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Galapagos: Hammerheads

The Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands are an Ecuadorian archipelago of volcanic islands straddling the equator about 970 km west of continental Ecuador. The Galapagos are a UNESCO World Heritage site, an official Ecuadorian province, an Ecuadorian National Park as well as a biological marine reserve.

You may wonder what all this fuss is about, but we can assure you that these islands have earned all of these titles!

Firstly, these 18 islands and 100 islets are world-renowned for their vast endemic and unique wildlife, which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. His observations and collections in the Galapagos contributed to the famous ‘Darwin Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection’.

Due to being located both in the Southern and Northern hemispheres, the islands are already an oddity themselves, but this archipelago is the land of every extreme.

Their vastness (220 km from North to South, 7,880 km2 of land spread over 45,000 km2 of ocean) is surprising, but the fact that it’s still being shaped by volcanic activity is amazing. The wildlife is just beyond wonders; plants, birds and animals do not seem to have changed much since ancient times. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this place seems frozen in time and to visit the Galapagos is truly a chance of a lifetime.

The Itinerary

Day 1: Airport arrival, transfer to Galapagos Master and lunch, followed by an afternoon check out dive. Carried out in a sheltered bay in an excellent shallow spot, at a max depth of 9m, this will allow you to check your dive gear but also become acquainted with some of the local marine life.
Day 2: 2-morning dives at Punta Carrion followed by an afternoon land tour of North Seymour Island before cruising north during the evening.
Days 3 & 4: Spent at Darwin Island. Perhaps the most famed dive site is “Darwin’s Arch” which provides an amazing drift dive along the wall at an average depth of just 9m. Medium to strong currents are to be expected but bring with them hammerheads, black tips, silky and Galapagos sharks – and in large numbers! Schools of jacks are a common sight, along with turtles, angelfish and moray eels. Occasional sightings of tiger sharks, manta rays and bottle nose dolphins make for a thrilling time spent here.
Days 5 & 6: Spent at Wolf Island followed by a cruise South during the evening. For our dives here we choose from a selection of reefs and walls, most having typically medium to strong currents where the use of gloves and reef hooks is advised. Schooling pelagics are the main draw with sightings of hammerheads, white tips and Galapagos sharks at each site.
Day 7: The morning will be spent at Roca Redonda with the afternoon at Punta Vicente Roca.
Day 8: Diving all day at Cabo Douglas.
Day 9: Diving all day at Cabo Marshall.
Day 10: We will dive at Cousin Rock and Los Gemelos followed by a land visit to see giant land tortoises on Santa Cruz.
Day 11: In the morning, upon disembarking, there will be a visit to the Interpretation Centre on San Cristóbal Island followed by transfer to the airport or local hotel.
Few people are granted the opportunity of diving these pristine waters and no place on Earth will boast such a variety of underwater sightings. Your underwater adventures will encompass everything from whales to nudibranchs and much, much more. The islands are best known for amazing shark diving and you will generally have a chance to encounter silky sharks, the famous Galapagos shark and an abundance of schooling hammerheads. Macro-lovers will also get their share of the excitement with an array of seahorses, blennies, hawk fishes and many others. Your trip to the Galapagos will be filled with memories to last you a lifetime and your experience may be challenging, but the rewards will be unforgettable!
**PLEASE NOTE**The description of the dive sites we may visit during your liveaboard safari. During this 10-night itineraries, we schedule will include 4 days at Darwin and Wolf!

The M/V Galapagos Master is a 32 meter vessel and underwent a complete interior refit to the highest luxury standards in 2015, now sailing to some of the top dive sites in the Galapagos!

She welcomes a total of 16 divers on each liveaboard trip, maximizing safety and comfort for all guests on board! She features eight air-conditioned cabins spread across three decks with each cabin offering stunning views of the Galapagos archipelago. Each cabin has its own private en-suite bathroom with hot water, and ample storage room for all of your personal belongings. For your added convenience and flexibility, the M/V Galapagos Master offers cabins that can be used either as a twin or as a double bedded room.

The communal areas available to guests include a spacious indoor lounge on the middle deck. Relax and unwind from your day’s diving while watching your favourite movie or your latest underwater shots on the plasma screen television. The indoor dining area brings you a tantalising array of mouth-watering meals, complimented by the adjacent cocktail bar. Photographers can take full advantage of the indoor camera set-up station which includes multiple charging points (US round pin plug). Additional storage drawers to the aft of the vessel mean that even photography charter groups will have no problem finding enough space for their equipment!

The M/V Galapagos Master’s top sun-deck ensures that sun worshippers can top up their tan while soaking up the Galapagos sights. Or if you prefer to relax out of the sun, the shaded upper level is an ideal location to chill out in cushioned lounge chairs and benches.

The steel vessel is steadier than most due to the fact that it has been designed to be lower to aid stability and speed. The boat has an official license to operate and organise diving activities in the Galapagos, issued by the Ecuadorian government and the National Institute of the Galapagos, ensuring you that they have passed all the safety tests as well as complying with the strict environmental rules of the park. With all the latest safety devices – GPS, VHF radios, satellite communication, two life rafts, emergency oxygen and AED – you will know you are travelling in total protection and safety.

Qualification Needed

We can welcome everyone, but we recommend being qualified as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent and have a minimum of 50 logged dives. Dives can often be challenging, with strong currents and reduced visibility. All dives are guided by an instructor/naturalist guide and due to Galapagos National Park regulations all divers must dive with the guide at all times. While night dives are permitted in the Galapagos, due to conditions it is not often possible. The 4th day dive may be substituted for a night dive, but as this is only possible within a sheltered cove with minimal current, this averages about 1 night dive per itinerary. Diving and travel insurance are mandatory to access the National park

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