Diving in the Galapagos Islands – Ecuador

06.08.2019 by Editor Team

Reading Time: 10min. / Max. Diving Depth: 40m 😉

Charles Darwin recognised the uniqueness of the Galapagos animal world as early as 1845. He never saw the huge schools of hammerhead sharks and the abundance of fish that the Pacific Ocean offers around Galapagos.

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Diving in the Galapagos IslandsDiving in the Galapagos Islands

“In the beginning there was fire.” The Pacific is bubbling like on the last day. Huge waves rise above the horizon. Streams of glowing lava push to the sea surface. Accompanied by clouds of water vapour. The pressure of the magma causes the surface to explode. The explosive situation of the archipelago is the reason for some still active volcanoes.

The birth of the “Garden of Hell”, as Charles Darwin called Galapagos, began about four million years ago. The islands of Fernandina and Isabela are the youngest with an age of 500,000 years.

The Spaniard Tomas de Berlanga is regarded as the official discoverer. During his journey in 1535, the wind struck and the strong current drove him to this unique natural kingdom. Because of the rocky landscape, he wrote in his report: “It looks as if God is raining stones”.

The first settlers came with whaling in 1793. Galapagos has belonged to Ecuador since 1832. Already in 1959 the archipelago was declared a national park. Tourism began in the 70s.

What can you expect from diving in Galapagos? Diving in the Galapagos Islands

The stony landscape also continues under water. Those who expect tropical reefs and warm water will be disappointed. The reason for this is the cold Humbold Current from Antarctica.

Its waters come along the South American west coast to Galapagos. Especially the south of the archipelago is under the influence of the current. So at no other equatorial place of the earth penguins are to be observed.

Many visitors first encounter the strange nature with mixed feelings. But the restraint quickly gives way to fascination. During the first dive the barking of the sea lions bulls can be heard under water. Immediately some female animals approach curiously. Pokes with the nose, nibble at fins and imitate the exhalation of the divers. A female poses in front of divers. While a bull patrols excitedly and tries to keep his females together. When people go ashore, sea lions react rather bored. Only the bulls attract the attention of the females with loud barking. Some young animals suck according to mother’s milk. “Think of the rules,” warns the ranger. “Nobody touches an animal, leaves the way or uses a flash! 

Most animals are not afraid of humans. Dolts often nest on the footpath. Regardless of the visitors, they perform their courtship dance. Often there is no other choice but to climb over them…

The diversity of species on the Galapagos Islands Diving in the Galapagos Islands

Iguanas lie in the sun on the red beach of Rabida. A buzzard sits vigilantly on a pole. Can be photographed at close range. Frigate birds, giant turtles, cormorants. Albatrosses and red crabs are also among the attractions of the islands. The remote archipelago, 1000 kilometres west of South America, is considered a showcase of evolution.
Especially his stay on the Galapagos Islands brought Darwin during his world trip to study the origin of the species. “Here we stand before the miracle of all miracles. The emergence of new species on Earth,” Darwin summed up his Galapagos journey.

But the harmony of the islands makes it easy to forget the problems of the present. With humans came ants, goats, rats and dogs. The native animals dispute the habitat. In 2001 oil flowed from the tanker “Jessica” near the island of San Christobal into the Pacific Ocean. Many animals had to be cleaned. Fortunately only a few died. The wind drove the oil to the open sea. Who is honest can hardly deny that even moderate tourism is a danger for the sensitive ecosystem.

Diving in Gardener Bay

Diving in the Galapagos Islands

In the Gardener Bay before Espaniola we experience our first exciting dive. About 120 eagle rays followed by a big manta ray. A three meter long Galapagos shark approaches curiously several times. Whitetip reef sharks and a stingray lie in the sand. A school of mackerel circles above it. They attract sea lions.

Diving at Wolf Island

Afterwards we reach the island of Wolf. It is the first of the two outposts of Galapagos. The steep rock excludes shore walks. From now on three to four dives a day are possible. Despite a visibility of ten meters we can hardly wait. At a depth of six metres a break off of large boulders begins. Before it hammerhead sharks pass by.

Diving at the rock gate of Darwin

When diving under the rock gate of Darwin not quite as many sharks gather. But the visibility is better. And the animals come close. Turtles, mackerels, porpoises, perches. Butterfly fish as well as stingrays and eagle rays mark a diving area with current.

From the island Bartolomé we have a great view to the sea with the striking Pinnacle Rock and the lava fields of the neighbouring island Santiago. It gives the impression as if it had just been created. Its appearance suggests the volcanic power that created Galapapagos.

Diving in the Galapagos Islands at a glance

Diving in the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands lie on the equator in the Pacific Ocean. 950 kilometers west of South America. They belong to the state of Ecuador. The land area is about three times as large as the Saarland. The largest island is Isabella. It covers 60 percent of this area. The rest is distributed among twelve larger islands and a few hundred small islands. Almost all of them are protected national parks. The administration is called Baquerizo Moreno and is located on San Christobal. There are about 10,000 inhabitants. They live in small villages and grow vegetables, fruit and coffee. Or they go fishing. The national language is Spanish. English is widely spoken. The national currency is the Sucre. Otherwise, usually only US dollars are accepted.

Arrival for diving in Galapagos: Flight to Quito. Then 2,5h flight via Guayaquil to Baltra/Galapagos.

Entry requirements: Tourists need a passport valid for six months and a return flight. There is an airport tax and national park fee. Please inform yourself in advance about the current altitude. 

Best time to go diving in Galapagos: Due to the changing ocean currents there are two different periods. January to June is the rainy season. When the Panama Current brings warm water. The climate is temperate to subtropical. The temperature is 27 degrees. The water is between 17 and 25 degrees.
From July to December it is dry season. Then the south equatorial current brings cool water and the southeast trade wind blows. The temperature is 21 degrees. In the water between 14 and 23 degrees.

Want to dive in the Galapagos Islands?

We will select the right dive operator for you according to your specifications.
They will then send you free and non-binding offers within a few days.
Simply compare and book. 🙂

We only forward your request to selected dive centres.

Your details will not be stored and you will not receive any advertising. Promise! 🙂

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