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Dive Review of Peter Hughes -- Sky Dancer in
Galapagos Islands

Peter Hughes -- Sky Dancer: "Beyond expectations", May, 2017,

by Mary McCombie, CT, US (Contributor Contributor 18 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 9612 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments My expectations for this trip were high, and it's rare that one comes back with expectations exceeded. Since you doubtless already have a good idea of what diving Galapagos is like, I will report less on the diving and more on the experience. The diving mostly rocked, although the memory of Darwin, Wolf, Isabela, and Fernandina tends to displace the few dives that were a little quiet. Don't consider going unless you feel really comfortable with your buoyancy in rough conditions; you will enjoy yourself even in downcurrents, cross currents, etc. if buoyancy is comfortable. Wear good gloves because you will need to grab onto barnacles; bring a reef hook. 7mm plus hooded vest plus warm booties will save your bacon. Divers on this trip wearing 3mm froze. The water temps ranged from 64F to 75F. Bring a strong portable torch so you can sniff around not just on the one night dive but during often occluded and turbid day dives. Pack some warm shirts or jackets, plus something lightweight with long sleeves to protect you on the daytime expeditions since the sun is very powerful.

The boat is compact, well-organized, and has a wonderful crew that really delivers great service. Loved the food, the flowing wine, the dance parties, and the excellent naturalist guiding from Max Castillo. Staterooms are not bad for a liveaboard, with almost enough storage and a larger than average bathroom. Shower water pressure was a tad weak but I often showered on deck after the dives in hot abundant water. Crew helps you suit up, gear down, and washes and hangs your wetsuit and other thermal coverage after every dive--which I really appreciated. They offer a warm towel after you rinse off on deck, a warm drink when you arrive after a dive, and warm smiles at all times. Be sure to be physically ready to walk wearing all your gear from the boat onto the panga, which means moving from one moving surface onto another even more storm-tossed boat, wearing 80 pounds of gear and stepping down. Squats are good prep!

The land expeditions are carefully organized and fascinating. You will see the giant tortoises, penguins, the astonishing volcanic landscapes (sometimes barren, sometimes lush), and birds galore. Be sure to bring a decent pair of shoes, hat, sunblock, etc..

The esprit, organization, and good food on the boat really made this a great trip. Indeed, after 49 liveaboard trips, this was my first where everyone on board was perfectly congenial, made even easier by the excellent crew. Starting to save up for a return trip! How many hammerheads, whale sharks, mobula and eagle rays, mola molas, etc. etc. can one process? You'll need more than one trip!

BTW, I booked directly with Dive Encounters, who also booked my Guayaquil hotel and the air to and from San Cristobal. I asked for business class on the flights to and from there, and had no trouble with my two checked bags (one quite heavy). However, everyone in coach had no problem either. They did a great job. And listen when they say to bring a good SMB and Dive Alert. That way, everyone in the water is fully kitted up for safety.
Websites Peter Hughes -- Sky Dancer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving all over the world
Closest Airport GYE Getting There easy to fly to Guayaquil and San Cristobal

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 64-75°F / 18-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 10-80 Ft/ 3-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions no deeper than 110 feet, 50 minutes max on most dives
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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