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Dive Review of Tom Webb in
Galapagos Islands/N/A

Tom Webb, Apr, 2008,

by Tom Webb, CA, United States ( 2 reports). Report 4003.

No photos available at this time

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 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We just completed a trip on the Sky Dancer, April 6-13, 2008. The overall experience was very good. I did want to comment on a few points:

The Le Parc hotel in Quito was really outstanding, and we recommend it highly to anyone looking for a little luxury pre-or post-diving. They allowed us to leave some luggage there without charge while we were on Sky Dancer. Make sure to arrange for them to pick you up at the airport, and carry their card with you. It's a botique hotel and not all the cab drivers know where it is.

Overall, the Sky Dancer's Dive operation was great. The crew was extremely helpful. All diving is from Zodiacs ("pangas"), but it was made totally painless. The crew helped you into your gear, and into the panga. The panga drivers were always waiting nearby when we surfaced. At the end of the dive, you passed your gear up, and that was the last you had to deal with it until the next dive. The crew saw to getting it back on board and your tank refilled. Nitrox 32 was available (indeed, everybody dived it). There were two hot showers on the dive deck, and a crew member would hand you a towel as soon as you finished. Coffee and juice with some snacks was available on deck after each dive.

The specific diving arrangements did create some unhappiness. We were organized into two fixed pangas with fixed divemasters. The other panga almost always left first, which created at least the perception that the other group was usually getting to see more. They were in the water first and thus got the first crack at the big stuff. I think that the pangas should at least have rotated which left first. It might also have helped to switch divemasters from time to time (although they both seemed quite good).

We dove in 5mm Henderson Thermaprene wet suits, and were quite comfortable without hoods or vests. My wife tends to get cold, but she was fine in this. We used Scubapro 3mm Kevlar gloves, which worked great for holding on to the rocks (which is necessary because of the surge and currents).

Sky Dancer had a supply of Mini-B rescue beacons, but only one per buddy pair. If you want one per person, bring your own (as we did). While no one had to use them on our trip, we had very calm seas; I can see how they would be necessary in other conditions. Make sure to bring safety sausages, dive alerts, and signal mirrors. In some locations, if you lose your handhold on the rocks, you're going to travel a long way by the time you complete your safety stop.

We saw a lot fewer sharks and rays than we had hoped. This did not compare to our Cocos Island experience. I hope this was a reflection of the time of year, not the increasing effect of shark finning.

The food was good (if a bit bland), and the staterooms were comfortable and kept spotless. We had excellent weather and calm seas; we did encounter a few strong currents. I think our conditions were as good as the Galapagos gets, and this was still no place for novices.

Overall, a very good trip with the quality we expected from Peter Hughes. We saw a lot less than we had hoped, but I don't think that was the Sky Dancer's fault. The pre- and post-diving travel and excursions that Peter Hughes arranged for us went like clockwork. I would certainly trust them with this aspect again also.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Cocos Is, Great Barrier Reef, Soloman Is, New Guinea, Cozumel, Turks and Caicos, BVI, CA Channel Is, Bahamas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas surge, currents
Water Temp 75-82°F / 24-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-80 Ft/ 9-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We usually dived as a group, but you were basically allowed your own profile.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I wasn't photographing, but it looked pretty good.
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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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