Diving and Snorkeling, Galápagos Islands
This dive followed the inside of the remaining sections of a collapsed volcanic caldera. There was a substantial current moving through the formation, and consequently lots of fish action. This include a huge school of barracuda, schools of eagle rays (I counted 8 in one group), turtles, Galapagos reef sharks, and countless other fish. It's hard to choose a favorite, but I did spend quite a long time watching the masses of red-spotted barnacle blennies pop in and out of their tunnels like little pistons with eyes. They are endemic to the Galapagos.
This is a dive that circles the base of a submerged cinder cone. It's not an especially deep dive--less than 25 m, and there is only a moderate current, so it makes for a relaxed dive of at least an hour (if you don't get cold first).
As soon as we dropped in, we saw a small school of hammerhead sharks, but they were gone in a flash. There are lots of reef fish at this site: rays, chubs, grunts, snappers, goatfish, wrasses and so on.
We also saw a couple of large marbled stingrays. Although it's hard to tell from the photo, they must be about 1.5 m in diameter.
At this dive site, we didn't really get deeper than about 3 meters since we really only went to swim with the sea lions. What a rush!
They twirl around you, swim right up and blow bubbles in your face, tug at your fins, play tag....
The more you flip around and do twirls to attract their attention, the more they play with you. If you take your 'octopus' regulator and purge it, they will think you are blowing bubbles at *them* and come and blow some back at you, into your mask!
We had some underwater videographers in our group, and I am now the star of one flim clip as a sea lion and I did a complicated pas-de-deux in the water. By the end of a few minutes, my heart was pounding and I was breathing hard. Those guys sure can swim (I mean the sea lions, of course)!
Here's a photo of a couple of these cuties inviting us to come and play.
This large rock jutting out of the ocean has split in two, leaving a channel about 15 m deep between the two portions.
The dive itself is nice enough, but the real attraction is the geology. Underwater we saw lots of sabertooth blennies, the endemic galapagos rocktail damselfish, mexican hogfish, giant hawkfish (nice), razor surgeonfish, and a kind of cod or gouper with gold blotches surrounding white spots.
I have never seen so many different creatures while snorkelling as I did in the Galapagos Islands.
Apart from all the usual colourful and tropical fish, we also saw sea turtles, manta rays, and reef sharks. We also had a close encounter with what appeared to be mini torpedos, but were actually the Galapagos penguins. My most frightening experience was swimming within 2m of a 2m long hammerhead shark and my most fun experiences were those with the playful and curious sea lion pups. This is definitely a must see activity!
Beware of the guardian bull seal that's usually nearby, but try not to miss this if you get the opportunity! The seal pups will play with you, spinning all around you, swimming between your legs, and generally dazzling you with their playful acrobatics.
About 1000 km to the west this unique fauna and flora is a must when you visit Ecuador.
It was discovered rather late by Bishop
Thomas de Berlanga - in 1535.
All islands have a vulcano origin - 2/3 million
years ago and are in fact the top of those undersea vulcanos
That is the reason fauna and flora is so special - and of course the gulf streaming is influencing this islands.
The seals taking a sunbath on the white beach of one of the islands.
All beaches are differently colored due to origin and minerales - red/black.
The strange thing on this island is that we could swimm and snorkel - the seals, especially the young species followed us.
But is was forbidden to touch them - Rather difficult no?
If you visit the Galapagos islands you just have to go diving! Not without reason divespot #1!!!
Best places to see schools of Hammerheads are far up in the North of the islands at WOLF and DARWIN islands. Those islands are mainly for divers because you can't do a land walk on them. The are another 16 hours away from the main islands like isabela.
Here is a Galapagos shark. Lots of them are around the Galapagos islands. Sometimes you can get surrounded by 50 of them. They often reach 3m. But don't worry they wont do anything to you. Just to much food around in the Galapagos waters. :)
Snorkeling and especially diving has to be the highlight of the Galapagos Islands. The world underwater there is fantastic.
You can get very close to a huge number of marine life. A highlight for me was a dive amongst a shoal of about 50 Hammerheads and then at the end of the dive we spent about 30 minutes in a shark soup of about 100 White tipped reef sharks - amazing! And then there´s the Rays, turtles, penguins, seals, sealions and thousands of other tropical fish.
Near Floreana there is a beautiful place to snorkel. You can see white tipped sharks, sea tortoises, coloured fish, and rays and more.
You will see schools of fish of any type. This picture shows a big school of endemic Salinas. You might see them at Cape Mashal at isabela island.