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Dive Review of Peter Hughes/Sky Dancer in
Galapagos Islands

Peter Hughes/Sky Dancer, Dec, 2007,

by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 39 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 3784.

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

Weather windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 65 to 75 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 50 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Nitrox depth restrictions, 60 minutes maximum time limit.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments Two-tier camera table. Exposed to weather. Air blower available. Not enough outlets for charging.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 feet!

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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