Scuba Diving The Galapagos Islands
Diving the Galapagos Islands is something that many divers place at or near the top of their bucket lists. The Galapagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago that are situated about 960 kms to the west of Ecuador on the equator. There are 14 major islands which make up the Galapagos as well as 6 smaller islands (under 5 square kms) as well as a multitude of islets, rocks, and reefs. The total land area of the islands combined is approximately 7800 square kilometers with an ocean area covering approximately 45000 square kilometers.
The Galapagos are most famous for being the islands which Charles Darwin studied for years. It was here that Darwin made many discoveries that lead to his theory of “Darwinism” or survival of the fittest. These islands are home to some incredibly unique species which can not be found anywhere else on earth.
The Galapagos are such an amazing location for diving due to their location. They are situated on the equator where two swift currents meet. This is further intensified by the very deep waters around the volcanic islands which makes nutrient rich water from the depths shoot up to the surface which brings huge amounts of marine life from across the pacific ocean.
Scuba Diving Conditions of the Galapagos
It may be a bit of a surprise, based upon its position on the equator, but the water at the Galapagos Islands tends to be quite cool. This is a result of the upwellings which brings water up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. It is recommended to wear either 5 or 7 mm wet suits with hoods, gloves, and boots year round.
The visibility is also something that can change due to the currents. The visibility tends to be in the 12-18 meter range, however, it is not uncommon for it to be as low as 5 meters or as high as 25 meters. As a rule, the visibility is at its worst from the months of January to April.
Best Months To Dive The Galapagos
The Galapagos are truly a spectacle to be dove year round. The main draw of the islands is the huge schools of hammerheads which can be viewed year round. Manta rays are generally seen from December through April. Tiger and Whale Sharks are much more common in the months from June through November.
Diving The Galapagos Islands
Diving the Galapagos is generally done by both live aboard vessels and day trips. Live aboard vessels offer divers the chance to visit a much larger number of dive sites in more remote locations. Day trips are great for an introduction to the marine life in the Galapagos, but you are less likely to see the large schools of hammerheads, or some of the other big draws that make the Galapagos so spectacular.