Galápagos duiken

Duiken op de Galapagos De Galapagos wordt één van de mooiste duikplekken ter wereld genoemd door de mensen die het kunnen weten. Duiken kon en kan op de Galápagos op verschillende manieren. Nationaal Park Het Nationaal Park is verantwoordelijk voor het vaststellen en controleren van regels op de Galápagos. Tot op heden was er voor wat betreft duiken weinig geregeld, maar daarin is nu verandering gekomen. Momenteel is het Nationaal Park druk bezig om het duiken op de Galápagos grondig te reguleren. Om deze reden is er op dit moment nog veel onzeker en onduidelijk. Dag Duik trips Wat nog steeds geboekt kan worden zijn de dag duiktrips. Wij werken met goede duikscholen die verantwoord met mens, natuur en materiaal omgaan. Deze dag duiktrips worden georganiseerd vanuit Puerto Ayora op Santa Cruz. Je overnacht in een hotel in Puerto Ayora en kunt een gewenst aantal dagen dagduiktrips maken, naar mooie speciale duiksites. Deze trips moeten van te voren worden geboekt. Het risico is te groot dat het vol zit of dat je juist de enige bent. Als je vroeg boekt heb je vaak nog keus voor de duiksite. Bovendien zullen anderen dan ook sneller gestimuleerd worden om juist op die dag(en) in te schrijven, waardoor er voldoende inschrijving is. Voor meer informatie over deze verschillende sites zie ook: Duiksites . Voor de toekomst wil het Nationaal Park graag de vissers de gelegenheid geven om het sport duiken te verzorgen. Op deze manier hopen ze dat de vissers een andere goede bron van inkomsten kunnen verwerven met het duiken, waardoor de noodzaak van het vissen (zeker op bedreigde zeedieren en vissen) afneemt. Echter voordat de vissers zo voorbereid zijn om met toeristen te kunnen gaan duiken zal er nog heel wat moeten gebeuren. Daarom is onze verwachting dat de lokale duikscholen voorlopig de dag-duiktrips onveranderd zullen kunnen blijven uitvoeren en deze wellicht in de nabije toekomst samen met de vissers zullen gaan doen. De duikscholen blijven dan ook voorlopig gewoon plannen en boeken. Het kan echter zo zijn dat het Nationaal Park van de ene dag op de andere besluit om het heel anders te gaan doen. Naar verwachting zullen dan de duikscholen met wie wij werken als een van de eerste in aanmerking komen voor vergunningen. Maar mocht dit niet het geval zijn, en mocht blijken dat geboekte duiken hierom niet door kunnen gaan, dan zal de gedane betaling voor deze duiken uiteraard door ons worden teruggegeven. Hotelovernachtingen en aansluitende vluchten kunnen wij uiteraard allemaal verzorgen. Live Aboard duikreizen Daarnaast was er voorheen een aantal boten dat liveaboard duikreizen uitvoerde, onder meer naar de vergelegen unieke duiksites bij Darwin en Wolf. Op dit moment zijn er nog maar drie boten die deze reizen uitvoeren en deze zijn vrijwel het gehele jaar volgeboekt. Wanneer er een plekje vrijkomt, dan worden opties gegeven voor niet meer dan 24 uur en moet bij boeking meteen betaald worden. De vraag is vele malen groter dan het aanbod. Maar het is natuurlijk altijd te proberen! Duikreis met hotelovernachtingen Vermoedelijk komen er nog meer mogelijkheden, zoals een tocht met een speciaal ingerichte boot die vaart langs duiksites, met overnachtingen in hotels. De voorbereidingen hiervoor zijn al getroffen, maar iedereen wacht op vergunningen van het Nationaal Park. Niet meer mogelijk: Landexcursie reis met enkele duiken In het verleden was er niet veel geregeld en waren er geen speciale vergunningen voor het duiken. Op veel gewone landexcursie boten was er dan ook de mogelijkheid om een paar duiken te maken. Dit gebeurde vaak zeer onverantwoord en zonder voorwaarden, divemaster en goede materialen. Het gebeurde dus onverantwoord en gevaarlijk voor de duikers, maar ook voor de natuur, ongecontroleerd op plekken die daar niet speciaal voor waren aangewezen en zonder voldoende professionele begeleiding en controle. Door de manier waarop dit gebeurde hebben wij dit nooit willen verkopen. Waneer deze mogelijkheid toch wordt geboden tijdens een tocht raden wij sterk af hierin mee te gaan. Dit advies wordt mede ondersteund door nare ervaringen die we hierover horen. Daarbij is het illegaal.

If we could define Galapagos diving with just two words, we would say fabulous and unpredictable – fabulous because of the abundant marine life and unpredictable because of the variable oceanic conditions.Marine Life

The Galapagos marine life is so varied, tame, abundant and amazing that the islands are considered one of the Seven Underwater Wonders and the best diving destination of the World. Galapagos divers encounter thousands of fish (both big and small), sea lions, rays, turtles, morays and garden eels. It is almost a guarantee that divers will meet harmless white tip and hammerhead sharks. In some places, divers can see dozens of hammerheads, snorkel with dolphins and – during the right season – meet a whale shark.

Finally, the islands are the only place in the world where people can dive with a marine iguana or watch sea lions teasing white tip sharks by biting their tails.

The richness of our sea life is mainly due to cold water that comes up from the deep and brings nutrients to the light zone, producing large amounts of phytoplankton that start the food chain. The diversity of species is mainly due to the position of the Galapagos at the crossroads of the main East Pacific equatorial currents. Here, tropical and semi-tempered waters meet, bringing animals from all over the Pacific and some parts of the Indo-Pacific. The variety of marine habitats (sandy, rocky, coralline, muddy) and the large area of the archipelago’s waters also contribute to biodiversity.

Diving Conditions

The Seasons
We have 2 seasons: the warm and sunny season from December to May and the cool and cloudy one from July to September. June and October are transitional months. During the warm season, there is almost no wind, so the sea is usually very calm and the visibility tends to be better. In the cool season, there is more wind, the sea can be choppy and the visibility is lower.

Water Temperature
Although the islands are very close to the Equator, water temperatures range from 16° to 24° Celsius in normal years; we use full 5 to 7 mm (¼ inch) wetsuits all year and hoods in the cold season.

Visibility
In general, visibility ranges from 5 to 25 meters, but most of the time it is restricted to between 12 and 18m. A large submarine current (the Equatorial Undercurrent) from the West Pacific hits the largest island of the archipelago (Isabela Island) and is deflected upward until it reaches the surface, bringing up cold and nutrient-rich water; this movement can change the water temperature by as much as 6° Celsius and change the visibility in a matter of one or two days.

Experience

Beginners:        Newly certified divers or divers with few dives logged (3 to 15 dives)
Intermediate:  15 to 50 dives logged with experience in cold water and with drift and wall diving
Advanced:        50 + dives logged, with experience in cold water and with drift and wall diving

Detailed description of dive experience is always necessary to confirm a dive program (please check Liability Release / Experience Assessment Forms in this manual, p. 32/33) . A diver with 10 dives in cold water and currents may feel a lot more comfortable than a diver with 40 logged dives in warm water and little current. Or a newly certified diver may feel more comfortable than a diver with 50 logged dives who has not been diving for 6 years.

Our Diving

We have great dive sites for beginner, intermediate and experienced divers, although the best dive sites are usually the most difficult ones and have significant to strong currents near vertical walls. Most of our diving is drift diving, so the dive masters’ skills play an important role. Beginners can start in the easier places and proceed to the more difficult ones under the guidance of our dive masters or instructors. On all our dives, our dive masters actually dive in the water with the customers.

There is no insurance included in the programs and we highly recommend that all divers have their DAN insurance before coming to the Galapagos (costs per year for Standard Insurance US$ 69 and for Master Insurance US$ 79 including the annual membership). We can provide you with the necessary information to acquire this insurance or you can visit www.diversalertnetwork.org

RECOMPRESSION CHAMBER OPERATING IN GALAPAGOS

As of July 2001, the first recompression chamber ever to have been installed in the Galapagos Islands has been successfully treating sea cucumber fishermen with either DCS or AGE.  This chamber is run with a small hyper baric clinic by Dr. Gabriel Hidrovo, a hyper baric physician with postgraduate studies in France and Dr. Lopez;  Dr. Hidrovo, an Ecuadorian citizen,  is as well a GNP certified Naturalist guide and a PADI Instructor.  Dr. Hidrobo and Dr. Lopez work  along with their team of chamber operator/technician, nurse and administration manager.

The dive tour operators of the Galapagos Islands feel the operation of the chamber will have a major and positive impact on the development of underwater ecotourism safety and resources preservation.

The chamber is owned by a company named: PROTESUB S.A., who is in turn a branch for SSS Recompression Chamber Network, a privately owned company operating recompression chambers throughout the world, specially on remote diving destinations such as the Galapagos.

The technical information of the chamber follows:

BRAND: SISTEMI IPERBARICI INTEGRATI (ITALIAN)
MODEL:  1.300
MAX. WORKING PRESSURE: 7.5 BAR
BUILT: 1992

DESCRIPTION OF DIVE SITES

Floreana
Location: South of Santa Cruz Island, 3 possible dive sites, 90 minutes away from our base.
Site Conditions: Divers should be alert for changeable currents. Some sites are reef dives where corals and sponges can be found and others are wall dives.
Activity: Most of the interesting activity takes place in the shallows where the current strikes the reefs. Cleaning station, sea lions, Galapagos sharks, white tip reef shark, green turtles, reef fishes, sting rays, eagle rays, barracudas, variety of invertebrates.

It is one of the older volcanic islands, and has an uneven profile that is the result of numerous volcanoes and parasitic cones. First island to be inhabited by humans.

Floreana presents an excellent selection of varied dive sites and a few official visitor sites. (Punta Cormoran, Enderby and Champion)

Gordon Rocks
(minimum experience to participate: 30 logged dives or the previous evaluation of our dive guides at another site)

Site Conditions: This rock formation is a world renowned site, for intermediate and advanced divers due to the strong currents and surge.

Activity: Hammerhead shark, Cleaning station, Galapagos sharks, white tip reef shark, mobulas rays, turtles, reef fishes, sting rays, eagle rays, Galapagos eel, barracudas, variety of invertebrates.

Location: Gordon Rocks is one of the best dive sites in the central islands. It is an eroded crater at the top of a tuff cone. Near the east coast of Santa Cruz Island, 2 dive sites located 45 minutes from Itabaca Channel (North side of Santa Cruz Island).
North Seymour

Site Conditions: For all levels of divers, although sometimes there can be strong currents. Platform reefs with a diversity of species.

Activity: Cleaning station, sea lions, and many kinds of sharks including Galapagos, white tip reef and hammerhead, mobula rays (small mantas), turtles, reef fishes, sting rays, eagle rays, Galapagos eel, barracudas, variety of invertebrates.

Location: North of Santa Cruz Island, 2 dive sites located 30 minutes from Itabaca Channel (North side of Santa Cruz Island).
Mosquera

Site Conditions: Normally there are no strong currents at this site, a sandy bottom between 15 and 18 metres with garden eels and pelagic species, There is also a wall that starts at 18 metres where we find black coral and variety of invertebrates.

Activity: Hammerhead sharks, black tip reef shark, white tip reef shark, sea lions, turtles, barracudas, reef. fishes, sting rays, eagle rays, mobula rays, Galápagos eel, variety of invertebrates.

Location: North of Santa Cruz Island between Seymour Island and Baltra Island, this low rocky islet holds sandy beaches where sea lions rest. The one dive site is located 25 minutes from Itabaca Channel (North side of Santa Cruz island).
Beagle

Site Conditions: Normally there are no strong currents at this site. It is a reef dive with many corals and sponges.

Activity: Cleaning station, sea lions, Galapagos sharks, turtles, reef fishes, sting rays, eagle rays, barracudas, variety of invertebrates, manta rays and probably solitary hammerhead sharks.

Location: Off the south coast of Santiago island. Beagle Rocks are three large, steep rocks, the only remains of a tuff cone. About 90 minutes from Itabaca Channel (North side of Santa Cruz Island).
Daphne Minor

Site Conditions: Moderate currents at this site, a drift dive along the impressive drop-off at the top of a sloping wall, rocky and sandy bottom.

Activity: Here we find a small cave (this is NOT a cave dive) where white tip reef sharks rest, additionally there is a pinnacle where we find a diversity of rays, Galápagos shark, turtles, reef fishes, barracudas, black coral walls and variety of invertebrates.

Location: Near the north coast of Santa Cruz Island, a big flat-topped exposed rock.  It is an eroded tuff cone. Located 30 minutes from Itabaca Channel (North side of Santa Cruz Island).

 

Bartholomew The Platform

Site Conditions: moderate current, is a platform at about 10 meters (33ft) deep with enough variety of reef fishes. We also find the edge of this platform a submarine canyon from 15 meters (50ft) deep with chance encounters pelagic species.

Activity: white tip shark fin, reef fish, barracuda, turtles, modula rays, stingrays and a variety of invertebrates and mollusks.

Location: Located at the east side of Santiago Island, a small island where we see the famous pinnacle rock of Bartolomé, located within 90 minutes from the Itabaca Channel (north side of the island Santa Cruz).
Cousins

Site Conditions: Under normal conditions no strong currents, diving is on a shelving reef, with many endemic black corals on the walls.

Activity: Cleaning station, pacific seahorses, barracudas, sea lions, Galapagos shark, white tip shark, sea turtles, reef fish, stingrays, spotted eagle rays, and a variety of invertebrates and mollusks.

Location: Located on the east coast of Santiago Island near the island of Bartolome, within 90 minutes from the Itabaca Channel (north side of Santa Cruz). It is a triangular-shaped islet.