04–13 November 2019
World-class diving with hammerheads and whale sharks at Wolf and Darwin Island, and also with marine iguanas at Fernandina. Seven nights aboard the economy-class yacht Pingüino Explorer. Includes flights from Prague or a nearby airport.
Organised by SPARK AIRTICKETS, s.r.o., Prague, Czech Republic.
Price: 130,000 Kč (approx. £4,400)
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,
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 surgeonfish 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.
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.
The boat Pingüino Explorer owes its existence to the conservation initiative of the Galapagos National Park Directorate which encourages fishermen to switch from fishing to tourism. The owner of Pingüino Explorer is a former Galapagos fisherman. Nowadays he runs a boat with the support of his family and a professional team.
The 27-meter-long boat accommodates sixteen guests, eight crew members and two guides licensed by the Galapagos National Park. Divers use two zodiacs to reach the dive sites. Nitrox is available for a fee. The dive deck accommodates 34 twelve-liter aluminum tanks and features a camera table, fresh water tank and two showers with hot and cold water. After diving, snacks and cold or hot drinks are offered depending on the weather.
The four cabins inside the hull and on the main deck feature double beds with an additional bunk bed. The four cabins on the upper deck have bunk beds only.
Food is served buffet-style in a restaurant with four tables with a capacity for all the guests. The bar offers beer, red wine, white wine, and cocktails. The comfortable lounge features an audio/video equipment and a library. Guests can enjoy locally produced fragrant Galapagos coffee. There is also a hot and cold water dispenser, with tea and milk available.
|Day||Early A.M.||Late A.M.||Early P.M.||Late P.M.|
|Tuesday||Arrival to Baltra||Check-dive and dive near Baltra|
|Wednesday||Bartolomé Island||Cousin’s Rock||Cousin’s Rock|
|Thursday||Wolf Island||Wolf Island||Wolf Island||Wolf Island|
|Friday||Darwin Island||Darwin Island||Darwin Island||Darwin Island|
|Saturday||Wolf Island||Wolf Island||Wolf Island|
|Sunday||Punta Vicente Roca||Punta Vicente Roca||Cabo Douglas|
|Monday||Roca Blanca||Pinzón Island||Free afternoon||Free afternoon|
|Tuesday||Arrival to Santa Cruz||Departure/flights|