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Dive Review of Peter Hughes/Sky Dancer in
Galapagos Islands/Central and Northern Islands

May, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Dave Hayden, Kent, UK
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 4103
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Sipidan, Australia, Zanzibar, Cyprus
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
0   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
0   to 0    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
See report 1  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 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
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
see report 1
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
When we arrived at Darwin Island, 2 hours north of Wolf, I couldnt wait to
get down there. Wed already seen Manta Rays breaching clear of the water
as well as dolphins.
The pangas took us close to the famous arch, we made our rapid descent to
the viewing ledge where we clouds of Jacks, Travelly and Bonito. There were
numerous turtles,white tips and Moray eels. There were tropical fish
everywhere. There were a few small groups of Hammerheads drifting by in the
current, one or two made close passes above our group. Suddenly I heard the
bell of the other dive leader ringing frantically up current from us. I
looked up and saw the huge sweeping tail of a Whale Shark. I remember
itching to make a swim for it, but our guide, Glenda, urged calm and to
wait. She knew there was no way we would swim against this current to get
there in time for any meaningful encounter with this Mr Big. I could only
sit and observe from afar as the other group were treated to a brief close
encounter with Mr Big. I initially felt frustrated this opportunity had
passed me by, but that quickly passed and I was pleased to have seen it
briefly from a distance. It wasnt the season yet so we were very lucky.
After a period of eyes sharp into the Blue in hope of another sighting, the
guides indicated we move away from the ledge. We were drifting for a short
when we were visited by 3 Silky sharks. These were inquisitive animals,
even sneaky as one would take your attention as the others would rapidly
approach from behind. In one heart stopping moment one of our female divers
was actually bumped by one shark. Shortly after this heard the bell ringing
again, this time Glenda was off like a torpedo. We all followed quickly and
soon were in the middle of a huge school of Eagle Rays. They were passing
all around us, 30 or 40 of them, their beautiful body markings and graceful
manor such a beautiful site and definitely one of the highlights of the
entire trip. The bell rang again, this time frantically; we all looked into
the haze and saw an enormous shadow. The guide was at full throttle, I was
in close pursuit and then there it was. A whale shark, not a monster by
their own standards but wow what an incredible animal. Although the animal
was slowly swimming and didnt seem to mind us being there at all, I was
breathing a lot of air tying to keep up. Id taken some video and photos
so moved away to let others have their turn. Thats when the shark turned
around and came back, heading straight for me. It passed us again and again
and again. No-one pestered the animal and it seemed happy to be with us.
Even interested in what we were doing down there?  

Finally it left us and we had to make our safety stop, again we were
surrounded by a large pod of Dolphins. This was an unbelievable dive,
definitely my favourite ever. I dont know how it could ever be topped. I
had fulfilled a lifetime ambition to see a whale shark and it superseded my
hopes and expectations.  The rest of the diving at Darwin was equally as
fantastic, although for me personally it couldnt possibly match that 1st
dive. There were lots of Hammerheads, schools of Yellow fin Tuna, Turtles
and Rays. There was something that the entire group rated as Amazing on
every dive. At the end of the trip some of the guys said Darwin was their
favourite location because theyd seen things theyd never seen before.
Others preferred Wolf because of the sheer numbers of hammerheads and
Pelagics plus whilst we were there the visibility was slightly better. I
personally preferred Darwin because of that 1st Dive. For me it was a life
experience that Ill never forget.  

When booking a dive trip to the Galapagos, much is made of what month or
season to travel in.  Summer or Winter, Whale Shark Season or Palegic
Season. I could find very little information on conditions and what to
expect during the in between or change over month of May.  I would say that
for me May was a great month to choose.  You had the benefit of the Palegic
animals still being around.Although perhaps not quite in the numbers of
other times of year, they are still there in abundance.  The only problem
was the visibility quality was decreasing, meaning they were sometimes
difficult to find or to see unless you were reasonably close.  But it was
never what Id call Bad visibility or under 10 meters.  The plus side of
this is, as the visibility gets worse, the chances of seeing Whale Sharks
increases.  Again perhaps not in the same numbers as at other times of year
when 7 or 8 in one dive is common but none the less the chances of
sightings is increased.  So I would say instead of sacrificing to visit at
peak times of the season, for a good chance to see every animal on your
check list, May is a great month to visit.  On top of this the weather is
great in May.  Sunny most days but not too humid.  The water temperature is
also great.  I used a 5mm full suit with hood and a 2mm skin underneath but
I found this too much even in the central islands.  In the Northern Islands
I ditched the vest of the undersuit and the hood.  Peter Hughes Sky Dancer
was a great boat with all modern amenities.  32% Nitrox was used by
everyone and I would say was essential.The crew were fantastic,their
enthusiasm to help and take care of the little details ensured a great
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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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