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Dive Review of Wolf Buddy in
Galapagos Islands/Darwin, Wolf & Isabella

Wolf Buddy, Aug, 2012,

by linda rutherford, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 16 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 6674.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving various places worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy, dry Seas currents
Water Temp 66 to 70 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 22 to 85 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions swim with buddy and surface with buddy. since the whale sharks, rays and sharks all swim right by the group very close to us, there is no need to go off on your own looking for special sightings. so stick with group and then no one worries about you.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or
Dolphins 1 or Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 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 Underwater visibility is not the best due to the large amount of nutrients in the water during August. However, the large pelagic fish just keep on coming. There is no shortage of subject matter for photography.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Wolf Buddy Liveaboard
My husband Ron and I were on the new 120-foot Wolf Buddy in the Galapagos the week of August 4th 2012. It has powerful twin water jet engines that are quiet and provide a smooth ride. Not having a prop is safer for swimming wildlife such as turtles and whales. The company says they obtained their Galapagos license for two boats by buying out two fishing boats and hiring some family members of the fishermen as crew for the boat.

The diving was awesome. The routine procedure was to move, as quickly as possible, below surface surge and current to 30 feet below and meet up with others. Then proceed as a group to a ledge at 55 to 65 feet, crouch behind a large boulder, deflate the BC in order to rest motionless and wait for the fantastic display of fish to swim by... 9-foot Galapagos sharks, 9-foot hammerheads, huge whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays and turtles.

Large schools of swarming juvenile creole fish liked the same locations and the fish schools hindered visibility a bit when we were watching the exciting pelagic visitors. It required looking for a spot where the creole fish werent, to get good photos.

When whale sharks came by, it was surprising how large they were and how slowly they moved. At times there were strong currents and down-currents. Pushing off the reef to follow the whale sharks into the blue, we had to be sure to remember to re-inflate our BC to avoid being swept down.

This August, the water was around 70F degrees except for Day 6 on Isabella Island, when it was only 66. A 7mm suit and a hood would be the most comfortable. The boat rents 7mm but they are a bit of a struggle to put on. Gloves are needed to hang onto the rocky vistas. The boat lends each diver emergency equipment: an extendable flag and a GPS beacon.

At most dive sites were Galapagos sharks, turtles, barracuda, yellow fin tuna, and a few Silky sharks. The most common little fishes were creole, king angelfish, barberfish, Mexican hogfish, fanged blennies, giant hawkfish, guineafowl puffer and dense dark clouds of striped salema. Sea lions and the occasional dolphin also show up.

Cruise director Nicolas also served as a dive guide. He gave a complete dive briefing each time we went to a new site. The second dive guide was Solon. Both were good, but one wondered what would happen if one of them got sick. We had 16 people, divided into two groups each with a guide. For the challenging conditions here, it would be better to have a third dive guide available, for at least some of the dives.

The water visibility was between 22 - 85 feet. On the Mola Mola dive, the water was a cold greenish murky soup, but seeing the odd pelagic close up was a rare treat! On this dive five of our sixteen experienced divers got lost in the murk and could not find the reef ledge where we waited patiently for 20 minutes at 40 feet while Nicholas looked for them. In retrospect, divers could have been warned to take a compass reading on the wall, so they could have been swimming in the right direction. Again, this points out how a third dive guide would be of benefit, especially on this particular dive.

The lost divers surfaced and asked the dinghy crew where the dive guide was. The dinghy driver shrugged and indicated that he did not know. Evidently our bubbles that were right next to the cliff wall were not visible in the surge. In most worldwide operations, the dinghy driver would ferry the lost divers to the proper location and drop them where the dive was supposed to take place so they could meet up with with the dive master.

Perhaps a tiny bit of apathy in the dinghy crew was a factor. A conscientious dinghy driver would know the dive plan and where divers should be.

We were asked if we wanted the hot tub fired up, but none of us were interested. So the hot tub was available if we had wanted it. Im not that into food, but it seemed OK to me, and there were lots of choices. Various sauces were provided in separate bowls so you could chose the sauce you wanted, if any, for your main courses.

Pros:
Lots of exciting big fish and never a dull moment.
A great itinerarythey know where to see the big stuff.
The boat is new with good engines and modern interior.
Safety flags and beacons issued to each diver.
Beer, wine & mixed drinks are free.

Cons:
The 7-day trip seemed too shortI would have loved a 10-day trip.
The rubber dinghies have pitiful laddersupgrading these ladders would cost very little.
The drivers of the inflatable dinghies could be more proactive and caring.
Wet suits that they rent are not very stretchy, so they are difficult to get on.




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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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