Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes

Dive Review of Academy Bay Dive in
Galapagos Islands

Academy Bay Dive: "Budget Diving in the Galapagos Islands", Aug, 2017,

by Andrew Falconer , WA, AU (Top Contributor Top Contributor 48 reports with 23 Helpful votes). Report 10241 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The Galapagos Islands are renowned for their spectacular diving and diversity of fish, but not for budget diving. Undoubtedly the best way to dive them is on a live aboard dive boat which can access the more remote islands such as Wolf and Darwin, however they are definitely not cheap, typically $1,000 per day. It is possible to dive many of the dive sites with a shore-based operation, stay at an Air B & B, or a budget hotel for about one third of a live aboard price. There are several dive shops on Santa Cruz Island (which also has an airport on adjacent Baltra Island) and many accommodation and eating options. One of these dive operations is Academy Bay Diving that was recommended to me. They are a safe, professionally run outfit with a new dive boat who offer daily double dives that change each day over a week to all the dive sites around Santa Cruz and surrounding islands, with the cost including hire gear and lunch for about $220 per day.

There is an abundance of fish including pelagic species

The days start with early morning departures direct from the harbor at Puerto Ayora or a bus ride and departure from the Baltra channel for the dive sites on the other side of the island and usually finish in the mid afternoon. At the time of year (August) that I dived there was generally a SW wind, which strengthened during the day making the trips to and from the dive sites fairly bumpy. These rides are can take one to two hours. The sea at this time of the year is also rich in nutrients, good for attracting pelagic fish but restricting visibility to around 10 –15metres and also quite cool with temperatures 18 – 23 degrees, including sharp thermoclines on most dives due to the meeting of cold Southern and Pacific currents with the warmer Northern current, which is one of the reasons (apart from their isolated location approximately 1000km from the west coast of South America) for the diversity and endemic nature of many of the fish. In the “summer” months (November to April) the sea is calmer, warmer, and the visibility better, but with less nutrients and pelagic fish about.

A manta ray goes gracefully by

A school of juvenile barracuda

The number of other divers on the boat with me varied between one and nine, but mostly two or three so it was not crowded. Dive briefings were very thorough and during my seven days diving became a bit repetitive (for me) due to new divers joining in. Lunch also was a bit repetitive after a few days.

Turtles are a common site

The commonest shark is the white tip

We visited the following dive sites: Floreana Island, Santa Fe Island, Seymour / Daphne Islands, Gordon Rocks, Beagle / Guy Fawkes islets, Seymour / Mosquera Islands, and Gordon rocks again. Each site was different in terms of fish life and terrain, mostly good, although variable depending on the day. For instance Gordon Rocks, which is well known for plentiful fish life and hammerhead sharks was disappointing the first time but amazing the second time.

Two first time sightings for me: a sunfish and a hammerhead shark

The highlights for me were first time events such as seeing hammerhead sharks on many occasions, although not schooling and generally not close up, so because of the visibility getting good photos was difficult, a sun fish at Gordon Rocks (also distant), and close interaction with many playful sea lions.

Also a first time with playful young sea lions

There were also plenty of pelagic fish like trevally and barracuda, white and black tip sharks, turtles and rays including mantas Also impressive were big schools of bait fish and pelagic fish, sea lions and birds attacking and feeding on them

Pelagic fish and their target, a large school of baitfish

On the macro side there was plenty of interest including yellow seahorses, blue nudibranches, and other creatures that I had not seen before.

The yellow seahorse is quite common

There are a lot of endemic creatures

The underwater topography was also in many cases quite unique, being volcanic with interesting rock formations and erosion patterns.

The blue nudibranche is a common macro sight

The topography is also interesting

It is not just underwater that the Galapagos are famous for; on the land there are many endemic species such as giant tortoises, flightless cormorants, blue foot booby birds and marine iguanas, plus volcanoes to climb. The Galapagos above and below water are declared as a national park, however there are pressures from excessive tourism, population and illegal commercial fishing that are a concern for the future. The cost of a return airfare from Guayaquil, Ecuador is about $500 plus there are entrance fees totaling about $150.

{Some photos from this trip can be found at [ link] }
Websites Academy Bay Dive   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vanuatu, South Africa, Iceland, Scotland, Norway, Cuba, Maldives, Chuuk, Galapagos, Phillipines, Sri Lanka
Closest Airport Balta Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp 18-20°C / 64-68°F Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 10-15 M / 33-49 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 2 Helpful votes
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)
Subscribers can comment here

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 155 dive reviews of Galapagos Islands and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.

Featured Links from Our Sponsors
Interested in becoming a sponsor?
Reef & Rainforest, Let our experience be your guide -- Reef and Rainforest
Reef & Rainforest Dive & Adventure Travel
specializes in everything Galapagos. Let us plan your trip so see schooling hammerheads in the birthplace of evolution.

Want to assemble your own collection of Galapagos Islands reports in one place?
Use the Mini Chapbook Facility to create your personalized collection.

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.

Undercurrent Home

Get more dive info like these and other important scuba updates sent monthly to your email.
And a FREE Recent Issue of Undercurrent

Free Undercurrent Issue
Get a free
monthly email and
a sample issue!

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2022 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.

Page computed and displayed in 0.07 seconds