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Dive Review of Reina Silvia in
Galapagos Islands/Wolf and Darwin and others

Reina Silvia, Jun, 2003,

by Todd Lichtenstein, NJ, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 743.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Papua New Guinea, Belize, Little Cayman, Cocos, Sea of Cortez, Saba, California Channel Islands, Florida Keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 66 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 20 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No restrictions, just diving within the limits of your computer.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments No camera tables on the dive deck. They use some of the tables in the salon for this purpose. On an uncrowded boat, this was no problem, but it would be more difficult if there were many divers on board.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 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 Due to the cancelation of the only other group, my wife and I were the only two divers on this boat. For a surcharge of $600 we had booked the owners cabin, which is on the second deck and is very roomy and luxurious. Most cabins are below the main deck and are small but pleasant and serviceable, with a double lower and single upper berth, private heads with telephone showers, cubby holes or closets for storage, portholes or prism skylights, and just enough floor space to change clothes in. Divers use the covered upper deck to don wetsuits, then descend to the aft platform and into inflatables to complete gearing up. All diving is from inflatables, which have rope ladders to make getting out of the water easier.

The crew of seven (fewer than normal because of so few passengers) were all extraordinarily helpful. The meals were exceptionally good, and post-dive snacks varied and welcome. (Don't miss Chef Patricio's hot chocolate.)

In early June, visibility in the central islands was poor and water cold, but full of life, including many seahorses and scorpionfish at Cousins Rock, and obliging penguins, sea lions and swimming marine iguanas during a snorkel at Bartolome. In addition to our 5/7 mil wetsuits, we needed our 3 mil vests and beanies. At Wolf and Darwin, temps were about 10 degrees warmer (in 70s) and visibility better. Shark populations there were teeming: there were numerous Galapagos sharks and hundreds of hammerheads on every dive. We also saw silvertips, silkies and tiger sharks in lesser numbers. It was early in the whale shark season, but we saw two that surfaced alongside the boat, though we did not see them in the water. Victor Mendia, our intrepid dive master/naturalist/videographer, reported that many more were seen the following week. We were surrounded by large pods of dolphins at all times, and saw them feeding on several dives.

Two cautionary notes: First, some kinds of integrated weight systems may not be suitable for diving in the 4-knot currents of the northern islands. My wife had one weight pocket ripped from her BC twice -- the second time, for good. Use a weight belt. Second, we were assured that our overweight bags would not be a problem, and on the Quito-to-Galapagos trip they weren't. However, leaving Baltra we were told we would be charged $75 for overweight baggage. After some negotiation, we were able to send one heavy bag as freight on the same flight for $25; we then spent about a half-hour at TAME Cargo in Quito retrieving it. Leave whatever you can in Quito.
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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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