PHOTOGRAPHY & SPECIALTY

Reach for the Sky – scuba diving in the Galapagos on our luxury liveaboard dive yacht

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

There are few places on earth where visitors can experience the thrill of getting up close and personal with quite such a bewildering array of animals as the Galapagos Islands.

“In a lifetime spent making natural history films, I’ve been to many wonderful places, but none more extraordinary than here, the Galapagos Islands” raved David Attenborough, who knows a thing or two about thrilling wildlife encounters.

For many, one of the things that really puts the Galapagos on the map is the wildlife beneath the waves; the waters around the islands are well-known to offer some of the greatest diving experiences anywhere on the planet, with multiple shark species, a huge number of tropical fish and rays, as well as whale sharks, sea turtles and marine iguanas all regular sightings when diving the seas here.

So if scuba diving is your thing, look no further than our liveaboard luxury yacht Galapagos Sky.

First, for those looking to dive in the Galapagos, it is worth knowing a little about how things work in the islands. The Galapagos National Park authorities regulate itineraries for all touring vessels in the Galapagos Islands. In general, diving from the vessels that visit the islands is not allowed. So, whilst visitors on our luxury expedition yachts Origin and Theory, or our first-class yacht Letty, can enjoy a fantastic range of excursions including snorkeling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and zodiac rides, not to mention land-based expeditions including treks and bird-watching, diving isn’t permitted.

However, a handful of vessels do have a permit that allows for scuba diving, and, as luck would have it, our very own luxury liveaboard Galapagos Sky is one of them.

Of course, guests staying on Origin, Theory or Letty do have options if you would like to dive:

– The day our yacht is in port in Santa Cruz, you can arrange to scuba dive with a local dive shop. We would be happy to provide transportation to/from the dive shop, although note guests taking this option will miss the visit we offer to the Darwin Station and tortoise reserve in the highlands that day.

– Before or after your week-long itinerary, stay at a hotel in Santa Cruz or San Cristobal, and arrange to dive on day trips with a local dive shop.

– Book a two week trip; one week on Origin/Theory or Letty and one week on our dive liveaboard, the Galapagos Sky, to really make the most of your time in the Galapagos. All vessels in the Ecoventura fleet begin and end the cruise in San Cristobal on Sunday, meaning a seamless transfer from one yacht to another. What’s more, for those opting for two weeks back to back, we are offering a 5% discount.

With the Galapagos marine wildlife drawing visitors in from far and wide, a week on board Sky is not to be missed.

With a maximum of 16 passengers on board, the Galapagos Sky provides an exclusive diving experience, with luxury accommodation and fine dining on board and highly experienced guides and crew, ensuring you’ll have an extraordinary Galapagos experience both above and below the water.

Our diving itinerary offers approximately 19 dives over the course of a 7-night cruise, as well as various land excursions to explore the islands.

The Galapagos Sky is one of just a few dive boats that spends 3 full days at the remote northern islands of Wolf and Darwin – often regarded as among the best dive spots in the world and famous for the huge gatherings of hammerheads and other sharks.

And whilst Darwin’s Arch – an iconic rock formation instantly recognizable to anyone who knows the area – collapsed last year after centuries of erosion (now known affectionately as Darwin’s Pillars), nothing has changed about the spectacular diving underneath as sharks and rays still gather in thrilling numbers.

In addition to the extensive dives available around Wolf and Darwin, the Sky itinerary has another ace up its sleeve. “We are fortunate to be able to dive with the endemic marine iguanas at Cabo Douglas – many scuba-liveaboards in the Galapagos don’t have Cabo Douglas on their permit” explains Amy Lionetti, our resident diving expert. “They are like miniature Godzillas, feeding on underwater algae for up to an hour at a time” and are a truly memorable sight for all luck enough to have experience it.

Back on board, we have revamped our menus to focus on delicious, locally-sourced and sustainable cuisine, using the best that the Galapagos and Ecuador have to offer. What’s more, with the exception of certain premium wines and spirits, we now have an open bar policy, so a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic offerings are included in your rate.

Diving in the Galapagos is available all year round, with incredible marine diversity every week of the year. Conditions do change however, as a result of changing sea currents and temperatures.

June to November is whale shark season, so the best opportunity to spot these gentle giants. Lucky visitors might spot them gliding through the water accompanied by an entourage of other species, including cleaner fish, tuna, mackerel and remoras.

December to May is the warmest season for Galapagos diving, and these months are often associated with large gatherings of hammerhead sharks. One truly spectacular phenomenon is known as a “wall up”, when huge groups of these sharks gather in tight proximity at reef points to form a solid wall – a sight not for the faint-hearted.

The warm season is known as “Manta” season, and for good reason – many rays, including giant mantas as well as mobulas, spotted eagles and golden rays to name a few, gather in large schools at this time of year.

For those interested in more information, take a look at the Sky website where you will find further details on the diving set up, as well as the vessel itself.

If you have any questions about the liveaboard diving experience, or would like to plan your trip, please get in touch with us today – we look forward to welcoming you on board.