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Dive Review of Peter Hughes Sky Dancer in
Galapagos Islands/N/A

Peter Hughes Sky Dancer, Jun, 2004,

by Frank Goldsmith, CO, USA ( 2 reports). Report 1402.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Turks & Caicos, Bonaire, Cozumel, Caymans, Australia, Papua New Guina, Solomons
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas surge, currents
Water Temp 68 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Your computer's limits.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 2 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 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments See below.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments A truly breathtaking trip. I booked my Sky Dancer trip thru Reef and Rainforest (www.Reefrainfrst.com) who are very knowledgeable about both adventure trips and diving all over the world.

Two of the tour options in the Quito area are to the north the Otavalo market (crafts) and the equator and to the south the Cotopaxi volcano and another market (fruit and veggies). I booked the tour thru Ecoventura, the same company that is Peter Hughes partner in Ecuador and owns/runs the Sky Dancer. The Cotopaxi volcano is awesome. It is over 6000 meters and we drove via easy dirt road to the plateau at about 4000 meters where there was a small lake and a large herd of wild horses. The temps were cool so bring a jacket. On the way back, we stopped at a fabulous estate and had lunch looking over a garden with a combination of high alpine and tropical plants. Somehow, this area sustains palm trees right next to pine trees towering over tropical flowers in 50 degree weather. Amazing!

The Master cabins are very roomy, have two double beds (or are combined into a queen bed) and a nightstand and closet. The bath is spacious. For all of the space in these cabins, they have surprisingly little storage.

We did a shallow checkout dive and everyone was able to get comfortable with the dive operation. There is space under each divers area for the gear, although it would have been nice to have a basket for our small gear rather than having it rolling around. This is a suggestion for Peter Hughes. The metal seating/tank holders are such that a basket cant fit, but they really need to find a way for everyone to keep their gear organized other than the small cubby provided each diver where everything stays wet. Most of the passengers dove nitrox all week for $200.

The diving was truly world class. We began diving in the central islands and there were many tropical fish, some nice coral, and many sea lions. The water was 68-72 degrees and most divers wore a 7 mil or a 7/5 with hood. Two of us, including me, wore dry suits. They were exceptionally comfortable in the colder water of the central and southern islands. In the northern islands of Wolf and Darwin, the water was 77-79 and I wore a 3 mil wetsuit and polartec fleece suit underneath. There were significant currents throughout the islands, but especially at Wolf and Darwin. This is advanced diving and is not recommended for newer divers. There are barnacles on the rocks and very tough gloves are required. A safety sausage, whistle (dive alert), and tank lite are required and were provided. The boat also provided each diver an EPIRB (emergency locator beacon).

Underwater, we saw many sea lions who played with us endlessly and entertained both the divers and themselves. They came very close, played with our fins, and blew bubbles at us. Fabulous. There were spotted eagle rays, a few mantas, several other types of rays, along with large schools of jacks, barracuda, and free swimming moray eels of many colors. We had dolphins swim with us several times and once they swam right among us for thirty seconds and squealed the whole time. Wonderful, rare experience. There were hammerhead and Galapagos sharks on almost every dive, often in groups, sometimes in large schools. On the transit to Wolf Island, we dove for one day at Wolf on the way north and saw many sharks, and a few times we described it as a wall of sharks as they were everywhere around us as we huddled in the rocks.

We spent two days at Darwins Arch. We dove basically the same site for two days (8 dives) but never got bored. Again, dolphins, rays, sharks, large schools of fish and .. whale sharks on every dive except one. They varied in length from about 25 feet to 50 feet. The first whale shark that we saw was a shock to me. We had just submerged to the edge of the wall and were just getting settled on the edge to watch out into the blue. Someone pointed above us and I looked up to see a bus sized silhouette about to pass 15 feet over my head. After it had departed, I asked myself if it had really happened. It was so astounding that I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasnt imagining things. Needless to say, we had eight thrilling dives and by the time it was over, we were ready to look for something other than whale sharks since we all had our photos, our video, and our stunning memories.

During the trip, we took several land tours which were equally interesting and enjoyable. We saw marine iguanas, many small lizards, flamingos, a variety of birds including blue footed boobies, penguins, and sea lions up close. We also toured the Charles Darwin Station and saw a wide variety of turtles and land iguanas.

The two divemasters, Santiago and Haime, were experts. They took great care of us, showed us unique features and creatures underwater, helped some of the less experienced divers, and spoke excellent English. The crew was very helpful, willing to do anything to keep us happy, glad to cook nearly anything we wanted (my banana pancakes), handled all of our dive gear, and brought us snacks and hot cocoa as well retuned from every dive. They even rinsed all the gear after each dive, helped people out of their wetsuits, and had towels waiting as we exited the deck shower.

One of my tripmates created his own website that is amazing and gives lots of details and photos: [gagme.com link] /> To go straight to the photos and videos, follow this link:
[gagme.com link] /> Email me for my entire trip log which is three times longer than this summary. What a trip!
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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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