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Dive Review of Galapagos Aggressor in
Galapagos Islands

July, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Frank Zegler, CO, USA (1 report)
Report Number 1900

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Reporter
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Palau, Chuuk, Alaska, Red Sea, CA coast, Cozumel, Yap, Fiji, Hawaii,  new
Zealand, Australia, BC, Yucatan, FL etc

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
currents, noCurrents  
Water Temp
0   to 0    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
0
Water Visibility
30   to 80    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
130 depth, 60 minutes  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
1 or 2 
Dolphins
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
1 or 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
good if there is something to photograph
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
1 stars    
Comments  
On our first trip to the Galapagos in Dec 2003 we had a chance encounter
with a juvenile whale shark that was "out of season" so to speak.
 This encounter was with the folks from Scuba Iguana and after we had that
experience and the previous week's diving on the Aggressor we swore we
would return in the peak whale-shark season.  That is what sent us back to
the Galapagos in July 2005 on the Aggressor.  

Prior to the week on the Aggressor we once again dove two days with Scuba
Iguana and had four great dives at both Gordon Rocks and North Seymour. 
The Gordon Rocks dive reminded us of why we had returned- dozens of
scalloped hammerheads at arms distance it seemed, tons of schooling fish,
Golden rays, etc.  N Seymour was better than our previous trip with up to
five large whitetips in a single cave- literally dozens of individual
animals.  A manta at our feet on the safety stop.  We were SO psyched to
get on that live-aboard..... with these as day-boat dives the best surely
lay ahead.  

How wrong we were.  Our good dive karma had apparently been exhausted and
we spent the next week seeing very damn little despite driving all the way
out to Darwin, Wolf etc.  No whale sharks, a handful of hammerheads, NO
whitetips at N Seymour ( two days later than the previous great dive). 
What was there?  A bunch of very pissed-off divers who had just dropped 3-5
kilodollars each to see...well....nothing they couldn't have seen for a lot
less money.  We did see the odd dolphin- but not the hundreds we had
snorkeled with 18 months before.  And there were small groups of spotted
eagle rays on a couple dives.  Add to this a broken Zodiac which forced
half the divers into an overcrowded inflatable tender.  All in all it was a
less than “satisfying” experience.   

Perversely I dove Gordon Rocks with Scuba Iguana the day after we dove it
with the Aggressor ( on which we had horrendous currents but saw basically
nothing) and was surrounded by giant schools of half-beaks and barracuda
with quite a few sea lions thrown in for luck.

The crew of the Aggressor was very hard working and tried to find those
critters but it was a total failure.  We asked if they had a "fish
finder" on their depth sounder but apparently they don't. You would
think that this simple tool would be handy for finding schools of fish that
were paying $400/day to see.   The other Aggressor boat saw ONE whale shark
during this same period.  Once we got back to shore we inquired about this
"whale shark season" thing.  We also asked about the other boats
that were out there with us- the Lammer Law and the Skydancer.  Well since
they had longer and different itineraries they saw quite a few whale sharks
as well as Ocean Sunfish and some sperm whale sitings.  Grrrrrrr.

To what do I attibute this terrible trip to?  Well there is something to
say about being in the water early- which is what the Scuba Iguana folks
do.  With the traditional (and comfy) breakfast and first dive schedule on
the Aggressor there is no way you can get in the water much before 9:00. 
The SI guides either have clairvoyant powers ( which I will accept given
the results) or have a lot better local knowledge than the Agg boys do.  We
might have had a weird water condition- there was practically no current
out at Darwin and the weather was balmy- we were expecting a lot more wind,
colder conditions and more powerful currents- we understood that these were
the conditions that were optimal for the big critters.  We also suspect
that as for hammerheads at Darwin we may be seeing the result of the
extensive shark finning out there. There certainly were NO lobster  ( well…
two but I’m not saying where) and we saw exactly one sea cucumber during
our entire stay.  Those two species have been hunted to the last specimen
by the "desperate" local fishermen (most of whom are hardly
long-standing residents and are instead relative newcomers bent on making a
better living than on the mainland no matter what the long-term
consequences).  We hear that since Gordon Rocks is rather close-in that
there is less fishing pressure on it since you cannot hide your illegal
boat so readily.  Perhaps most importantly there are just fewer people in
the water with the small day boats than with the big live-aboards.
Certainly the bubble curtains released by 20 divers hanging on the rocks
creates a repellant effect on the sharks- from what we could see.

In any event we intend to return – just not on the Aggressor.  Based on our
discussions with local guides and guests it looks like the 10 day trips on
the Lammer Law look best with the Skydancer also right up there.  And we
will be sure to go with Scuba Iguana too – just in case.
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Other dive reports on Aggressor Fleet

AllGalapagos Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Galapagos Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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