The famous Galapagos Islands are known for the naturally occurring evolution of self contained species. Because of the unique status of the wildlife on Galapagos, protocol for divers here is strict, but the islands are extremely rewarding for the more experienced diver.
48 volcanic islands, 600 miles out in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Equador, the Galapagos Islands sit in waters that are designated a marine park. However lack of funds has meant that protective measures haven’t been strictly enforced which has had a devastating effect on the marine life of this region. The rules for tourist ate strictly administered though with each tour being accompanied by a guide and paths mapped out for visitors. Straying from an official route will incur punishment as will feeding, touching or scaring the island’s wildlife. Of course this is exactly why people come to the Galapagos Islands, you see the unique life forms including giant tortoises, iguanas, sealions, Galapagos penguins among many others.
Despite the equatorial location of the Galapagos Islands, the sea temperature is quite cool in places. Indeed the range of water temperatures can be dramatic, which can catch new divers out. When people first started diving here they came back with stories of seas were filled with sharks, dolphins, whales and fish, however the effect of the fishing industry that has a strangle holed on the ear (despite its marine park status), canning factories on the islands and the tourist industry, the sea life isn’t in quite such abundance now, However it can still be breathtaking with hammerhead sharks, manta rays, whalesharks and Galapagos sharks regularly sighted. Galapagos penguins can found in the colder areas, while the warmer seas are filled with tropical reef fish. The sealions are also in abundance and will play with divers. So, despite the downside of the island’s ineffective ecological protection, there is still plenty to keep divers happy.
British divers are well catered for with several agents in the UK. The most common way to visit the islands is by boat tours that tour from island to island. There are also some that offer diving with a few dedicated liveaboard dive boats