Why dive in Galapagos?Best Diving in the Pacific = Galapagos # 1
With the top spot in nearly one-third of the 15 categories in Scuba Diving's Top 100 –– including "Best Overall Diving" and "Healthiest Marine Environment" –– is it any wonder the Galapagos was selected as the top overall destination. While its reefs might not be as biodiverse as others in the Pacific, the Galapagos is bursting at the seams with sharks and other curious critters like marine iguanas and playful sea lions. Ironically, it's when you surface from a dive in which you faced down massive whale sharks and hundreds of hammerheads that this destination really shines: Walk among colorful herons, penguins, Darwin's finches, bright-red Sally Lightfoot crabs, blue-footed boobies and the famed gargantuan tortoises as they sun themselves at your feet.Top Big Animals in the Pacific = Galapagos # 1
No destination on the planet epitomizes the love affair we have with big pelagics better than the Galapagos. Hundreds of miles off the Ecuadorian coast in the vast Pacific Ocean, the handful of islands acts as a homing beacon for the biggest of the big. The best diving is in the north, off Darwin and Wolf islands' prodigious walls, where whale sharks and manta rays, mammoth turtles, eagle rays, and photogenic Galapagos and silky sharks are all big draws. But the biggest attractions are the schools of hammerheads, which cruise the blue year-round at sites like the Arch off Darwin, or Wolf Island's Rockslide. One glimpse of the hundreds of silhouetted sharks and you'll almost forget about the frigid thermocline that just hit you like a Mack truck.Top for Advanced Divers in the Pacific = Galapagos # 1
Diving in the Galapagos isn't for the newly certified, or the faint of heart. It's as if the islands have a built-in litmus test to weed out divers who aren't qualified. If you're not deterred by the sometimes rough surface conditions, often strong and unpredictable currents (which require that you bring a sturdy pair of gloves and some rock-climbing skills), and thermoclines guaranteed to chill you to the bone, then you'll be disproportionately rewarded with schooling sharks that blot out the sun, iguanas that free-dive to check you out and a sense of accomplishment second to none. Of course many of the dives will be calm and peaceful, but where's the fun in that?Best Marine Life in the Pacific = Galapagos # 1
They may not have the macro life of Indonesia, or the visibility of PNG, but the Galapagos has big marine life, and where else but this wonderfully quirky destination (and the local aquarium) can you see a penguin, marine iguana, and shark on the same day? Nutrient-rich ocean currents are to thank for the Galapagos' grandiose display of marine life. Baleen whales, sea lions and over 450 species of fish live around the 13 major islands that make up the Galapagos, which features the second largest marine reserve in the world. Diving the Galapagos grants you the unique experience and opportunity to see whale sharks, green turtles and manta rays all in one descent.Healthiest Marine Life in the Pacific = Galapagos # 1
Divers can thank the health of the Galapagos' marine environment to the government's ongoing environmental preservation efforts. Although fairly recent, these efforts are booming with dramatic changes. One of the largest in the world, the marine reserve was started in 1998, but the once pristine sanctuary of exotic animals quickly became a hot spot for shark finning and over-fishing. The Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Foundation came together to help preserve this world icon. Thanks to their quick actions, the marine park is once again the hottest diving ticket on the planet.Overall Best Dive Destination in the Pacific = Galapagos # 1
What makes the Galapagos a winner for overall diving? Its underwater encounters and unique biodiversity. The Galapagos is home to several dozen endemic species both on land and under water. These islands are volcanic in origin, making them the perfect home full of nutrients and flowing water for sea life and underwater mammals. Don't be surprised to run into a pod of playing sea lions, green sea turtles or, on the more extreme side, a shark encounter including the biggest in the ocean: the gentle whale shark. These waters aren't for the beginner diver, so take caution.
Yesterday a group of divers with the Red Mangrove lodge saw this Mola Mola (aka Ocean Sunfish) in Gordon Rocks. This is a very rare sighting and we are thrilled to have seen it. It was a huge one! Have you seen a Mola Mola before? Share your story in the comments.