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Dive Review of M.Y. Galapagos Sky in
Galapagos Islands

May, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Chet Moore, CA, US (1 report)
Report Number 6181
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas,Red Sea,PNG,Solomons,Cocos,Indonesia,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
68   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Most of the guests were on 32% nitrox with appropriate depth limitation.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Cameras ranged from point and shoot stills to high end still and video. 
There is a large camera table, a protected charging station, the crew
quickly learned what each diver preferred in camera handling.  Each camera
was rinsed by the crew after each dive in fresh water.  Could not have
asked for more.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
This is the Tale of Two Charters.  I was on the Galapagos Sky (GS)
immediately after Mr. Shanis (see report 6068 and Mr. "Davisons"
gratitutious reiteration of the complaints in that report in the August,
2011 UC).  I regret not getting this review in earlier to off set the
negative tone of the review and the reprint.  In the interest of full
disclosure, I have known Peter Hughes for many years, in both a
professional and a social context.  I consider him a friend.  I did not see
the prior review until my return and did have an opportunity to review the
content with Ali and Peter at a subsequent dive show.  Indeed, Mr. Shanis's
charter did not warrant five stars...however with a change of crew,
including the Captain, the follow on charter was the complete opposite and
more in line with what one would expect from the owner, Peter, and

Peter was on this charter as well as videographer/journalist John McIntrye
who was filming a piece for BBC World...see  .
Getting to the Galapagos is a cake walk.  Get to Miami, 4.5 hours on
American Airlines to Guyaquil, overnight, (I arrived a day early, just in
case), back to the airport, 90 minute flight on AeroGal's new Airbus 320's,
to one of two airports where you are met by the crew.  Point out your bags,
and it is off to the boat.

The hotel of choice in Guyaquil is the Hotel Oro Verde which provides
complimentary transfers to and from the airport.  The check in procedure
for Galapagos is managed efficiently by the Ecoventura staff.  Guyaquil is
a busy, neat, attractive city that is great for walking.  

Galapagos Sky is owned and operated by Ecoventura/Santiago Dunn.  There are
three other "identical" boats in the fleet, all dedicated to land
tours. GS is the only one dedicated to diving.  Max capacity is 16, we had
12 guests and 11 crew.  None of the guests had any issues with hotels,
transfers, and the like. DivEncounters markets the GS.   

After the welcoming fruit drinks and initial crew intro's, there was an
extensive safety briefing, including an assembly at the muster station. 
Then, it was in the water for the one dive of the day, a check out dive at
a perscribed location.  And no, the scenery is not, sand, and
sea lions.  Then it is off to the good stuff. Starting this year, the
Euadorian government has imposed new conditions on dive operations in the
zone.  No more than 3 dives a day.  All dive locations are predetermined
and pre-permitted.  Liveaboards are permitted to the northern islands of
Wolf and Darwin.  Day boats stay south.  Land tours are likewise limited to see tortoises.  Wolf and Darwin have current and surge.  Bounce to
the bottom, grab a rock and wait. Most of the dives ended with moving away
from the wall and into the water column...hammerheads below, above and with
you.  A pixel rich environment.  

The Captain(they do rotate),Victor, was  gracious, informative, and always
on the dive deck assisting his crew.  The bridge was always open to the
passengers.  The naturalists,Santiago and Natasha,serve as dive masters and
alternated between the two RIB "pangas" and were very attentive
to their dive groups.  Each dive was preceeded by an indepth Power Point
briefing.  When you return to the boat, you are immediatly assisted out of
your wetsuit, handed a hot chocolate and a warm towel.  Of note, breakfast
and lunch are buffet.  Dinner is served.  All meals are at the high end of
dive boat cuisine.  

On this charter, the compressor/nitrox system was fully functioning.  There
had indeed been isssues on the earlier charter and the not so mini
compressor was still on board.  To that extent one of the mains had
received a questionable rebuild while in the shipyard and was basically
rebuilt during the changeover at the end of our charter.  The ice machine
was at full tilt and adult beverages are included in your charter cost. 
Although the naturalists (government employees) change from time to time,
ours were great...great knowledge, great personalities and great fun. 
Evasion and untruthfulness...not! Yes, you will dive several times at the
same sites on Wolf and Darwin.  Why?  Because that is where the Hammers,
Galapagos, and whale sharks are.  We even had a tiger sighting...and on
another dive, a huge mola mola.  

In our some thirty years of diving off of liveaboards, we have had our
share of busted nitrox systems, cranky compressors, and yes, even a
nonfunctioning ice machine.  Dive boats coming out of a ship yard afer a
major refit, more often than not, and especially in a third world
environment have issues...some major, some minor...and you just roll with

Would I go back to the Galapagos a heartbeat. Why Mr. Shanis's
review warranted a "republication" in the August issue is a
mystery of the cosmos...especially since it represented only one charter
out of several years of outstanding service.  I know that had Mr. Shanis
been on the subsequent charter, he would have spent an equal amount of time
praising the trip.  Would "Ben" have reprinted it?  I think not. 

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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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