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Dive Review of Sky Dancer-Peter Hughes in
Galapagos Islands

Sky Dancer-Peter Hughes, Sep, 2005,

by Matt Brandt, CA, USA . Report 2031.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]Maldives, Palau, Caymans, PNG, Yap, Belize, Hawaii, Florida, All over Southern California, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, cloudy, dry Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 61 to 73 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 15 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]Their were suggested guidlines of staying inside deco limits and max 60 minutes per dive. The water temps were colder so most people were up in 45 minutes and due to the difficult nature of the dives usually low on air!
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales >2
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 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 [None]I am aVideographer and I found that the 2-tired photo table on the dive deck was more than adequate for working with your gear before and after the dive. They had a high pressure air hose and rinse tank. The crew would rinse you gear once on the boat. Equipment was handled well in the Pangas. Charge table had room for everyones batteries. I chose to back roll into the water as my entry with my video housing in one hand as the boat usually let us off in rough waters and I wanted to get below the surface as soon as I hit the water. I sugest this method for all who are willing to try it. There was minimal impact to the camera as you can almost keep it held out of the water upon impact.

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

Accommodations 3 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 [None]This was arguably the best and most gruelling dive trip I have ever been on. I have dived around the world from the tropics of the Maldives and Micronesia to the cold waters of Southern California, but could not have imagined the incredible diversity of marine life that would present itself to me even after reading numerous reports on Galapagos diving. The first day on the Sky Dancer was a scramble to get our eqipment set up and find our room. My wife and I had a front cabin, on the lower deck with two single beds, not ideal for a honey moon or if you have a tenderspot for sea sickness. We were armed and most definitely needed the Patch, Relief band, and a homeopathic cornicopia of seasickness medicines. This however did not overshadow the sheer wonder and excitement created by an attentive staff and crew both for all your needs above board to all your diving needs. Very helpful staff on the Skydancer. Jaimie, our Dive Master gets excellent remarks for keeping our group together, those who wanted to be at least and pointing out nudibranchs to Whale Sharks.

Our trip started on the souther Islands with a check out dive accompanied by an Eagle Ray and playful Sea Lions. We then did a rough 11 hour crossing to the Central Islands where the weather was cloudy and the seas rough and cold. This was worth the trouble as our first dive concluded by being encircled by approximately 30 Golden Cow nosed rays! The following days produced prolific marine encounetrs with numerous close up action with friendly feeding Turtles, Schooling Barracudas on at least 5 dives, close ups with Marble Rays, Sea Lions and schools of fish so thick that the what remained of the sun was blotted out. The price for these encounters was strong current and heaving surge. This is not a comfortable begginers trip. Don't miss the shore excursions! Every one we did brought intimate encounters with some of the Galapagos most famous inhabitents. We mingled with Sea Lions inches from our faces, Marine and land Igunas, Blu and Red Footed Boobies, Albatrosses, Every Finch imaginable, Frigate Birds as guides between crossings, Hawks you can almost touch, Flamingos, Giant Tortoises and of course a highlight of Snorkeling with fgeeding Penguins.

Our boat was blessed with at Wolf and Darwin Island to have the surrounding seas engulfed with hundreds of Mellonhead Whale and Bottle nose Dolphins, both of which we had numerous encounters with underwater. Our Panga driver and dive guide let us snorkel with huge schools on the returns to the boat. The silent goal of the trip was however to spot the "Big Senior", the Whale Shark. The greatest chance for this encounter was atr Wolf and Darwin Island. On our path to find this mythic fish, we were treated to fast currents and endless schools of Hammerheads, punctuated with curious beefy Galapagos Sharks patrolling near the reefs edge.Our safety stops found us screaming in our regulators as a school of Eagle Rays and Mobula rays flew past. The Whale Shark dives find you amidst ten's of thousands of schooling Pacific Creole fish fighting current in hopes of hearing the dive masters tank bager go off. This is the alrm that lets you know that the Big Senior is in the House. That's also the signal to kick as fast as you can to get a glimpse of this beautiful barge of a fish. Heart pounding and exhilerating, these encounters, although not guarenteed, will imprint themselves on you as permenent memories. While on these dives, don't forget to look at all the other marine life that will approach from Tuna to schooling jacks and African Pompano. The one night dive I did offered up a Red Lipped Bat Fish and Giant Sleeping Sea Turtle

The food on the boat was excellent with a mix of local tastes and standard fare. I would most definitely reccomend this trip for advanced divers as a life changing dive experience!
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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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