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Dive Review of Aggressor I in
Galapagos Islands

Aggressor I, Aug, 2008,

by Sean Bruner, Arizona, USA (Contributor Contributor 16 reports). Report 4315.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Palau, Islas Reviagigedo, Sea of Cortez, Fiji, Hawaii, Cozumel, Bonaire, Papua New Guinea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy, dry Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 68 to 74 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 25 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions One hour max, Nitrox limits, buddy teams
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 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 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments large camera table with compressed air, separate rinse tank, staff very consciencious about camera gear.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my second trip on the Galapagos Aggressor. After a check-out dive to get our weight straight (extra weight due to water salinity and new wet suit), we headed for two dives at Mosquera Island. Lots of very playful sea lions, green turtles, moray eels, horse-eyed jacks, sting rays, garden eels and a few white tip sharks. We did a land tour, seeing baby sea lions, lots of land iguanas, some marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, frigate birds, sea gulls, etc. We saw a school of mobula rays on the surface feeding, which was nice, but we would have rather seen them from in the water. The guide, Jaime, borrowed from the Peter Hughes boat for this trip only, was very informative and knowledgeable. Then off to the northern islands. After the long crossing, we arrived at Wolf Island in time for four dives. Big currents and tons of sharks: hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, black tips, silkies and even a tiger shark, captured in a photo and verified. Also saw some eagle rays, but not a big school, yellow fin tuna, and large schools of jacks. On the fourth dive, my wife, Laura, got separated and was with Jaime and they saw a whale shark.
Next day, on to Darwin Island for four dives. Again, lots of sharks and current. On the second dive we saw at least two different whale sharks. On the fourth dive a group of five divers got separated and spent a long time, 10-15 minutes, with a whale shark, an amazing encounter. Some of the same divers ran into a school of hammerheads on the third dive that numbered in the hundreds. The next day we did two more dives at Darwin and one at Wolf, but didnt see the whale sharks.
Back to the main islands for two dives at Cousins Rock and one at Gordons rock and another land tour at the famous site overlooking the bay where a scene in Master and Commander was filmed. Again, lots of turtles, sea lions, some sting rays, a few sharks, a school of salemas which we saw a sea lion feeding off of, large school or barracuda and two sea horses.
Overall impression: very good. The diving is exciting and the boat and crew is good. The food is decent and plentiful. Nice touches: hot towels after the dives, hot chocolate after the morning dive, DVD players in the cabins (although ours worked only sporadically) and a CD with photos from the trip for free (the DVD cost $65). The bad news: for some reason, the Aggressors I and II were on identical schedules. Here we are out in the middle of nowhere (Darwin and Wolf) with 30 plus divers in the water at the same time! They could have had one diving at Wolf while the other was at Darwin. Why dont they include the add-ons in the price? $100 for Nitrox (but air isnt an option; they only have Nitrox), $100 fuel surcharge (although Ecuador is an OPEC country and the gas is subsidized: $1.50 a gallon), $70 port fee. They provide each diver with a GPS locator device in case you surface far from the boat. Laura tried to open hers on the first day at Wolf and it was stuck shut. The next day at Darwin, they were still stuck shut and when the five divers chasing the whale shark surfaced, they were so far from the boat that they tried to activate the GPS. They were all stuck shut. Finally, one was opened and after waiting 20 minutes (with five silkies circling underneath!) they were able to signal the boat and were picked up. The next day, the GPSs were all greased and opened easily.
Overall, however, this is a highly recommended trip and you need to book early, like more than a year in advance, because of the limitations that have been put on Galapagos diving by the Ecuadorian government.
We went to Sacha lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon following the diving. I won't go into it other than to say that if you go all the way to Galapagos, don't miss the opportunity to see the Amazon, it's amazing!
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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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