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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures/Estrella del Mar in
Galapagos Islands

August, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jeff Daniels, MI, United States (2 reports)
Report Number 4390
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Great Lakes, Florida, Australia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy, dry  
calm, choppy, currents  
Water Temp
73   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Start to surface at 700 psi.
Nitrox depth limits.
60 minutes.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Separate table, rinse tank and storage for cameras.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
1 stars   
5 stars    
Great diving for large animals. Many small reef fish but hard to focus on
them with the large guys around. Nothing like swimming with a whale shark
in the open ocean.
Occasional strong currents. Bring good gloves. Buoyancy control important.
Water warmer than expected. Excellent divemasters. 
Estrella del Mar small for 16 divers. Supposed to be replaced with larger,
newer Eco-Explorer on 2009. Make sure to buy travel insurance.
Night dives and shore excursions no longer allowed. But with panga rides,
the only thing we didn't see was the penguins.
We dove Wolf and Darwin as well as central islands. Recommended. Make sure
to check the permit for your outfitter.
Expensive, especially when all fees are counted. $110 to go to Islands.
$100 for large tanks. $150 for Nitrox. $30 for chamber fee. $150 fuel
surcharge. Departure fee $40. Then there is the tips. We gave $200 pp for
the week. I think most gave about that.
Get your guide to have Aerogal/Tame waive excess baggage fee otherwise you
are in for more sizable fees.
Ecuador lovely country. Mountains, lowlands, jungle, Amazon, coast, cities,
volcanoes, whitewater all within a few hours. Great birding. Friendly
people. Mediocre food. US dollar is official currency. Change is scarce.
You can't have enough small ($1, $5) bills.
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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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