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Dive Review of Humbolt Explorer / Tip Top Diving in
Galapagos Islands

Humbolt Explorer / Tip Top Diving: "Galapagos Diving - WAY exceeded my expectations!", Sep, 2015,

by Autumn Blum, FL, US ( 1 report with 1 Helpful vote). Report 8452 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We booked this trip almost two years ago, arranged by Jorge at Tip Top Diving and Andy from Utila Dive Center. Jorge's colleagues helped plan every detail, including our flight arrangements, hotel before and after the liveaboard, airport transfers, land tours, etc. It was all perfect!

I've read alot about the challenging conditions in the Galapagos, and was honestly a little nervous. I have about 50 dives with my drysuit, but didn't feel rock solid with it yet. (I'm a Florida girl - cold water diving is below 76. Reading the reports for the Galapagos, I knew it would be dry suit only for me. I'm glad I did, although with El Nino, water temps were uncharacteristically warm (76 - 70). I also feel pretty rock solid going dry now!).

Time for the check out dive. We were immediately greeted by 3 beautiful hammerheads. Huge garden eels and more morays than I've ever seen on any ten dives combined were RIGHT there. Another small school of hammers swims by, then a Mola Mola swims over to check us out. It circles back a few times, then I got distracted by the sea lion pups wanting to play in my bubbles (I was on a rebreather, so I was furiously generating bubbles for them to play with). Back on the boat, and I'm obviously whooping and hollering - totally ecstatic about what was most likely the best dive of my life. And the locals sort of shrug and were like 'yeah, that was a nice dive.'

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!??? They weren't. It got better from there. What more can I say? Massive schools of hammerheads, the occasional whale shark, sea lions and seals. And dolphins and more turtles than you can imagine. Galapagos. Why aren't you closer??

One disclaimer - this was a rebreather only trip, mostly within recreational limits. I'm sure we had closer encounters, but this would be (almost) as spectacular on open circuit.

Now the boat. I've never met a happier crew. The dive guides LOVED diving. Many of the crew didn't speak English, but they seemed to anticipate all my questions or needs with a smile. And the young lady cleaning? She must sprout additional arms and legs every time we go under water or eat. The room was ALWAYS spotless. She'd even do light laundry for you if you asked nice. The food was plentiful and tasty, the rooms were well appointed and comfortable.

The dive deck could use some work. There's 4 spaces on the bottom level (I snagged one), and the rest are up a few stairs. The captain always finds a calm harbor to anchor, but you have to pay attention going down those stairs with your gear. I think the engines are in need of an overhaul (smoky) and believe they said that was happening soon.

The diving is all done off 2 zodiacs which was surprisingly easy. The runs were short and the guides would help seat you and pass down cameras. No problem rolling in with the big rigs, but if you're not comfortable, they are happy to hand them to you. Getting back on can be a challenge. We took our gear off in the water and most pulled back onto the boat. I'm not proud and used the little ladder - it was a piece of cake.

Conditions can be rough and the current is quite strong. You should be very comfortable with your buoyancy, drift diving and hanging onto the rocks and ducking out of the current. Galapagos diving is probably the best in the world, but is not for the faint of heart (or body). You should be in relatively good shape and I personally wouldn't think that asking for a minimum of 100 dives of experience would be at all out of line.

Did I say that I've already booked my trip for 2017?

You can check out some of my and John's pics here - if you can't see it, feel free to send me a friend request. A friend of undercurrent is a friend of mine:
[ link]

Websites Humbolt Explorer / Tip Top Diving   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving I've dove throughout the Bahamas, Isla Mujeres, Palau, Maldives, North Carolina, east coast of FL, and can still say my favorite diving is in the Florida Keys.
Closest Airport Getting There We flew from Miami into Quito. Overnighted, then morning flight to the Galapagos. It was suprisingly smoothe.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 70-75°F / 21-24°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions You must dive with the dive guide. They are all national park guides, but I promise you will run out of air before they do.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters 4 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 N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Nice camera table and guides are quite used to photographers and our inherant needs...
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Report currently has 1 Helpful vote

Subscriber's Comments

By Gari Sisk in AK, US at Dec 14, 2015 19:31 EST  
Where did you access the boat?
By report author: Autumn Blum in FL, US at Dec 20, 2015 08:25 EST  
We joined them on Baltra and disembarked on Isabella.
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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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