Named as 'One of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World' by CEDAM international.
Imagine a realm where penguins swim in equatorial seas, no one bats an eye at four-eyed fish, and iguanas are found eating their algae meal submerged in the saltwater. Imagine dolphins leaping about in phosphorescent water and becoming the new friend of a playful sea lion pup. Open your eyes... you are imagining diving the Galapagos.
TBC With Demand
Where the cold Peruvian Current from the south meets the warm north-east Equatorial Current from the north, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, can be found the "Enchanted Isles" of the Galapagos. Stark volcanic scenery and a hot, dry and inhospitable climate have allowed for the development of some of the world's most bizarre and unique creatures; giant and lumbering tortoises that can reach 120 years in age, prehistoric and dinosaur-like marine iguanas that bask in the hot sun and Darwin's famous finches, each having developed independently from a common species according to their habitat. The Galapagos are also home to the most northerly species of penguin, and seals and sea lions can also be found sunning themselves on the black sandy beaches, or frolicking in the cool, clear waters. The iguanas munch away at the algae that grows in profusion on the rocky shore, while garishly coloured Sally Lightfoot crabs cling precariously to rocks as waves wash over their heads, only to scuttle to a new rock as the waters subside.
Beneath these relentless waves the Galapagos are totally unique; because two contrasting ocean currents meet at the islands, it is possible to find a broad range of marine environments in close proximity to one another. Therefore, penguins, seals and sea lions, usually creatures associated with cold or temperate areas, can be found near rich and diverse coral reefs. Nowhere else is it possible to dive with angelfish, moorish idols and butterfly fish one day, search for dozing turtles on rock ledges the next and observe and admire the grace and agility of penguins and seals as they chase schools of silvery bait fish the next.
The waters of the Galapagos are particularly rich in microscopic food, and in consequence support an enormous variety and quantity of fish life. Huge schools of fish such as snapper breed in the waters, and can be seen shimmering in the sunlight as they swoop and swirl when attacked by one of the many marine mammals that feed upon them. Another predator often seen in the Galapagos, especially along one of the deep drop-offs that surround many of the islands, is the hammerhead shark. Although usually seen in solitary, they can sometimes be observed in large schools, appearing out of the gloom, nosing into the current, their strange heads sweeping from side to side. At certain times of the year migrating whales pass the islands; sperm whales and killer whales predominate, but often leaping humpbacks put on a dramatic display for us diminutive humans.
The Galapagos Islands have 2 distinctive seasons. The 'rainy season' which runs from December to May and the 'dry season' which runs from June to November.
The 'rainy season' is characterised by mild summer-like temperatures (ranging from 25°C +) which in turn results in wetter weather. It's normally the time when plants flourish and land animals are most active, but also the time when the Panama current occurs. This current brings warm nutrient-poor waters, pushing the schools of fish and marine mammals further North or South in search of colder and nutrient-rich waters. The water temperature will range from 18°C to 25°C, but the visibility can sometimes be murky. The 'rainy season' (especially from January until May) normally offers calmer sea conditions.
The El Niño phenomenon also happens during the rainy season when the Panama current is very strong. In this case there is heavier rainfall and the water temperature can rise dramatically to a maximum of 30°C, making it very comfortable!
The 'dry season' runs from June to November and is characterised by dry, cool air and cooler water temperatures (15°C -21°C). Cooler water normally means more marine life, making this time of the year exceptionally good for underwater sightings. Animals are in their reproduction period and you can find great concentrations of penguins, dolphins, whales and whale sharks. The visibility is also better with an average of 12 to 18m with a maximum of 25m. The downside is that the seas are normally choppier from August to October.
The current will range year round from 1 knot to 5 knots and sea breezes are almost constant.
Lastly, an interesting point...
The temperatures and the climate will vary within the Galapagos itself. Darwin and Wolf Islands (known as the Northern Islands) tend to have warmer waters.
Custom designed for divers, the luxury Aggressor III offers the highest standards of service and makes a superb base from which to explore the fantastic diving on offer around the Galapagos Islands.
This well-equipped vessel accommodates 16 guests in 8 air-conditioned, en-suite cabins. Four Deluxe Staterooms offer two single berths and TV/DVD player. Four Master Staterooms offer the option to combine the two single beds into a queen for couples. Additionally the Master Staterooms feature a closet, hairdryer and porthole picture window.
The Aggressor III offers very spacious interior and exterior seating areas, sun deck, on deck hot tub, hammocks and BBQ area. Diving is operated from 2 RIBs.
All itineraries encompass Darwin & Wolf and Santa Cruz islands among others. Itineraries also include a visit to a Tortoise Reserve to see giant tortoises and the option to go to the Charles Darwin Research Station.Flights.
GALAPAGOS AGGRESSOR III SAMPLE MENU
~Tomato Wedge Garden Salad,
Baked Breaded Chicken Breast, Tri Color Fettuccini Pasta with Butter Blanc Sauce,
Steam Italian Broccoli & Carrots,
Fresh baked Dinner Rolls
Caribbean Banana Faster Smothered with Vanilla Ice Cream
~Cereals, Breakfast Breads, Fruit Platter, Yogurts
Oatmeal, Eggs Made to Order, Grilled Bacon, Johnny Cakes
~Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
~Vegetable Soup, Curry Almond Chicken Salad, Black Bean & Corn Salad, Tri Color Pasta Salad,
Eggs Salad, Green Salad Topped with Cucumber and Tomatoes, Fresh Bread
~Mixed Mushroom Salad, Belizean Red Beans and Rice, Oven Baked Red Snapper with Cilantro Sauce,
Baked Red Onion and Zucchini,
Parmesan and Basil Bread,
Belizean Style Chocolate Bread Pudding with Rum Cream Sauce
~Breakfast Breads, Yogurt, Cereals, Fruit Platter,
Eggs to Order, Honey Glaze Ham
~Tropical Banana Bread
~Yellow Corn Tortilla Soup, Chicken & Steak Asada Fajitas, Fresh Homemade Salsa, Mexican Tamales,
Refried Beans, Spanish Rice, Homemade Flour Tortilla, & All the Fixings
~BBQ Glazed Chicken Wings with fresh Blue Cheese Dip
~Warm Carrot & Pumpkin Soup, Filet Mignon with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce,
Oven Rosemary n Garlic Roasted Potatoes, Steam Carrots & Green Beans,
Belikin Brew Bread,
Very Berry Cheese Cake
~Cold Cereals, Breakfast Breads, Oatmeal, Fresh Fruit, Yogurts,
Eggs to Order, Omelets
~Double Chocolate Brownies
~Cheese Burgers in Paradise, Chicken Kabobs Marinated in Caribbean Rum,
Hot Dogs, Honey BBQ Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Chilled Watermelon, and all the Fixings
~Cheese & Basil Bruschetta
~Marinated Italian Garden Salad,
Blacken Shrimp, Egg plant Penne Pasta, Butter & Cheddar Cauliflower, Sweet Onion
~Yogurts, Breakfast Breads, Fruit Platter, Eggs to Order,
Blueberry Pancakes, Grill Bacon.
~Cinnamon Monkey Bread
~Chow Mein Noodle Soup, Steam Rice, Sweet n Sour Pork,
Shrimp in Black Bean Sauce, Wasabi Sesame Seed Beef, Mandarin Salad
~Belize Conch Fritters with Chili Dip
~Tomato Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing,
Cumin Pork Chops with Pineapple & Papaya Salsa, Sautéed Squash with Black Olives,
Fresh Raisin Bread
Apple & Peach Cobbler A La Mode
~Belizean Breakfast. Baked Ham Slices, Fried Beans, Eggs to order, Fried Fish,
Breakfast Bread, Yogurts, Cold Cereals
~ Oatmeal Woopies
~Yellow Split Pea Soup, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Marinara Sauce, Caesar Salad,
Fruit Salad, Garlic Bread
~Mini Chicken Sandwich
~Carrot & Walnut Salad,
Roasted turkey, Orange Cranberries, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy,
Candied Sweet Yams, Dressing, Veggies Medley,
Homemade Butter Rolls,
Frozen Key Lime Pie
~Cold Cereals, Breakfast Bread, Fresh Fruits,
Eggs Made to Order, Waffles, Grilled Sausage
~Lentil Hot Pot, Coconut Rice, Stew Red Beans, Curry Chicken,
Marinated Salad, Corn On Cub, Five Cheese Homemade Mac & Cheese
~Wine & Cheese Party
~Local Restaurant of Choice
KLM or Iberia - Regional departures may be available on KLM from Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, London City, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Teeside - supplement may apply. Flights also available with Continental Airlines. Rates may differ.
We encourage divers to arrive and stay on the Ecuador mainland one or two nights before travelling onto the Galapagos. You are travelling a long way on the trip of a lifetime and we want you to join your liveaboard rested and hydrated. In addition, in case your luggage is delayed for any reason, we also recommend two nights.
Guayaquil is the best option, as the internal flights are slightly less expensive and most internal flights departing from Quito stop in Guayaquil on the way. Also, Quito is at slight altitude, so you may not find it as restful to overnight in this city to recover from a flight. However, Quito may be the best option if you are extending you travel on the Ecuador mainland.
One city overnight is frequently required on the return due to international flight times, in case of internal flight delay.
Your final schedule will be tailored according to flight seat availability at time of booking. If you would like to make your arrangements for more travel on mainland Ecuador, we can tailor the international flights to fit your schedule where available.
Extend your stay?
With so much to discover in the Galapagos, we recommend an extension on Santa Cruz Island at the Hotel Silberstein in Puerto Ayora, home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The restaurants are very high quality, the streets are clean and safe. And usually scattered with Marine Iguanas and Sea Lions.
Diving in the Galapagos is not recommended for first-time divers. Recently noted in one diving magazine as one of the world's 10 most difficult recreational dive sites, many dive operators in the Galapagos take their clients on an easy initial dive to take note of their ability and let them orientate to the sometimes unexpected waters. Diving is often straightforward but the strong currents and the low visibility, surges and cold water they bring make for some demanding changes in the water. Bringing your PADI card and dive logs with you to the Galapagos is an excellent idea.
Despite their position at the Equator, the waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands are cool. The Humboldt current, coming south from deep upwellings, brings water as cold as 10 degrees C. This then mixes with the with five warmer currents and they create an average temperature of 18 degrees year round with lows of 13 degrees C.
The warm season is betwen December and March, often has warmer water of 23C.
June should be around 22C water temp with 25C daytime and 20C evening temperature
If you are bringing your own equipment taking, water temperatures into account, you are advised to bring a warm wetsuit. However, for surface snorkeling, most are quite comfortable in a swim suit. Keep in mind that the Galapagos are at equator and the above water temperatures often exceed 30 degrees C.
Some consider the Galapagos the premiere spot for seeing large marine fauna. Seeing pelagic species so close to shore is more common in the Galapagos than most any dive site in the world. Like the animals on land, the animals that inhabit these waters have not evolved with a sense of fear of humans, and your presence will seem no more than a curiosity to these animals.
The Sharks that patrol these waters are timid and by no means dangerous, the sea lion pups that you see basking and awkward on the beaches are graceful and playful in thewater; and spotted rays glide past you in the azure environment. One in every four marine species is endemic, making the varieties of angelfish and even chub in the water a marine biologist's jackpot. And after all, where else can you observe equatorial penguins diving with marine iguanas?
The best spots for diving are Gordon's Rocks, with its school of hammerhead sharks, and Darwin & Wolf Islands, is only accessible for SCUBA divers. Other very popular spots are Punto Espejo and Leon Dormido.
1 to 3 knot current; 40 ft. - 90 ft. dive with Schooling Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Manta Rays, Galapagos Sharks, Eagle Rays, Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles and Whale Sharks.
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)
Moderate to strong current; 40 - 90 ft with Sponges, Octopi, Red-lipped Batfish, Mola Molas, Sea Turtles, Schools of Angel Fish, Trumpet Fish, Sea Lions, Hammerheads, Large schools of Barracuda, Mobula Rays and numerous other species of rays.
Moderate to strong current; 40 ft - 90 ft dive with Sea Lions, Scallopped Hammerheads, Yellow-tailed Surgeon Fish, Snappers, Amberjacks, Pacific Barracudas, Tunas, Scorpion Fish, Rays, Galapagos Grunts and Whale Sharks.
Santa Cruz Island, Plazas
Sandy bottom; no current Shallow dive with Sea Lions
Santa Cruz, Rocas Gordon
1 to 2 knot current; 40 ft. - 100 ft. dive with Hammerhead Sharks, Manta Rays, White Tipped Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, Eagle Rays, Golden Rays, Green Turtles and Sea Lions.
Santiago Island, Cousin’s
40 ft. - 100 ft. dive Eagle Rays, Jacks, Sea Lions, Green Turtles and Hammerhead Sharks.
1 to 3 knot current; 40 ft. - 90 ft dive with Schooling Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Manta Rays, Galapagos Sharks, Eagle Rays, Green Turtles, Sea Lions and Fur Seals.
As an alternative trip add-on option we have a 4 day/ 3 night Amazon Forest extension at the Sacha Lodge including all meals, tours and domestic flights. Travel deep into Ecaudor's eastern area and hike and canoe through pristine Amazonian rainforest, viewing fabulous wildlife and secenery. Sacha Lodge has a fabulous 100ft wooden tower with platforms for viewing at many levels, a butterlfy farm and a fantastic parrot lick!
This would be £5,599 (TBC) and includes flights, transfers, Aggressor III - 7 night All Inclusive Liveaboard, Galapagos Island with Darwin & Wolf Islands, (National Park Fee not included and paid locally @$100, Tourist Card @$20, Hyperbaric Chamber Fee @$35, Nitrox if required @$150 or & package @$100), Recompression Chamber Support Fee, Fuel Surcharge, econmoy airfares and hotel accommodation, and 2 nights in Quito return.
As above plus an extension on Santa Cruz Island at the Hotel Silberstei in Puerto Ayora, home to the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Min 50 logged dives with Advanced Open Water or equivalent, and proficient experience with DSMBs.
Kit hire from C-Life
Business Class flight upgrade
Non Club Members Suplement Rate
Diving and travel insurance are mandatory to access the National park.
All you need to do now is contact the office for the booking forms and return:
£1,000 deposit and insurance. Kit hire fee payable to C-Life Ltd. Confirmation of the flights etc will be forwarded. Balance required 12 weeks prior to departure.
Itinerary may change slightly by next year due to airline fuel costs and strength of the pound.