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Dive Review of Peter Hughes/Sky Dancer in
Canada/Central & Nortnern Islands

May, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Dave Hayden, Kent, UK
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 4101
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Red Sea, Sipidan, Zanzibar, Australia, Cyprus
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
65   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
10   to 20    Meters  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
We were given detailed dive briefings, where max depth and dive times were
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Great for large animals, good for video.  But the currents coupled with the
visibility made it difficult to take good photos.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
I have just returned from a trip aboard Peter Hughes Sky Dancer (May 11th -
18th 2008).  Wow what an adventure!

I flew into Guayaquil, late in the evening and was met by an Ecoventure Rep
(Peter Hughes partners in Ecuador).  I was then taken to my hotel, The
Hilton, which I would definitely recommend.  Ver reasonably priced, large
modern rooms with King sized bed and a 50inch plasma screen TV.  Perfect
for a last night of relaxation before the real adventure began.

In the morning the Rep was waiting for me in reception, she took me to the
airport, she checked in my luggage, briefed me on what to expect etc.  She
was great.  I then went through to departures, where as a Sky Dancer
passenger, you have a pass to a VIP lounge.

I was collected at the airport in the Galapagos by one of our dive guides
and naturalist, "Ruly", who took us to the harbour, where Sky
Dancer was waiting for us.  Our luggage would be on board waiting for us.

My initial impression as we were transported by panga, from the pier to the
Sky Dancer was that it was an impressive vessel.  We were welcomed on board
and given a lengthy but informal briefing, before we set sail for our
checkout dive.  It had all run so smoothly, with everything taken care of
for me.  The staff made sure all I had to worry about was enjoying the
experience, and this set the tone for the rest of the trip.

The group of 16 was divided into 2 groups of 8 and all diving was done from
2 Pangas, which you would board wearing all equipment except fins, which
are then passed down to you to don whilst travelling the short distance to
each dive site.  The water was choppy and this took some getting used to. 
The pangas bobbled a little over the waves when you were climbing aboard
from the dive deck of the Sky Dancer although the crew were always there
with a steady hand to help.  Hauling yourself out of the water, back on
board the panga at the end of each dive was slightly trickier for some
members of the group, although we were a mixed bunch ranging in age and
fitness levels, and nobody complained or indicated that they felt it was
too difficult.  Upon returning to the Sky Dancer, we were greeted with
fresh towels and freshly baked cakes or pizza with hot chocolate or water
after every single dive.  On top of this the crews enthusiasm to help you
remove your wetsuit and equipment and then rinse all equipment for you was

Despite the 1st class service from the Peter Hughes team, after a couple of
days of diving 3 dives before lunch! then another dive in the afternoon, I
was beginning to feel strangely un-fulfilled.  Wed snorkelled with
Galapagos penguins and found the red lipped bat fish on a night dive.  My
dive log book listed individual hammerheads, eagle rays and small schools
of mobula rays for every dive, yet Id only ticked the good dive box for
each.  How could this be?  If Id been lucky enough to see some of these
animals in the Red Sea, Id have been singing from the crows nest.  So what
else could I ask for?

I almost felt ashamed of myself as secret thoughts whispered though my mind
and I dared to ask for more.  Where are the schools of sharks that Id
heard patrol the waters of these unique islands.  Where are the vast
numbers of pelagics that Id come to expect from these waters, despite
having never been here before?  Was I being ungrateful?  Was I being
unrealistic?  More importantly had I been naïve to believe the hype of
all those dive magazines and T.V programmes?  You see, where as other
premier dive locations of the world have beautiful coral and huge schools
of tropical fish, clouding the water like swarms of bees for you to marvel
at between sightings of The special stuff.  Here you only have barnacle
covered volcanic boulders.  The visibility isnt great and the fish life 
wasnt what Id call prolific although what was there looked like it was on
steroids.  So the diving in the central islands was only Good.  It
certainly wasn't the life altering experience I had read about, or worth
the long, complicated trip or the high price.  I was hoping for more from
the northern islands of Wolf and Darwin.  They did not disappoint.

The long overnight sail to Wolf was the 1st indication that things were
going to be different.  Throughout the night I was literally rolled from
one side of my single bed to the other as the boat rolled with the large
swells.  I gave up on the idea of sleeping at around 6:00am, just as day
broke, and headed to the bow.  Ahead, the shadow of Wolf Island the only
blemish on a horizon that offered nothing for 360 degrees.  This was
remote.  The rest of the group were also up, joking about the nights lack
of sleep, but concerned about the thick clouds that seemed to offer rain. 
A few hours later the Sky Dancer was idling under the intimidating cliff
face of Wolfs South East corner.  Flocks of seabirds circled high above,
dolphins leaped from the water, first a few in the distance, then suddenly
in huge numbers, everywhere.  The waters were rough and alive with animals,
waves crashed against the cliffs sending white spray high into the air. 
This was more like it. 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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