Diving at the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago in Pacific Ocean that belongs to Ecuador. The archipelago consists of 13 main volcanic islands, 6 small islands and 107 rocks and inwash territories. Since 1985 the Galapagos Islands are a world biosphere reserve that is, first of all, famous for its tropical and Antarctic flora and fauna. Thanks to active volcanoes the islands resemble a palette that combines the sand of green, white and black colors. Craters, cracks and odd sculptures created of poured lava with large content of iron and magnesium that determines their brick-metallic color are the characteristics of this place. The abundance of wild life at the Galapagos islands is caused by a number of factors: location, isolation, presence of currents etc. There are five ocean currents: cold Humboldt current, southern equatorial current, equatorial Cromwell current, cold Peru current and tropical southern Panama current. Once in 3 or 7 years a warm surface El Nino current appears. It arises in December and can last for several months. It brings serious changes into the climate and animal world of South America. As a rule, after El Nino leaves, life at the Galapagos islands recovers. Traditional cold currents make the Galapagos climate raw and mild. Diving at the Galapagos islands is more suitable for experienced divers who can orientate themselves, determine the speed of the currents, cope with vortexes and thermoclines. Hammerhead sharks are common for this place. Moreover, whales, whale sharks, sea lions, mantas, turtles, dolphins and hundreds of other dwellers can be spotted here. As usual, dives are performed in safari mode with visiting the islands of the archipelago including world famous Darwin and Wolf islands. Other dive sites are located near Isabella, Bartolome, Santiago and Floreana islands that have an abundance of flora and fauna; while. Santa Cruise Island has a research station that works on the control of the Galapagos ecosystem threat; San-Cristobal island is known for an interpretation center where visitors listen to the excursions about volcanic origin of the islands; also there is a hot stream at Roca Redonda rock that proves constant volcanic activity. Diving industry is not well developed, there are no specialized shops, that’s why divers are recommended to bring the equipment with them. Find more details about Galapagos liveaboardsLocation: A small archipelago of islands that belongs to Ecuador, eastern Pacific Ocean, 1000km/620mi to the west of the South American continent What to see: tropical fish, Antarctic seagulls, parrots, dolphins, fur seals, tortoises, Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, sea lions, mantas, whales, whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, nurse sharks, whitetip reef sharks, hammerheads and others inhabit the islands and nearby territory. The underwater rocks and boulders are covered with soft, black corals and balanuses. The seasonal characteristics of some marine dwellers: Whale sharks (June – November), schools of rays (December – April), hammerhead sharks (always), humpback whales (June – a migration period), penguins (very active from August to November), rays appear in November – when water becomes warmer, green turtles (January – egg laying, April – hatching from eggs). Depth: 5-20m/16-65ft Currents: 1-3knots Visibility: 10-30m/32-98ft Season to dive: The best time to visit the islands is March and April, when the weather is warm and the ocean is calm. This period gets into the rainy season that lasts from November to June. The dry season is characterized with strong winds and colder southern currents. November is the best time for visiting during the dry season. The average temperature during the rainy season is 20-28C/68-82F, while during the dry season – it is 16-20C/60-68F. The water temperature in May is the highest, it is 20-24C/68-75F on the surface, at the northern part of the archipelago it can reach 28C/82F. Thermocline is at 10-30m/32-98ft depth, the water temperature under the thermocline is 16-18C/60-64F. Divers should remember that within a couple of hours water temperature can change by 6C/42F, that’s why it’s better to take a diving suit with 5-7mm/0.2-0.3in thick hood. Water is the clearest in October – November.

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