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Scuba Diving  

The specialized magazine Rodale's Scuba Diving rated the Galapagos Islands as the best destination in the world for big animal encounters. The diving conditions in the Galapagos are ruled by the convergence of six rich oceanic currents that allows for a large diversity in marine species, many of which are endemic.

Manta rays, sea turtles, sea lions, dolphins, whales and hammerhead sharks will accompany you on this trip.

What is "Scuba"diving?
It is the act of entering into the water and remaining below the surface using a Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Entering into the world of diving means penetrating an environment to which we are not adapted. Throughout history, diving has made scientific, geological, archaeological and historical contributions. It has also turned into an activity of great attraction for tourists. The submarine habitat provides tranquillity, diversion, adventure and aesthetic beauty characterized by a wondrous flora and fauna.

Levels and recommended times of the year
There are three main options for diving in the Galapagos Islands: day trips where all of the equipment is provided by the operating company. Boats generally leave from Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno; Scuba diving cruises on "live-aboards;" and lastly, for qualified divers to bring their own equipment. Local operators provide transport and guides.

Diving trips available in the Galapagos range from beginners, which includes diving courses of a few days in duration, up to advanced, for divers with a lot of experience.

The best time of the year for diving is from November to April, during which time the ocean is pretty calm and the temperature of the water is warmer.

What to take?
If you take your own equipment, don't forget: wet suit, regulator, buoyancy control device, fins, mask, hoses and diving computer for controlling internal and external conditions.

Where to Dive
In Galapagos, there are almost 30 diving sites approved by the National Park Service. Among the most visited are:

Santa Fé Island
Underneath the tranquil waters one can enjoy caves and rocky reefs while enjoying games with the fishes, manta rays, eels and sharks.

North Seymour Island
Species of large proportions can be found here such as the giant manta rays, sea lions, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, humpback whales and a wide variety of invertebrates.

Floreana Island
There are several small islets around this site each with their own special characteristics and scenery. Enderby has sharks, tunas and sea turtles. Champion has a small crater with colonies of sea lions and boobies nesting in the crater. Other small islands are the home of whales, sharks, giant manta rays, sea lions, sea horses, eels, as well as several types of invertebrates.

Gordon Rocks
This area is wavy with aggressive currents, recommended exclusively for experienced divers. It is famous for its hammerhead sharks, as well as for its barracudas, sea turtles, octopi, moray eels, invertebrates and large whales.

Darwin & Wolf
These two removed islands are available for charter trips only and are consiered the best places to see whales and other large marine animals.

In the last few years, scuba diving in Ecuador has extended its boundaries. Not only is it available in the Galapagos but it is now offered on Ecuador's Pacific coast in the Province of Guayas and in the National Park of Machalilla.

Recommendations and Prohibitions
The currents in Galapagos can be very strong. Many sites are recommended for intermediate to advanced divers only. Never dive alone and pay attention to all of the indications provided by your guide.

Always consult specialized guides for the conditions of the currents. The diver should possess enough skill to manage in cold water with difficult visibility and sudden changes in currents. Due to the compression to which you are exposed, divers should be alert to any possibility to be affected by this. It is recommended that you stay an extra day in the Islands to recover from the dives.

In addition to all of this, the Galapagos National Park sets forth a series of rules that should be followed to promote the balance and well being of the ecosystem:

Do not touch the animals
Do not destroy or remove specimens of the marine flora and fauna
Do not take live animals such as coral home as souvenirs.

 

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Updated
24/11/05

 


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