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Dive Review of Peter Hughes Sky Dancer in
Galapagos Islands/N/A

June, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Frank Goldsmith, CO, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 1402

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Reporter
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Turks & Caicos, Bonaire, Cozumel, Caymans, Australia, Papua New Guina,
Solomons

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
surge, currents  
Water Temp
68   to 79    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
30   to 75    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Your computer's limits.  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Turtles
None 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
See below.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
1 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
A truly breathtaking trip. I booked my Sky Dancer trip thru Reef and
Rainforest (www.Reefrainfrst.com) who are very knowledgeable about both
adventure trips and diving all over the world. 

Two of the tour options in the Quito area are to the north the Otavalo
market (crafts) and the equator and to the south the Cotopaxi volcano and
another market (fruit and veggies). I booked the tour thru Ecoventura, the
same company that is Peter Hughes’ partner in Ecuador and owns/runs the Sky
Dancer. The Cotopaxi volcano is awesome. It is over 6000 meters and we
drove via easy dirt road to the plateau at about 4000 meters where there
was a small lake and a large herd of wild horses. The temps were cool so
bring a jacket. On the way back, we stopped at a fabulous estate and had
lunch looking over a garden with a combination of high alpine and tropical
plants. Somehow, this area sustains palm trees right next to pine trees
towering over tropical flowers in 50 degree weather. Amazing!

The Master cabins are very roomy, have two double beds (or are combined
into a queen bed) and a nightstand and closet. The bath is spacious. For
all of the space in these cabins, they have surprisingly little storage. 

We did a shallow checkout dive and everyone was able to get comfortable
with the dive operation. There is space under each diver’s area for the
gear, although it would have been nice to have a basket for our small gear
rather than having it rolling around. This is a suggestion for Peter
Hughes. The metal seating/tank holders are such that a basket can’t fit,
but they really need to find a way for everyone to keep their gear
organized other than the small cubby provided each diver where everything
stays wet. Most of the passengers dove nitrox all week for $200.  

The diving was truly world class. We began diving in the central islands
and there were many tropical fish, some nice coral, and many sea lions. The
water was 68-72 degrees and most divers wore a 7 mil or a 7/5 with hood.
Two of us, including me, wore dry suits. They were exceptionally
comfortable in the colder water of the central and southern islands. In the
northern islands of Wolf and Darwin, the water was 77-79 and I wore a 3 mil
wetsuit and polartec fleece suit underneath. There were significant
currents throughout the islands, but especially at Wolf and Darwin. This is
advanced diving and is not recommended for newer divers. There are
barnacles on the rocks and very tough gloves are required. A safety
sausage, whistle (dive alert), and tank lite are required and were
provided. The boat also provided each diver an EPIRB (emergency locator
beacon). 

Underwater, we saw many sea lions who played with us endlessly and
entertained both the divers and themselves. They came very close, played
with our fins, and blew bubbles at us. Fabulous. There were spotted eagle
rays, a few mantas, several other types of rays, along with large schools
of jacks, barracuda, and free swimming moray eels of many colors. We had
dolphins swim with us several times and once they swam right among us for
thirty seconds and squealed the whole time. Wonderful, rare experience.
There were hammerhead and Galapagos sharks on almost every dive, often in
groups, sometimes in large schools. On the transit to Wolf Island, we dove
for one day at Wolf on the way north and saw many sharks, and a few times
we described it as a wall of sharks as they were everywhere around us as we
huddled in the rocks. 

We spent two days at Darwin’s Arch. We dove basically the same site for two
days (8 dives) but never got bored. Again, dolphins, rays, sharks, large
schools of fish and ….. whale sharks on every dive except one. They varied
in length from about 25 feet to 50 feet. The first whale shark that we saw
was a shock to me. We had just submerged to the edge of the wall and were
just getting settled on the edge to watch out into the blue. Someone
pointed above us and I looked up to see a bus sized silhouette about to
pass 15 feet over my head. After it had departed, I asked myself if it had
really happened. It was so astounding that I had to pinch myself to make
sure I wasn’t imagining things. Needless to say, we had eight thrilling
dives and by the time it was over, we were ready to look for something
other than whale sharks since we all had our photos, our video, and our
stunning memories.

During the trip, we took several land tours which were equally interesting
and enjoyable. We saw marine iguanas, many small lizards, flamingos, a
variety of birds including blue footed boobies, penguins, and sea lions up
close. We also toured the Charles Darwin Station and saw a wide variety of
turtles and land iguanas.

The two divemasters, Santiago and Haime, were experts. They took great care
of us, showed us unique features and creatures underwater, helped some of
the less experienced divers, and spoke excellent English. The crew was very
helpful, willing to do anything to keep us happy, glad to cook nearly
anything we wanted (my banana pancakes), handled all of our dive gear, and
brought us snacks and hot cocoa as well retuned from every dive. They even
rinsed all the gear after each dive, helped people out of their wetsuits,
and had towels waiting as we exited the deck shower.

One of my tripmates created his own website that is amazing and gives lots
of details and photos: [gagme.com link]
To go straight to the photos and videos, follow this link:
[gagme.com link]
Email me for my entire trip log which is three times longer than this
summary. What a trip!
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Other dive reports on Peter Hughes Diving

All Galapagos 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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