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Dive Review of Peter Hughes/Sky Dancer in
Galapagos Islands

January, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Shelagh M, FL, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 4680
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Sea of Cortez, Hawaii, Florida Keys, Caribbean
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
72   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Stay with group most of time.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I chose the
Galapagos Islands to celebrate.  En route to the islands we spent 1 &
1/2 days in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  After getting used to all the armed
guards, it was an interesting city to explore.  Enjoyed the Malecon, Las
Penas and Iguana Park.  Hotel recommended by Peter Hughes is nice, clean
and has a fun Swiss restaurant.
We were traveling alone and was glad to have a diverse group of worldly
travelers on the Ecoventura run Sky Dancer.  Group consisted of divers from
the US, Australia, China, England, and France. Dive deck was fine but since
we dove from tenders we still had to traipse across deck loaded down with
gear.  Enter via backward roll.  By the end of the week, a ladder for
getting back in would have been nice.  Luckily we had a very agreeable
group in our tender and enjoyed a week of awesome diving.  Usual warm
towels, beverage and snack after each dive.  Shower on deck was HOT.  No
cold water so at times, very uncomfortable.  Also noticed that green dive
towels weren't washed all week.  Didn't want to think where the towel I was
using had been before I got it.  
For the 1st week of January, visibility was low.  There were walls of
hammerheads but we could only see them when they got close.  And they did
get close.  Loved it! Still a life time experience.  Currents were very
manageable.  Wore Kevlar gloves so once descended, could cling onto rocks
and watch the show go by.  Not seen on all dives but an idea of what we
experienced included: hammerheads, galapagos sharks, eagle rays, tunas,
mobala rays, groupers, snappers, barracuda, sea lions, fur seals, penguins,
white tip sharks, silkies, green turtles, morays and one day experienced a
school of dolphin.  Best diving was at Wolfe and Darwin Islands.  Being
January, we didn't expect but was greatly surprised with the 4 sightings of
whale sharks.  A truly wonderful experience swimming like crazy through the
murky water, trusting the dive master, only to be rewarded with the sight
of a whale shark coming right at you.  Wow!  Speechless!
As for the boat, it was very comfortable for 16 divers.  All public areas
kept clean, food was always fresh and plentiful. Cabins could have been
cleaner such as being vacuumed at least once would have been appreciated. 
Beds were extremely uncomfortable.  Mattresses were thin and worn.  Look
out if you have a bad hip or back.  This was our 3rd and most expensive
live aboard so far and I would say the cabin was ok but not kept clean to
4-star standards.
Land tours were informative and interesting.  Had a feeling of being
routine because all boats did the same tours but since it is important to
control human affect on the islands, it is understandable.  Really enjoyed
the trip to Santiago.  Charles Darwin Center not at the level of
professionalism I expected but still educational and it was nice to get
souvenirs in support of a good cause.  The town is quaint and the people
very nice.  Great stores, galleries, and restaurants.  Paul Watson's Sea
Shepherd has an office here too.  A nice afternoon to finish a great trip
to a wonderful place.
It is interesting to note that the Peter Hughes chain is now owned by the
Aggressor (though operated as a separate entity) and that each boat is a
franchise.  We are used to the openness of an English-speaking Caribbean
crew that closely interact with the guests.  In the Galapagos, it is
professional all the way.  The dive masters may get more personal but all
other workers keep to themselves.  Not a complaint because all were
extremely professional, all our needs met and everyone was very pleasant;
but just an observation.
All that being said, we would do it again in a heartbeat!  A great
operation that offered spectacular diving!
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