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Dive Review of Peter Hughes/Sky Dancer in
Galapagos Islands

Peter Hughes/Sky Dancer, Jan, 2009,

by Shelagh M, FL, USA ( 2 reports). Report 4680.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Sea of Cortez, Hawaii, Florida Keys, Caribbean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 72 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 20 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Stay with group most of time.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 4 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]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I chose the Galapagos Islands to celebrate. En route to the islands we spent 1 & 1/2 days in Guayaquil, Ecuador. After getting used to all the armed guards, it was an interesting city to explore. Enjoyed the Malecon, Las Penas and Iguana Park. Hotel recommended by Peter Hughes is nice, clean and has a fun Swiss restaurant.
We were traveling alone and was glad to have a diverse group of worldly travelers on the Ecoventura run Sky Dancer. Group consisted of divers from the US, Australia, China, England, and France. Dive deck was fine but since we dove from tenders we still had to traipse across deck loaded down with gear. Enter via backward roll. By the end of the week, a ladder for getting back in would have been nice. Luckily we had a very agreeable group in our tender and enjoyed a week of awesome diving. Usual warm towels, beverage and snack after each dive. Shower on deck was HOT. No cold water so at times, very uncomfortable. Also noticed that green dive towels weren't washed all week. Didn't want to think where the towel I was using had been before I got it.
For the 1st week of January, visibility was low. There were walls of hammerheads but we could only see them when they got close. And they did get close. Loved it! Still a life time experience. Currents were very manageable. Wore Kevlar gloves so once descended, could cling onto rocks and watch the show go by. Not seen on all dives but an idea of what we experienced included: hammerheads, galapagos sharks, eagle rays, tunas, mobala rays, groupers, snappers, barracuda, sea lions, fur seals, penguins, white tip sharks, silkies, green turtles, morays and one day experienced a school of dolphin. Best diving was at Wolfe and Darwin Islands. Being January, we didn't expect but was greatly surprised with the 4 sightings of whale sharks. A truly wonderful experience swimming like crazy through the murky water, trusting the dive master, only to be rewarded with the sight of a whale shark coming right at you. Wow! Speechless!
As for the boat, it was very comfortable for 16 divers. All public areas kept clean, food was always fresh and plentiful. Cabins could have been cleaner such as being vacuumed at least once would have been appreciated. Beds were extremely uncomfortable. Mattresses were thin and worn. Look out if you have a bad hip or back. This was our 3rd and most expensive live aboard so far and I would say the cabin was ok but not kept clean to 4-star standards.
Land tours were informative and interesting. Had a feeling of being routine because all boats did the same tours but since it is important to control human affect on the islands, it is understandable. Really enjoyed the trip to Santiago. Charles Darwin Center not at the level of professionalism I expected but still educational and it was nice to get souvenirs in support of a good cause. The town is quaint and the people very nice. Great stores, galleries, and restaurants. Paul Watson's Sea Shepherd has an office here too. A nice afternoon to finish a great trip to a wonderful place.
It is interesting to note that the Peter Hughes chain is now owned by the Aggressor (though operated as a separate entity) and that each boat is a franchise. We are used to the openness of an English-speaking Caribbean crew that closely interact with the guests. In the Galapagos, it is professional all the way. The dive masters may get more personal but all other workers keep to themselves. Not a complaint because all were extremely professional, all our needs met and everyone was very pleasant; but just an observation.
All that being said, we would do it again in a heartbeat! A great operation that offered spectacular diving!
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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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