Galapagos Aggressor Announces New Itinerary

February 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Galapagso AggressorIn November the Galapagos National Park announced several new regulations and the enforcement of other rules that had been previously neglected. One of the biggest changes in the new regulations effects those diving in the Galapagos.

The waters surrounding the Galapagos is the second largest marine reserve and in the world.  For many travelers Galapagos Diving is the highlight of their trip. Approximately 4 years ago the National Park ruled that boats that offered naturalist cruises were no longer permitted to offer diving as part of their cruise. In November the National Park announced that boats offering Galapagos Diving Cruises are no longer permitted to offer land visits outside of San Cristobal and Santa Cruz.

To honor the National Parks new regulations the Galapagos Aggressor yachts have announced a new itinerary effective February 1, 2011. The new itinerary is as follows:

THURSDAY
AM: Arrival to San Cristobal – lunch and briefing
PM: Check out dive at Isla Lobos and welcome cocktail

FRIDAY
AM: Bartolome
PM: Two dives at Cousin Rocks

SATURDAY
AM: Two dives at Wolf
PM: Two dives at Wolf

SUNDAY
AM: Two dives at Darwin
PM: Two dives at Darwin

MONDAY
AM: Two dives at Darwin (Jun-Dec)
PM: One dive at Wolf (Jun-Dec)

AM: Two dives at Roca Redonda (Jan-May)
PM: Two dives at Punta Vicente Roca (Jan-May)

TUESDAY
AM: Two dives at Roca Redonda (Jun-Dec)
PM: Two dives at Punta Vicente Roca (Jan-May)

AM: Two dives at Cabo Marshall (Jan-May)
PM: Two dives at Cabo Marshall (Jan-May)

WEDNESDAY
AM: Santa Cruz Highlands
PM: Puerto Ayora – Visit to Charles Darwin Research Station

THURSDAY
AM: Check out and departure from San Cristobal

The 2011 itinerary adds diving at Roca Redonda and Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island), and in 2012 will add Pinta Island.

Shark Breeding sites identified in Galapagos

July 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hammerhead Shark in Galapagos

Hammerhead Shark in Galapagos

Diving with sharks is the number one reason that divers come to the Galapagos Islands.  The Galapagos is home to a variety of sharks including hammerheads, Galapagos Sharks, whale sharks, black tipped, white tipped, silky, bull sharks,  catsharks and many more.

Sharks are amazing animals.  Globally 100 million sharks are killed a year commercially and for sport.  Sharks are a vital part to a healthy marine ecosystem.  Preservation and conservation of sharks in the Galapagos Marine Reserve is of the utmost importance.   A coalition task force including members from national park, scientists, international conservation organizations, the Darwin Foundation and local fisherman has been established to monitor and identify potential breeding areas for sharks within the Galapagos.

They have identified four breeding sites near Santa Cruz: Tortuga Bay, Garrapatero, Saca Calzón y Punta Rocafuerte.  Additionally they have identified both Punta Rocafuerte, Santa Cruz and Puerto Grande, San Cristobal as breeding sites for hammerhead sharks.

The research is including the monitoring of sharks at each site and monitoring of the heights, weights and number of sharks.  Further research will include migration patters, movement between sites and reproduction cycles gaining a better understanding of sharks and their activity within the Galapagos.

Lammer Law returns to Galapagos for the 2010 dive season

April 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

One of the world’s largest trimarans designed and built for scuba diving and sailing, the eco-friendly 93-ft Lammer Law is a uniquely beautiful and seaworthy vessel. Thanks to her huge 42-ft beam has made this yacht the staple for live aboard cruises for years.   It was announced today that she will be returning to the islands for the 2010 dive season offering divers live aboard cruises to Wolf and Darwin.

Lammer Law is big with a huge lounge and 8 spacious staterooms all with independently controlled air-conditioning units and private facilities. The rear deck canopy is the perfect place for organizing gear and when the day is done there is the upper deck where you can relax in a hammock watching the incredible wildlife that makes Galapagos Famous.

Limited space is still available during peak season. Check out Grundlefly’s Lammer Law Dive Blog documenting the trip.   For more information on the Lammer Law and other dive opportunities in Galapagos check out Galapagos Dive

Sharks Sharks and More Sharks

March 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Kicker Rock’s name in Spanish may be the Sleeping Lion, but jumping into the water of the canal is sure to make your adrenaline rise.  That fact is not due to the friendly sea lions that come to greet you – it’s due to the Galapagos Sharks lurking just below the surface.

The Galapagos Islands are famous for evolution – it’s where Charles Darwin came up with the idea.  It’s the only place in the world with sea going iguanas or hundreds of other endemic plants and animals that have all evolved in order to survive.  Yet, with life evolving all around them, sharks have not changed for thousands of years.  Sharks have sleek bodies, and skeletons made up of cartilage and connective tissues making them flexible and highly effective swimmers.  Shark teeth are connected to their gums rather than jaws allowing them to constantly be replaced, and their jaws not connected to their cranium permits them to absorb powerful impacts all these factors make sharks them the ultimate aquatic predator.  The reason why sharks haven’t evolved when other animals have is simple – there was no need – sharks were already perfect.

Diving with Sharks is the #1 reason why people come to SCUBA dive in the Galapagos Islands.  I remember, a several years ago, I met a good friend of mine for the first time, the first thing he asked me was “Are you afraid of Sharks”  – I told him the truth “of course not!”  Thinking back – I guess that’s not a normal response.

Whale Shark

Diving with Whale Sharks near Wolf and Darwin

The waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands are home to a 32 different species of shark from white tip reef sharks, to hammerheads, and bullsharks to whalesharks. With all these sharks in the water it’s hard to stop the theme to JAWS from playing in your head.  But unlike the movie Jaws, shark attacks in these waters aren’t really a concern – there is so much marine life that the sharks don’t have any interest in you.  If you ask a local dive guide about the dangers of diving with sharks, they tend to laugh and tell you not to worry – sharks in Galapagos are vegetarians.

Almost all visitors are assured some sort of shark encounter during their time in the islands.  Whether it’s snorkeling with sharks off the coast of Espanola or viewing sleeping sharks at Tintorares an islet just off the coast of Isabela – Sharks in Galapagos are everywhere.

From July to November, advanced divers from around the world descend on these islands.  They make their reservations years in advance purely for the opportunity to dive with Whale Sharks and schools of Hammerheads at the northern most islands.  Diving at Wolf and Darwin is easily one of the best dive sites in the world.  Galapagos is consistently named one of the best dive sites by Scuba Diving Magazine.

Galapagos is a place where even novice and intermediate divers can enjoy the exhilaration of diving with sharks. There are many fantastic dive sites throughout the Galapagos where diving with sharks is the highlight.  At Kicker Rock is an excellent wall dive located a few minutes away from the main port of Santa Cruz.  Kicker Rock has good visibility and light currents yet diving here you are able to see Galapagos Sharks, white tipped sharks and hammer heads as well as octopus, rays, huge schools of fish.  It’s easy access and ideal conditions may make Kicker Rock the best day dive site in all of Galapagos.

North Seymour located just northeast of the island of Santa Cruz is a local favorite.  Together with the neighboring sites of Daphne and Mosquera there is an array of dives with hammerheads, reef sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, golden rays and garden eels all waiting to be seen.

For the more advanced diver Gordon Rocks is probably the most well known day dive site in Galapagos.  A submerged, partly eroded crater the site creates it’s own strong unpredictable current which can be tricky for novice divers. Hammerheads are the highlight of Gordon, but there is so much more to see including Galapagos Sharks, mantas, jacks, schools of king angelfish, golden and eagle rays and sea turtles.

Though I don’t think the sharks in Galapagos have evolved into vegetarians – I do know that diving with sharks is an incredible experience not to be missed.

Learn more about Galapagos Diving

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