In the morning we fly to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. After boarding your yacht and a good lunch onboard, we will head up the coast from WreckBay to Isla Lobos across a small channel off the coast of San Cristóbal. This basalt island outcropping lives up to its name of Sea Lion Island, with a noisy population of these animals. You will find them waiting to play in just six meters of water during your check-out dive. You will also see the usual passers by including spotted eagle rays, sea turtles and schools of tropical fish. This is one of the rare places you might have a chance to see marine iguanas grazing on underwater rocks.
TUESDAY North Seymour Island
2 DIVES: North Seymour is on the northeast corner of Santa Cruz, north of Baltra. The currents here make it an interesting drift dive. The many recesses, cuts and ledges in the shallower areas make good hiding places and a refuge for large puffers and octopi. Be careful where you rest your hands when you explore the barnacle encrusted lava rocks, because large scorpion fish perch there waiting for prey. You may come face to face with white-tipped reef sharks resting inside the holes.
In the afternoon we will disembark on this island for a land visit where we will have the chance to see sea lions, blue-footed and masked boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed bulls and red-billed tropicbirds.
WEDNESDAY Wolf Island
4 DIVES: Wolf Island is the close cousin of nearby Darwin Island, which lies just to the northwest. Like Darwin, Wolf is also formed from an eroded caldera that rises from the ocean bottom giving way to a formidable wall of high cliffs above the waterline. Wolf offers a number of world class dive sites. Its wall dives boast the greatest numbers of tropical fish in the islands. Like Darwin you can expect to see larger animals including the occasional whale shark and dolphin pod. This is the place to see large schools of scalloped hammerheads. This underwater shark city also offers large numbers of Galapagos sharks. Other residents and visitors include hawksbill turtles, schools of barracuda, sting rays and moray eels.
THURSDAY & FRIDAY
8 DIVES: The natural rock formation known as Darwin’s Arch rises from the ocean at the eastern approach to Darwin Island marking the place many experienced divers will tell you is the single best dive site on the planet. Both Darwin and nearby WolfIslands are formed by the summits of weatherworn volcanic calderas that rise 1,800 meters from the sea floor. These two islands stand segregated to the far northwest of the main group. The water and currents are warmer here than at the center of the islands, increasing the numbers and types of pacific tropical species. But the big draw is big underwater animals. Throughout the summer and into the fall divers come here to swim with whale sharks when encounters with these gentle giants are all but assured. Sightings of the graceful monsters occur throughout the year leading many to proclaim this site the whale shark capital of the seven seas. Words cannot fully describe the feeling of being so close to these spotted giants of the deep. Schools of fifty to one hundred hammerheads can be seen escorting the way of the whale sharks, while large pods of dolphin are another key attraction. Pelagic fish including yellow fin tunas, skip jacks and big-eye jacks frequent the area as do marlins and occasionally killer whales.
4 DIVES: Cape Marshall lies off the northeastern shore of Isabela Island, just south of the equator. This site offers drift diving on a reef as well as a sheer rock drop-off. A source of excitement here are possible sightings of large manta ray, but even if they don’t show up there is plenty to see including sharks such as hammerheads, white-tipped, Galapagos, and the occasional oceanic white-tipped shark. Colonies of anemone and black coral grow along the wall where natural columns of rock reach up the face. Large schools of brown stripped salema can fill the view, while both blue and black marlin can loom out of the depths. Other resident fish include pacific boxfish, parrotfish, chevron barracuda, yellowtail surgeon fish and Creole fish. In addition to the mantas you’ll have chances to spot zebra morays and marbled rays.
Cousins Rock + Sullivan Bay and Bartolome
2 DIVES: Not far from the north shore of Bartolome Island, is the islet known as Cousins Rock. Cousins features sloping plates called planchonal and a wall that descends sharply into the ocean depths. These geological features provide an excellent foundation for healthy black corals, making for a rich habitat that is home to blue crabs, arrow crabs, lobster and hawk fish. The sea horses found here are among the largest in the Pacific Ocean, growing to nearly a foot in length. A spth.al treat found here is a large school of eagle rays. Cousins is also a great place to swim with young sea lionsea li psea liong the wall. You’ll also have a chance to see sleeping sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks resting on the bottom. Hammerheads are among the passers by.
In the afternoon we will do a land visit of Sullivan Bay to see some unique lava formations. The visit will be followed by some snorkeling with penguins in Bartolome Island.
La Galapaguera + Return home
The Galapaguera of San Cristobal has been built to improve the status of the population of the island's tortoises, Geochelone chatamensis, in an environment with conditions similar to their natural state. The infrastructure has been integrated into a large corral of 1415m2 and includes: a visitors' center (including an interpretation center, conference room, gift shop, food bar, bathrooms and administration office), a breeding center (includes an herpetology lab and growing pens), interpretive trails and two houses.
Following our visit to La Galapaguera we will head to the airport to board our return flight to the mainland.
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