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Dive Review of Peter Hughes/Sky Dancer in
Galapagos Islands

December, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, US
Top Contributor   (39 reports, with 5 Helpful votes)
Report Number 3784
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Caribbean, Cocos, Bikini, Micronesia, Indonesia, Malaysia,
Australia, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, rainy, cloudy  
Water Temp
65   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox depth restrictions, 60 minutes maximum time limit.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Two-tier camera table. Exposed to weather. Air blower available. Not enough
outlets for charging.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
Our first dive at Darwins Arch someone spotted the silhouette of a whale
shark and everyone took off. Then another one. Wow--two whale sharks on the
same divehow great was that! Then we saw 35 more over the next four days.

Since our plane was delayed flying from Quito to Guayaquil, we were told
the mandatory check-out dive would be the next day. We ate a late lunch and
began to unpack when the captain changed his mind; we scrambled to get
ready to dive. The dive lasted ½ hour in murky, shallow water, just
long enough to get weighted properly and out of the water before dark. A
pain, but good to get done so it wouldnt interfere with the real diving
starting the next day.

The diving was done from two pangas stored up on the top deck and lowered
each morning. We checked our Nitrox, geared up, and stepped into the
pangas. The box of fins was handed down, then our cameras. The floor of the
zodiac-style panga was flexible, not a one-piece rigid floor, so it was
more comfortable moving through choppy seas. Everyone back-rolled into the
water on the count of three, then cameras were handed over. We followed our
guides during the dive, but we could lag behind to take pictures. At Darwin
we congregated on the wall, watching for hammerheads and whale sharks; if a
whale shark was spotted we took off, if not, we started drifting with the
current after about 20 minutes, often spotting interesting things (like
more whale sharks) out in the blue. Divers surfaced as they ran out of air
or time, but the maximum limit was one hour. Surfaced divers took off
weight belts, handed up tanks, and hoisted themselves, with help, back into
the panga. There were no ladders.

Each diver had his spot on the dive deck. The seating area was made out of
aluminum, with a plastic basket below for personal gear. No seat lid to
lift, and personal gear aired out better. Fins were kept in two large
baskets, separated according to panga. 

We started off with two dives in the colder water of Cousins Rock where we
saw eagle rays, sea lions, and sea horses, then did a climb up the hill to
the Bartolome light house; we also snorkeled with the penguins before
making the 14 hour trek to Wolf Island. 

At Wolf we saw dozens of hammerheads, turtles, Galapagos sharks, and
dolphins that were jumping out of the water like crazy. A diver surfaced
early after one dive due to a mask problem. She and the panga driver were
alone in the boat when a large dolphin miscalculated and jumped into the
panga, crashing into the driver from behind and sliding into the panga so
its jaw got caught under the front portion of the movable floor. An
Aggressor panga towed them back to the Sky Dancer where the staff started
unscrewing the flooring to release the dolphin. When the rest of us arrived
back at the Sky Dancer, all crammed into the remaining panga, we saw 5 crew
members hoisting the dolphin back into the water, blood everywhere. The
dolphin swam away; I hope it survived. The driver suffered a concussion and
the next dive was cancelled to repair and clean the panga. A finned
hammerhead was spotted at Wolf lying on the bottom, also upsetting. We did
our only night dive at Wolf, looking specifically for red-lipped batfish,
which we found by the dozens, but it sure felt cold down at a hundred

Darwins Arch is a couple hours from Wolf; we spent four days there, seeing
whale sharks on every dive but one, and lots of good hammerhead action.
Several dives we saw whale sharks within a minute or two of entering the
water. It was amazing how well they blended in until they were almost upon
us, and then we had to kick like crazy to try and catch up. The smart
people without cameras just sat and watched the show. By the end of each
four-dive day, we were pretty tired, and ready for a good dinner.

The food on the Sky Dancer was mostly good. Breakfast was a small buffet of
cereal, toast, juice, and fruit; pancakes, waffles, and eggs could be
ordered. Lunch was also buffet-style, starting with soup, salad, and warm
biscuits, then various hot dishes, ending with fresh fruit for dessert. At
lunch we made our dinner choicesusually fish or meat. There were many
shrimp dinners. The only meal I didnt like was the last nights fresh
lobsterfor some reason it was very chewy. Of course there were delicious
snacks and hot cocoa or tea between dives. 

Four days of diving with 37 whale shark sightings left us content as we
headed back to Wolf Island for another day of diving. A small school of
eagle rays hung close by for two separate dives as we clung to the rocks in
the currentan awesome sight. We also had more great hammerhead action. 

We made two dives at Isabella Island after the 14 hour ride back from Wo
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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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