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Dive Review of Galapagos Aggressor II in
Galapagos Islands/Includes Wolfe/Darwin

Galapagos Aggressor II, Jul, 2013,

by Randall S Preissig, TX, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 32 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 7091 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments First, let me emphasize that this is fantastic diving, but it is VERY COLD--as low as 59 degrees on some dives and never above the Low seventies. Bring a 7mm suit with thick boots and gloves and a thick hood or hooded vest. And there is often LOTS of current.
I actually did back-to-back weeks on the Galapagos Aggressor II. I figured the overnight 30 hour expensive($1700) trip each way justified more than 5 1/2 days of diving. This report will include both weeks.
Galapagos, especially Darwin, is world famous and is always rated as the or one of the best dive locations in the world--and you hear this wherever you go, including Indonesia, Palau, etc. It lived up to its reputation. I will only comment on the highlights: My first "real" dive after the check-out dive we ran into a school of over 100 mobula(devil rays)! This was one of the most impressive sights I've seen scuba diving. This sighting was interrupted by a playful sea lion swimming circles around us. And more. Nice start! Several sites had sea lions and we had plenty of time to play with them--a real treat for all of us. We dove with marine iguanas feeding on algae at 30 ft--amazing pictures! Can't see that anywhere else in the world. Saw several red lipped bat fish on the same dive. At Wolfe we saw a school of hammerheads about every 5-10 minutes. Galapagos sharks(Big!) and silkys were always around. The first week we saw two whale sharks at Wolfe, but none the second week at Wolfe. We saw eagle rays often at Wolfe--up to nine at a time, and they swam with us instead of running away. KEY: NO ONE chased any pelagic, and after a brief time they "got used to you." Except for hammers--the second you breath, they're heading away--they think you're an Orca, which eat them. At Darwin we saw whale sharks on almost every dive--sometimes two. The second week had even more current than the first(tip: current is GREAT! It brings the big stuff to the islands for shelter. And the greatest current is right AFTER the full moon.) We had one 40 ft whale shark in the current 30 ft from our "hang on for dear life" sites at Darwin for the entire dive--for two dives. And then there were schools of hammers, barracuda, jacks, tuna feeding in the masses of ever present creole fish, turtles, etc.
Back toward the main island group we dove with Mola Molas. The first dive we dropped down on THREE at 80 ft--and 60 degree water! Later the same dive we saw a fourth estimated at 9 ft. Plus several seahorses and all the sea lions you wanted at the end.
The scenery is spectacular and you are given one shore excursion and two "panga" boat rides to view the islands. I'm not certain, but Aggressor may be the only boat allowed to both dive and go ashore. Almost all boats are limited to either diving or shore excursions to limit environmental impact.
The dive deck was a little crowded, but aren't they all? Getting into(with full equipment) and out of the pangas(inflatable boats) either from the Aggressor or after diving was rigorous, but managed by all without incident. The crew was almost always extremely helpful with one surprising exception: while you were getting dressed, etc. for the next dive, there often was no crew in sight--just when you needed them most. The food was good and plentiful with fresh fruit and snacks constantly available as were cold drinks, coffee, beer, etc. Hot snacks and hot chocolate as well as hot towels and hot water showers on the dive deck after dives were GREAT.
Important: the "cold water season" is June through January, with October and November the coldest. You will see the most pelagics in the coldest water--but this can mean diving in 50 and 60 degree water every dive. You will see the most whale sharks in Oct. and Nov., but the water is not only frigid but the water and weather are rough. Feb. through April are "warmer" water, but the big stuff is MUCH less seen!! Consequently, few divers go these months, even though you may see a few mantas then. And if there is an El Nino, don't go! I did in 1998 and have wondered for 15 years why everyone thought Galapagos was so great ;-)
This is absolutely world class diving, and the Aggressor fleet is the standard of the live aboard industry. If you're ready for "the big stuff", this is where you'll see it. Stay away if you are a beginner(less than 100 dives, little experience in strong current), physically limited, or "can't keep warm". And many combine the travel with a visit to Machu Picchu since you have to fly through Quito on most flights.
Websites Galapagos Aggressor II   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Raja Amphat, Komodo, Thailand, Burma, Sipadan, Palau, Truk, Fiji, Great
Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, Tahiti(including Ringora and others, Marquesas,
Ponape, Hawaii, Socorro isles, Cocos, Red Sea, Bonaire, Cozumel, Caymans,
Belize, Bahamas, Belize, Virgin Islands, Fl. Keys, PNG
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 59-74°F / 15-23°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 30-70 Ft/ 9-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 55 minutes total time, dive buddy, above 100 ft., stay with the group or close by(at least for the first few days)
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 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 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Somewhat small camera table/area but adequate. Fresh rinse water, air hose, etc.
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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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