About The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos are a group of Islands (AKA Archipelago), situated some 600 Miles (970km) off the coast of Ecuador, in the Pacific Ocean. On 1959, the Islands became a nature reserve and all the wildlife, flora and fauna within became protected, stopping most of the hunting and devastation caused my man in the area.
Current population consists of about 25,000 people, mostly Spanish speakers. The largest island is the sea-horse shaped Isabella, while the main island is San Cristobal, which is closest to the mainland. Other islands include Santa Cruz, Santiago, Florence and the smaller Darwin and Wolf which are further away.
The abundance of wildlife above and underwater is extraordinary. These animals are descendants to generations of protected species hence they have little fear from humans and get as close as possible to visitors creating a unique experience not found anywhere else in the world.
The topology of the area was created by underwater volcanoes and makes the surrounding as impressive as the wildlife it contains. Huge land turtles reaching over 500 lb live on the islands as well as countless Marine Iguanas, Penguins, Sea Lions constantly interacting with visitors, curious and undisturbed. There are also numerous species of birds living on these islands, most of them endemic only to that area, and witnessing them hunting, mating and taking care of their young is a real treat.
Diving in the Galapagos
Although diving in the Galapagos is possible all year round, it is generally divided into two seasons. The first is July – December, the colder season above and below water but also the driest in terms of precipitation. Water temperature runs from 18-21C (64-70 F). This is the best season for Whale Sharks, especially when diving near Darwin & Wolf Islands. The second season is January – June and this is the warmer season. Water temperature rises to 23-26 C (73-79 F) and topside is much more humid, hot and rainy. This season draws in much more Ray activity including the enormous Manta Rays.
Visibility in the Galapagos varies significantly according to area and time of year. Wolf & Darwin usually have good visibility, up to 100ft (30m) and Gordon Rock might be only 33ft (10m). Conditions for diving are usually not very easy, and more fitted for advanced divers, with strong current, changing visibility, strong waves and deep blue dives, but the experience is so overwhelming, that you probably won’t mind all that!
When diving in the Galapagos, prepare to be amazed – Dolphins playing underwater and above, schools of Hammerheads, Reef Sharks, Black and White Tip Sharks, usually schooling around North Seymour, Silky Sharks, huge Galapagos Sharks and occasionally even Tiger Sharks. Many different types of turtles can usually be seen throughout every dive, Sea Lions, Seals and Sea Wolves might nibble at your hoody and fins during your dive, many different types of Rays including Eagle Rays, Cownose Rays, huge Sting Rays and Manta Rays, often spotted at Cape Marshall & North Seymour, depending on the season. Various Moray Eels, giants schools of fish and even “Fish Tornadoes” of Barracudas, Snappers, Tunas and more. Let’s not forget the smaller animals such as Nudibranches, Sea Horses and Frogfish.
Add to all of that the unusual sight of Marine Iguanas nibbling on seaweed at 30ft and Cormorants & Boobies bolting after fish right in front of you. This is a diver’s paradise!
Click here for recommended Dive Sites in the Galapagos
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