24 January – 01 February 2020
World-class diving with hammerheads and Galapagos sharks at Wolf and Darwin Island, and also with marine iguanas at Fernandina. Seven nights aboard the luxury-class yacht Majestic Explorer.
Combine with the Island Cruise into a two-week trip of a lifetime!
Contact Scuba Travel in the UK for info and booking.
Price: £4,500 (flights excluded)
The Galapagos have earned a strong reputation as one of the ultimate liveaboard diving destinations and not without reason. This low-lying volcanic chain was not only Darwin’s inspiration. It is home to diving the like of which you cannot find elsewhere on the planet. The marine life is unique with sharks, rays, sea lions, iguanas, penguins. Watch tuna, salema, snapper, rainbow runners and sail fins dart around the reef – if you can tear your eyes off the ocean’s larger inhabitants. This is every diver’s wish list come true before your eyes. Set your sights on some of the best liveaboard diving you will ever encounter and sail into the intoxicating world of diving in the Galapagos.
There are three distinctive types of underwater environment in the Galapagos Islands. It’s almost as if you were in three different dive destinations.
The Humboldt Current from the South washes the southern and central islands with pretty cold but reasonably clear and blue water (23–24 °C). Expect stunning dive sites such as Cousin Rock and Cabo Marshall, with eagle rays, mobulas and huge mantas, as well as endless large schools of brightly coloured surgeon fish and snappers, and of course the ever-present playful sea lions.
The cold Cromwell Current upwells at the western side of Isabela. Here the water is quite chilly (18–22 °C) and green. Explore the fumaroles (thermal vents) at Roca Redonda. Punta Vicente Roca is another fantastic dive site in that area with a sunfish cleaning station in 30 m depths. Dive with feeding marine iguanas at Cabo Douglas on Fernandina.
But the massive action is in the north at Darwin and Wolf. Here the water can be 26-27 °C as these islands are warmed by the equatorial Panama current. Before you even get in the water, there is a chance of encountering dolphins and orcas from your liveaboard. Diving under the iconic Darwin Arch is thrilling. Rocky and unwelcoming above the water line, beneath awaits a truly inspiring scene. Three full days are spent at these two islands, getting to grips with every nook and cranny. Hammerheads are the first and foremost attraction, schooling in vast numbers around the submerged pinnacles of Wolf and Darwin. Galapagos sharks are common too, slinky and svelte nipping in and out of the reef life. White-tips hide in the reef from the larger predators. If you like your fish even bigger, whale sharks are seasonally seen in the blue, munching on plankton along with manta, mobula and eagle rays. Look out for a tiger shark in the shallows!
The itineraries may be subject to minor changes at short notice by the Marine Park Authorities. However, a substantial part of every trip is spent at Wolf and Darwin and some dives in the other areas. The current permission covers Isla Lobos, Cousin Rock, Bartolome, Cabo Douglas, Punta Vicente Roca, Pinzon, Wolf and Darwin.
Every diver should certainly experience the Galapagos for themselves, but the diving is not suited to novice divers. Wolf and Darwin are the furthest points on the itinerary and divers need to be comfortable in currents and zodiac diving. Thermoclines are common, but these are what draw the overwhelming numbers of big fish closer. Dive guides are experts in their fields – not only do they know how to make sure you have a safe and excellent dive trip, but they are also hugely knowledgeable about the marine life and eager to share! Please check with your travel consultant about the required safety equipment.
The Galapagos is a once in a lifetime trip, and the best diving can only be accessed from liveaboards on either 7 or 10-night liveaboard options. This is the only way to travel and dive in comfort, visiting all the hot spots and highlights of this remarkable corner of the globe. Sail the oceans blue and prepare to be left breathless.
Launching in August 2018, Majestic Explorer builds on the Explorer Ventures Fleet and all their years operating in the Galapagos. We welcome this modern, elegant liveaboard to one of the top diving destinations in the world. Your Galapagos diving adventure will encompass everything from sharks to nudibranchs, as well as the unique marine life you can only find in this remote part of the globe. Stop day-dreaming – it is time to make your diving dreams come true.
Majestic Explorer is a spacious 36 m liveaboard, sleeping only 16 divers across two decks. There are eight air-conditioned rooms located on the main and lower decks, all with en-suite bathrooms, soap and shampoo. No matter which cabin you have, you will love the ocean view windows, letting the light flood into your cabin. Six of the eight cabins have twin beds, and all cabins can be converted to queen beds for couples. Please do let your travel consultant know your preference at the time of booking.
The communal areas have been thoughtfully designed. She features a partially covered sun deck with a jacuzzi and ample seating, salon area with dining, bar and entertainment area. The all important dive deck in generous, and features a bathroom, large camera table with charging station, individual storage areas, rinse bins for cameras and another for gear. All dives are made from the two large pangas (tenders), which are easily boarded from the dive deck
Saturday: Baltra (1 Check Out Dive at Punta Carrion)
Guests fly to the Galapagos Islands from mainland Ecuador, arriving in the late morning. The dive guides will meet the guests at the airport and escort them to the Majestic Explorer. Guests will board the vessel, have lunch and listen to the briefings. After the briefings, the guests will do a check-out dive at Punta Carrion. After dinner, the ship will depart to the next scheduled destination.
Sunday: Baltra North (2 Dives)
6:30 and 9:30 dives
Sightings include rays and schools of fish.
Afternoon North Seymour land visit. Walk the path around North Seymour Island to see the vast colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds. Sighting of sea lions and marine iguanas are also common.
Depart for western islands. (long transit)
Monday: Cabo Douglas (2 Dives)
Sightings include marine iguanas.
Transit to Punta Vicente Roca
Punta Vicente Roca (2 Dives)
Sightings often include mola mola, turtles and macro life.
Depart for northern islands (long transit).
Tuesday: Wolf Island (4 Dives)
6:30, 10:30. 2:00 and 4:30 dives. Possible night dive.
Sightings often include hammerheads, whale sharks (in season), eagle rays, sea lions, Galapagos sharks and silky sharks.
Wednesday: Darwin Island (4 Dives)
6:30, 10:30, 2:00 and 4:30 dives
Sightings often include hammerheads, whale sharks (in season) eagle rays, Galapagos sharks and silky sharks.
Transit to Wolf Island
Thursday: Wolf Island (3 Dives)
6:30, 9:00 and 11:00 dives
Sightings often include hammerheads, whale sharks (in season), eagle rays, Galapagos sharks and silky sharks.
Long transit to Cousin’s Rock (20+ hours)
Friday: Cousin’s Rock (1-2 Dives)
6:30 and 9:30 dives (number of dives dependent on travel time from Wolf Island)
This is excellent macro diving with an excellent chance of seeing seahorses, sea lions and eagle rays. Lunch will be served while transiting to Santa Cruz (3 hours). Travel by bus to the Santa Cruz Highlands to visit the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Transfer to the town of Puerto Ayora. Dinner on your own in Puerto Ayora. Return to the Majestic Explorer at 8:30 pm.
Depart the vessel by 9 am. Transfer to the airport.