Scuba Diving The Galapagos Islands

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Scuba Diving Locations - Scuba Diving in South America
Tuesday, 13 January 2009 08:28

If you are interested in looking for some really fun and exciting waters in which to scuba dive, where you can see a plethora of marine life and explore a great many diverse locations, then you should look into scuba diving at the Galapagos Islands.  These waters are highly protected from commercial fisherman, which means it is one of the best spots in the world if you want to dive and see a truly untouched underwater paradise in person.  The variety of fish that swim in these waters is sure to make this dive one that you will not easily forget.  

 

Galapagos Islands Diving Map

Galapagos Islands Diving Map

 

While there are areas of the Galapagos where divers of any experience level can easily dive, most of the diving spots are generally recommended for divers with at least an intermediate to advanced level of experience.  The reason that many of these waters are considered harder areas to dive in is because of the combination of currents and depths in which you will be diving.  However, if you are a novice diver don’t worry, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to dive and you’ll just need to be sure that you make arrangements so that you will not find yourself in difficult conditions.

 

Best Time to Dive the Galapagos Islands

As the Galapagos Islands are in tropical waters, you can dive any time of year without too many problems.  The best time to dive there really depends on when you have booked your holidays.  Many people try to avoid the summer months as this is usually the hotter period, plus it is the time of year when you are likely to encounter more tourists.  Therefore, if you were pushed to choose a time of year to go, it would be recommended to try the months from February to May.

 

Notable Diving Locations in the Galapagos Islands

Santa Cruz Island is a place that has many diving locations for you to choose from.  Most of these have gentler currents and are often recommended for novice divers.   The area is well known for its sea lion population, and there is a good chance you will be able to get a close up view of their underwater habitat.  If you are up for a little more of a challenge, there are also two dive sites in the area that have stronger currents and are suitable for more experienced divers.  

Beagle Rocks is a diving location that can be found near Santiago Island.  You will have to take a boat to this location and the ride is long (about one and a half to two hours).  This site has also been marked for its idealness for novice to intermediate divers because of its lack of currents.  When you dive down you will find an underwater shelf approximately twelve metres below.  After this there is a steep sixty metre drop from the rocks.  This area is covered in sea fans and black coral and is really something of a spectacle to behold.  There is also the chance to spot hammerhead and Galapagos sharks in the area.  

A rock diving site that is more suitable for experienced divers is Cousins Rock.  This area is known for its strong currents, so caution is advised when diving here.  The rocks gradually slope down underwater like large plates and are home to black coral.  You might also be able to see hammerhead sharks here, as well as sea horses, fur seals, and frogfish.

 

Cousins Rock, Galapagos

Cousins Rock, Galapagos

 

If you want an almost guaranteed sighting of hammerhead sharks, then your best bet is Gordon Rocks.  There are four diving locations in this area, two are recommended for beginners, while the other two are mostly for the more experienced divers who are better able to deal with the currents.  However, the site is better known for the large congregations of hammerhead sharks because they tend to come there in schools.  There is also a variety of reef fish, rays, turtles, and moray eels, to see and experience at Gordon Rocks as well.

 

Gordans Rocks, Galapagos

Gordans Rocks, Galapagos

 

If you want a dive site that can easily accommodate every level of diving experience in your party, you should consider Floreana Island.  This area has about nine different diving locations to choose from, and the currents here can range from medium to strong.  Hence, there is no need to worry about whether or not there will be something there for everyone.  The area is beautiful and home to pebble coral, black coral, sea turtles, barber fish, sea horses, eagle rays, hawk fish, barracudas, and even sharks.  It is also known as one of the best places to go if you want to be able to see sea lions as the population is quite large in this area.

 

Floreana Island, Galapagos

Floreana Island, Galapagos

 

If you are a novice looking to do something a little more traditional, then you should check out Pinzon.  This area is near Santa Cruz Island and it starts out at two rocky formations that rise out of the water.  These continue underwater as the rock wall drops down ten metres and meets up with a sandy, sloping bottom that continues to descend further until you are about sixty metres or so underwater.  If you go here you are likely to see bat fish, sea horses, white tipped reef sharks, black coral, turtles, and sting rays.

 

Pinzon Island, Galapagos

Pinzon Island, Galapagos

 

If your main diving interest is in the variety of animal life, then you should look into diving at Seymour Island.  This area is well known for its variety of marine life and divers from all over come here to get a glimpse at the natural beauty of the area.  Here you can see garden eels, sea lions, fur seals, big-eyed jacks, white tipped reef sharks, Galapagos sharks, hammerheads, eagle rays, yellow-tailed grunts, and sea turtles.  Seymour Island was actually formed by a lava flow, so the underwater geography is also very interesting.   

 

Seymour Island, Galapagos

Seymour Island, Galapagos

 

Diving at Daphne can also be an interesting experience.  This location has several colours and varieties of sponges as well as other marine life such as Galapagos sharks, but what makes it a unique diving location is the underwater geography.  Daphne is an offshore diving area that is marked by a shelf of vertical walls, and most of the dives can be difficult because of the currents and the underwater surges, that is why caution should be used when diving here.  This site is only recommended for intermediate to advanced divers.

 

Types of Marine Life you at the Galapagos Islands

Here are a few of the marine life species that you are likely to encounter when diving in Galapagos: sponges, black coral, bat fish, sea horses, white tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, sting rays, eagle rays, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, sea lions, fur seals, garden eels, big-eyed jacks, yellow-tailed grunts, moray eels, pebble coral, barber fish, sea horses, hawk fish, barracudas, whale sharks, pelagic fish, marine iguanas, golden rays, sea fans, frogfish, and a variety of reef fish.  

 

Golden Ray

Golden Ray

 

 

Galapagos Islands Diving Fact Sheet:

Average Air Temperature:              31°C – 33°C

Average Water Temperature:         20°C – 25°C

Recommended Exposure Protection: Up to a 5 mm suit is recommended depending on the weather and the diving location.

Average Visibility:      5 – 30 metres depending on the currents

Coldest Times:           August to December

Hottest Times:            February to April

Best Times to Dive: You can dive at the Galapagos all year round because of the tropical climate.  However, those divers wishing to avoid the tourist crowd are encouraged to dive in between the months of February to May as this is not the typical holiday times and the waters are significantly warmer during this time of year.  

Worst Times to Dive:  There really isn’t a bad time of year in which to go diving at the Galapagos Islands.

 

Galapagos Islands Diving Video

 

 
 

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