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The magical Galapagos Islands

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Galapagos Islands

Our Galapagos adventure started from the easternmost island of San Cristobal. Divers had flown in from all over the world and met and chatted as we gathered on the quayside at Puerto Banquerizo Moreno. Whilst we waited we were entertained by the sea lions sleeping all over the sea wall and around the car parks and bus stop benches!

We joined the Humboldt Explorer via zodiacs and were shown to our cabins and briefed about our trip. During the afternoon we made a nearby check dive just to make sure our buoyancy was OK.

We travelled to the island of Santa Cruz overnight and made two morning dives at Punta Carrion where we saw our first hammerhead shark and lots of green turtles and southern stingrays, plus all the classic East Pacific reef fish and some large bumphead parrotfish.

We had an afternoon excursion to North Seymour island to see the blue-footed boobies and nesting frigate birds. The views across to the nearby small islands were beautiful and the photographers were busy capturing the large monitor lizards lumbering around. It was very hot, but it was a very worthwhile excursion.

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Wolf Island

19650183999_fd90464be7_oAfter an overnight crossing we arrived at Wolf Island. Along with Darwin, these remote tiny northern islands provide the signature Galapagos dives. We made several dives alternating between Landslide and Shark Bay sites where we saw lots of hammerhead and Galapagos sharks plus schools of large spotted eagle rays, yellowfin tunas, huge green turtles with steel pompano entourages and walls of Pacific creole fish, large trevallies, etc.

The stars here are the sharks and there was just never enough time during each dive spent around 28m to see the sharks meandering up the rock faces to visit the cleaning stations. The slightly-higher-than-normal temperatures kept conditions for the divers comfortable but meant that the sharks were a little deeper and we were eeking out our no-deco times, even on 32% nitrox.

Darwin Island

We moved onto Darwin island and were offered 10 dives there over 2 1/2 days. We had three whale sharks of various sizes visit the divers, including a small one which swam around the liveaboard several times and had us rushing around the deck to see it. We decided not to snorkel because there were a lot of frisky silky sharks around the boat which can really intimidate snorkelers! The scuba-diving encounters with the whale sharks were special. These were big sharks and it was hard to keep up with them as they swam around. There were both males and females sighted, which is unusual.

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Some lucky divers saw a tiger shark. There were also chunky black tip sharks, many turtles, a sea snake, wahoo, scorpionfish etc. You really can see just about anything at these amazing remote sites.

We spent another day at Wolf on our return journey with more shark action and accompanied on the zodiacs by a large pod of dolphins passing through.

Cabo Douglas and Cabo Marshall

19647734580_dd2885bbda_oAfter another overnight travel we arrived at Fernandina to visit Cabo Douglas and see the marine iguanas. A volcano on the nearby island of Isabela was erupting and the sight of the lava and the dust cloud in the early morning light was impressive. We managed to see the marine iguanas and the strange red-lipped batfish but the swell made diving conditions rather tricky.

A diving cormorant was a remarkable sight! Such a good swimmer, deeper than the divers watching the iguanas!

19810226466_435ea0776b_oWe travelled on to Cabo Marshall on the east side of Isabela. We were extremely lucky and saw several giant mantas plus small schools of mobulas (M. tarapacana), some large black tip sharks and an amazing school of barracudas which posed for photos. The visibility at this site was outstanding, and the steep wall was just amazing: you really felt that anything might pass by.

We made another dive at a site a little further along from Cabo Marshall where the wall was even more spectacular, but we were not so lucky with the creatures (although we did see white tip sharks and yellowfin tunas).

We had a memorable snorkel with penguins too – they move so fast! They are such good divers and were really curious of us poking our cameras at them and quickly came over to test our cameras out with their beaks. I promise we were back pedalling and they came after us. Just so endearing.

Bartholeme

19836444805_1cfed6ca48_oWe awoke next morning next to the famous rock formation (think Master and Commander) at Bartholeme. We made two dives and saw so many turtles, it was incredible. There was some really pretty areas of reef with beautiful seafans and corals, tantalising tropical reef fish like longnose and pixie hawkfish, cloud morays, scorpionfish, snake eels, etc.

Santa Cruz 

No visit to Galapagos is complete without a visit to see the giant tortoises and this was done back at Santa Cruz island during an afternoon/evening excursion which included a visit to Puerto Ayora for some shopping, lots of cocktails and dinner. We made our final journey back to San Cristobal and had a morning in the town before heading back to the airport and onward connections.

It was an incredible trip, with so many memories of so many creatures and lots of new friends made among the divers.

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Photos: Matt Kitchen and Anne-Marie Kitchen-Wheeler

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Scuba Tours Worldwide LogoExperience Galapagos For Yourself

Here are the dates:

17 Jul – 24 Jul 2017 * 7 nights aboard Galapagos Master from £3,587pp

25 Jun – 02 Jul 2018 * 7 nights aboard Galapagos Master from £3,696pp

03 Sep – 10 Sep 2018 * 7 nights aboard Galapagos Master from £3,696pp

Prices include transfer between San Cristobal airport/local hotel and M/V Galapagos Master on days of embarkation and 7 nights aboard the Galapagos Master sharing a twin/double cabin, all meals, soft drinks, diving and land visits.

For more information or to book, contact the Scuba Tours Worldwide team now by calling +44 (0)1284 748010, email sales@scubascuba.com or visit www.scubascuba.com. 

For more specials and exclusive tours from Scuba Tours Worldwide, visit www.scubascuba.com/specials/exclusive-tours.

Matt Kitchen and Anne-Marie Kitchen Wheeler are both fully qualified PADI instructors and have a broad experience of liveaboard diving around the world, including in destinations such as the Galapagos, Socorro, Cocos, Philippines, Indonesia and the Maldives. Anne-Marie has a PhD in ‘Manta Behaviour & Ecology in the Maldives’. During her years of research she has built up an impressive database of hundreds of mantas and she can identify individual animals by the unique markings on their underside. She is often invited to give workshops to schools and dive centres in the Maldives where she can share her expert knowledge. Matt and Anne-Marie are both keen underwater photographers and Matt is an excellent underwater videographer too. They currently run the popular liveaboard MV Sea Spirit in the Maldives for UK-based tour operator Scuba Tours Worldwide.

Competitions

WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!

The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.

  • Material: 600 denier and 1,000 denier nylon/PVC
  • Soft roller bag, easily stored in its mesh bag
  • Internal retaining straps
  • Zip fastener with eyelets for padlocks
  • Side compartment for fins
  • Outer document pocket with coated zip and carry strap
  • Backpack style straps concealed behind the foam back-plate
  • Drainage vents
  • Red over-moulded wheels; detachable wheel block

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?

Is there:

  • A) 7,209
  • B) 7,532
  • C) 7,641

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Beuchat Air Light Bag December 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Beuchat and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 13/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)

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How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.

In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.

Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Dive safe, dive often!

James


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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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