 50 feet deep, the northern channel is superb. It features an enormous “field” of garden eels, stingrays, a school of spotted eagle rays, white tipped reef sharks, and thick schools of grunts, snappers & goatfish. When Dr. Silvia Earle described Galapagos as “the fishiest place in the world”, she had probably dived this dive site. To the North of Bartolome, Cousins is an interesting wall dive. Although visibility is just fair most of the year, you can find white tipped reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, sea lions hunting, fur seals, and many sleeping sea turtles. A highlight is a resident school of up to 30 spotted eagle rays. If you are interested in macro photography, look for sea horses, frogfish, lobster, arrow crabs, cup coral, blue crabs, long nose hawk fish, coral hawk fish, nudibranchs, etc. A night dive here is possible. On Bartolome, a lunar landscape stretches out in front of us. This young Island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, climb 30-,inutes up a steep slope to the summit of a once active volcano. From the top, gaze out across a panoramic view including the famous "Pinnacle Rock", an eroded tuff cone. Down below, crystal clear water invites you to swim with tropical fish. Penguins often swim in this area.
Tuesday to Thursday:
We spend the next three days diving WOLF & DARWIN with up to four or five dives per day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before returning to the Central islands. Most experienced divers will agree, Wolf and Darwin are the best diving sites in the world! Sightings of the whale shark is common here. There are no land visitor sites here, just serious diving. At the Northern Arch at Darwin, Hammerhead sharks are not uncommon, nor are bottlenose dolphins. The reef contains many warm water varieties of fish found nowhere else in the Islands and is the most consistent place to see Hammerheads.
Darwin Island: Considered by many experienced divers as the very best dive site in the world, The Arch at Darwin island honors its reputation. It is warmer by a few degrees than the central islands. In one single dive you can find schooling ham¬merhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, large pods of dolphins, thick schools of skipjack and yellow fin tuna, big eye jacks, Mobula rays, and silky sharks. From June to November, we can almost guarantee whale sharks in numbers of up to 8 different indivi¬duals in one single dive. The presence of occasional tiger sharks, black and blue marlin and killer whales, adds on to this amazing diving experience. If you still have time to look for smaller stuff, you’ll find octopus, flounders, and an enormous variety and abundance of tropical fish. Darwin Island is the biggest jewel on the Galapagos Crown.
Wolf Island: One of those magical islands, with several dive sites to choose from. If you want to see sharks, you are at the right spot. This is a place for schooling hammerhead sharks, large aggregations of Galapagos sharks, and occasionally whale sharks. Seeing dolphins, large schools of tuna, spotted eagle rays, barracudas, sea lions and sea turtles is common. The bottom is littered with hundreds of moray eels, many of them free swimming. Being several degrees warmer than the central islands, you can look for many representatives of the Indo-Pacific underwater fauna.
Friday: Cape Marshall/ Puerto Egas, Santiago
At Cape Marshall on the eastern side of Isabela island, we encounter rocky volcanic cliffs,
that drops down to the ocean floor as an almost vertical wall. You might see large animals like manta rays, marbled rays, hammerhead sharks mola mola (sail fish) and marine turtles, but also
Chevron barracuda, snappers, yellow fin tuna, rainbow runners, wahoo and groupers. There are also a lot of smaller fishes like creole fishes, parrotfishes, scrawled filefishes, pacific boxfishes and tiger snake eels.
This afternoon, we disembark for a land visit along the shore at Puerto Egas, SANTIAGO (James) looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction. During the night dive at a depth of no more than 30 feet we may find the red-lipped bat fish.
Saturday: Gordon Rocks/ Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz
Gordon Rocks, off South Plaza Island, an advanced dive, is famous for white-tipped, hammerhead and the Galapagos shark, large moray eels, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, sting rays, fur sea lions, sea turtles, Amberjacks, reef fish, sponges and black coral. Dive with wahoo, tuna, sailfish and other big pelagic fish. Divers consider the wall at Gordon Rocks one of the best dive sites in the Central Islands. The current is strong and the maximum depth is 100 feet.
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Island of Santa Cruz. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. Get your picture taken with the giant tortoises. Observe year-old tortoises and learn about the captive-breeding program. Stroll through the town of Puerto Ayora (population: 10,000) –the largest town in the Galapagos. Buy souvenirs, mail postcards and absorb local charm in the social heart of the Islands.
Sunday: Interpretation Center/ San Cristobal
The last morning, visit the Interpretation Center to learn more about the natural and human history of the Islands before returning to town to connect with your flight back to the mainland.