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Dive Review of Humboldt Explorer in
Galapagos Islands/12 Dives at Wolf and Darwin

Humboldt Explorer , Jul, 2012,

by Mr. Hal Berson, NY, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 6631.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Belize, Honduras, Red Sea, Florida, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Zanzibar, Iceland
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 68 to 72 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 30 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Expected to start up with around 700 PSI. Many dives started with BC deflated backroll straight down to depth and wait for the group.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 1 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 One table for gear. 2 air hoses for clearing the housing. No recharge station, but plenty of outlets on the boat. One fresh water tank at the back of the boat for cameras only.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 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 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We did a fair amount of research before deciding which operation to use. Several factors made the Humboldt the easy choice. They did the most dives at Wolf and Darwin. I can't stress how important that is, as they are by far, the best dives I have ever done and far better than the rest on this trip. They also depart on Monday morning instead of a Wed like most of the others. This was good for conserving vacation days. The boat is relatively new and comfortable enough as far as liveaboards go, though the beds are tight and I often woke up with my arm or hip asleep. It's no high end luxury cruise, but the crew was amazing. Every member of the crew right up to the Captain chipped in helping with wetsuits, getting into BCs, handing over cameras and fins when we got on the panga boats and pretty much anything else you asked of them or quite often didn't ask. The panga drivers were outstanding, always there well in advance of us surfacing, able to locate any pair that may have drifted off from the main group, which happens in these currents. The cooks were going non-stop and kept the meals interesting and plentiful. Kevin, the bartender, was always there with a smile and a beer (included in the price of the boat). The divemasters, Jamie and William, were great about not restricting our dives too much. They were able to gauge who needed more attention and let people have fun, but were always in control of the situation. They were also excellent spotters and fun guys to hang out with during downtime. I can't say enough good things about the entire crew. Also, we used Leslie at Divethegalapagos.com to book the trip, but the real work came booking our land extension, which was no easy task. She nailed it in every way with help from her friends, as she put it, "the wonderful Paco Flores" and Jennifer, who works for Humboldt. I would wholeheartedly recommend all of them.
As for the diving.....blown away is an understatement. If you want to see 5 whale sharks, a thousand hammerheads, a couple hundred silkies and galapagos sharks, turtles, dolphins, rays, fish, sea lions, free swimming eels and probably a few others I missed, then this trip is a must. As I stated earlier, you need to maximize your dives at Wolf and Darwin to really get this experience.
The currents are tough, but if you are a good calm diver with a good buddy, it's not that bad. Two guys from our crew only had 30 and managed just fine. The water is chilly, I wore a shortsleeve Lavacore shirt under a 7mm suit and was fine. My colder friends wore hoods and full Lavacore suits. The viz most of the time was only 30-50 or 60 feet due to the plankton, but then again, that's why the whale sharks are there.
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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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