The Galapagos Islands are a National Park and Marine Sanctuary. Over 90 percent of the land and all of the waters are protected. You’ll be visiting a part of the world which has changed little since the time of Charles Darwin. It’s unique location at the confluence of three major currents make it one of the busiest, fishiest, and magical underwater places on earth.
Accommodating up to 16 guests in eight private en-suite cabins, all furnished with modern amenities, the Galapagos Sky also features fine dining and a spacious lounge area, as well as a fully equipped dive deck. Cruises are scheduled to depart on a Sunday from San Cristobal for a seven night world-class diving adventure.
The week long itinerary offers 17-19 dives (weather dependent) from tenders, plus three land excursions exploring the highlands for tortoises on Santa Cruz, observing the panoramic vistas and volcanic topography on Bartolome and the Darwin Interpretation Centre on San Cristobal, all in accordance to the diving excursion regulations of the Galapagos National Park.
Diving highlights include:
Darwin and Wolf Islands: Three days are spent here where encounters with hammerhead sharks, large pods of dolphins, manta and mobula rays (Dec-May) and whale sharks (Jun-Nov) are common. Divers will be mesmerised at the abundance and variety of marine life here including octopus, tropical fish and large schools of pelagic species.
Cousins Rock: Manta and devil rays are a common sight, as well as huge schools of the endemic black striped salema.
Cabo Douglas: Unique to Galapagos is the opportunity to dive with the endemic marine iguanas!
Punta Vicente Roca: Mola mola are often seen.
Isla Pinzon: Alive with an abundance of marine life including fish of all sizes, sharks, rays and sea lions.
Diving in the Galapagos can be strenuous due to its currents and surge, varying water temperatures, limited visibility and diving from tenders. The trips are ideal for intermediate and advanced divers with a minimum of 100 logged dives. The boat provides 12L tanks and a limited number of 15L tanks are available to rent locally. A 5-7mm hooded wetsuit and gloves is recommended as there is a mix of warm and cold water diving. Nitrox is complimentary for qualified divers.
A mandatory check dive will be required of every diver on the first day of the charter, regardless of diving certification or experience. Every dive in the Galapagos will be guided – this is a requirement of the Galapagos National Park. Please note that, due to frequently strong currents, it is mandatory for each diver to carry a DSMB and small light on all dives. A method for attracting attention through noise and reflective light, plus a system such as EPIRB is highly recommended; some of these items can be hired or will be offered as part of your liveaboard.
Sunday (Day of Arrival)
Isla Lobos - When you arrive at the airport at San Cristobal on Sunday, the crew of the Galapagos Sky will personally meet you, collect your luggage, and escort you to the Galapagos Sky. Your luggage will be delivered to the dive deck for you. After everyone is on board, we will introduce you to the boat and do our mandatory safety briefings and drills. Then, we cruise to the area of Los Lobos for your check-out dive, this is a short dive in a sandy bottom with the focus of checking the skills of every diver. Your first underwater experience in Galapagos will introduce you to sea lions and fur seals! Watch them Zoom in and out and dance playfully for you! Even on the first day of your liveaboard cruise – you begin to see the myriad and diverse land formations which comprise the Galapagos Islands topside. It is then you realize you will see nothing like it in your lifetime.. As the sun sets you will circumvent Kicker Rock where you can look for the Blue footed booby birds.
Bartolome – 1 dive and land walk
Cousins 2 dives
Bartolome: Penguins can be seen at this dive site. Bartolome is a lovely area where guests enjoy a favorite land tour where they can climb to the top of the hill to where breathe taking views abound.
Cousins Rock: This dive is an itinerary favourite and is done along a beautiful wall and allows for great viewing opportunities for corals, frog fish, sea horses, scorpion fish and octopus. It is also a great dive for large schools of Barracuda and also Hammerhead shark sightings. Sea lions will be your companions upon entry and on the safety stops.
By definition, the entire Galapagos Archipelago is geographically remote but tonight you head toward the most isolated, northernmost part of the Galapagos Islands – the uninhabited, untouched, twin cathedrals of world class diving – Wolf and Darwin Islands.
Wolf & Darwin
Tues-4 Dives a day at Wolf plus a night dive
Wed- 4 dives at Darwin
Thurs-3 Dives total, 2 at Darwin and 1 afternoon dive at Wolf before long transit back to central islands
You’ll spend the next three days diving (up to four dives per day plus a night dive) in these legendary islands.Most experienced divers will agree, Wolf and Darwin can provide some of the best diving encounters in the world! Whale sharks are common here from Mid May through November. At The Arch at Darwin, you will see hammerhead sharks either individually, in small groups, or large schools. Bottlenose dolphins are common. The reef contains many warm water varieties of fish found nowhere else in the Islands. Once you see Wolf and Darwin – you’ll immediately understand why there are no shore excursions on this part of the cruise – there is no way up the vertical cliffs!
Darwin Island: Considered by many experienced divers as the very best dive site in the world, The Arch at Darwin island (actually several dive sites depending on where you enter, currents, etc) honors its reputation. It is warmer by a few degrees than the central islands. In one single dive you can find schooling hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, large pods of dolphins, thick schools of skipjack and yellow fin tuna, big eye jacks, mobula rays, and silky sharks. From June to November, it is not uncommon to encounter whale sharks in multiple numbers on one single dive. The presence of occasional tiger sharks, black and blue marlin, and killer whales adds on to this amazing diving experience. If you still have time to look for smaller stuff, you’ll find octopus, flounders, and an enormous variety and abundance of tropical fish. Darwin Island is the biggest jewel on the Galapagos Crown.
Wolf Island: One of those magical islands, with several dive sites to choose from. If you want to see sharks, you are at the right spot. This is a place for schooling hammerhead sharks, large aggregations of Galapagos sharks, and occasionally whale sharks. Seeing dolphins, large schools of tuna, spotted eagle rays, barracudas, sea lions and sea turtles is common. The bottom is littered with hundreds of moray eels, many of them free swimming. Being several degrees warmer than the central islands, you can look for many representatives of the Indo-Pacific underwater fauna. On a night dive here you will also enjoy spotting and watching the Red Lipped bat fish walk along the bottom of the sea!
Cabo Douglas 1 dive – Marine iguana dive
Punta Vicente Roca up to 2 dives and Panga ride if time allows.
Cabo Douglas: On the western side of Fernandina Island, we will do 1 dive Friday morning. Here you can expect to see Galapagos Penguins, Marine Iguanas, Flighless Cormorants, Sea Lions, Seahorse, Sea Turtles, Horn Sharks, Red Lipped Batfish, and occasional hammerhead sharks and white tip sharks. Also keep an eye out for chevron barracuda, snappers, yellow fin tuna, rainbow runners, and wahoo. There are also a lot of smaller fishes like creole fishes, parrot fishes, scrawled filefishes, pacific box fishes, and tiger snake eels.
Punta Vincente Roca: Our coldest yet rapidly increasing favorite dive – steep, deep vertical wall covered in soft coral, sponges, and endemic black coral. Regular sightings of mola mola (oceanic sun fish,) sea horses, bullhead sharks, red lipped bat fish, various shrimp and many other marine invertebrates. Keep your eyes open for fly bys from the flightless cormorants, penguins and maybe even a marine iguana. Our after-dive panga ride offers great topside photo ops for penguins, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, sea lions, blue footed & nazca booby Birds, magnificent frigates and noddy terns. The diving here is chilly (particularly below the thermocline – but not to be missed!).
Northeast tip of Isla Pinzon/Islote Dumb- 1 dive
Puerto Ayora/Highlands tour
Isla Pinzon: While diving Isla Pinzon you will be provided opportunities for encounters with a variety of species of sharks, sea lions, mantas, eagle rays, and moray eels. Many Species of fish and tropicals including yellow tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, moorish idols, steel pompanos, snappers, grunts, creole fish, and barracuda.
This dive is then followed by a transit to Itabaca Channel where guests will be transferred by bus to visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz to see the Galapagos Tortoises in their natural environment; and visit to Puerto Ayora. Guests will then be transferred back to Itabaca Channel to board the Galapagos Sky for dinner on board. The Sky will then return to San Cristobal for Sunday morning.
Sunday Morning- Land Tour and Day of Departure
Arrive in San Cristobal and visit the Interpretation Center where an interesting human history of The Galapagos is presented, followed by a town walk (last chance for shopping). Late morning departure.