Having undergone a complete interior refit to the highest luxury standards, the 32-meter M/V Galapagos Master (formerly christened the “Deep Blue”) was built in 2004 and re-launched in 2015. Accommodating a total of 16 divers, the yacht features 8 air-conditioned cabins spread across three decks, with each cabin offering stunning views of the Galapagos archipelago. Each cabin has its own private en-suite bathroom with hot water, in-cabin entertainment and ample storage room for all personal belongings. On this ship’s 8-day/7-night Galapagos diving tour itinerary will allow you to make a minimum of 20 dives, with at least 12 of these underwater experiences around the legendary dive areas of Darwin and Wolf islands. In addition, a few land excursions are included in this Galapagos diving tour, making it a great introduction and a fantastic diving experience in the “living laboratory” of the Galapagos Islands.
“We booked our Galapagos/Peru trip through Surtrek and are very glad that we did.”
AM: In the morning you will fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to the Galapagos Islands. At the airport on San Cristobal Island, after you will pay your entrance fee to the national park, a member of the ship's crew will welcome you and accompany you to your diving yacht: the M/Y Galapagos Master.
PM: After boarding at San Cristobal the Galapagos Master cruises to Isla Lobos (off San Cristobal Island) for your check out dive. The sheltered bay provides an excellent shallow spot, at a max depth of 9 m. (30 ft.), in which to check your dive gear but also become acquainted with some of the local marine life. Sea lions playfully interact with divers, whilst sightings of turtles and rays are also common. Sea iguanas may be spotted too.
AM: Off Santa Cruz Island, Punta Carrion is a boulder strewn reef that provides a superb introduction to some of the larger pelagics we expect to see in the Galapagos, including Whitetip reef sharks but also the occasional hammerhead and Galapagos shark. Sea lions are ever-present and there is the opportunity for some macro critter spotting with sightings of neon nudibranchs. The wall has an average depth of 15 m. (50 ft.) and mild- medium current is to be expected.
PM: After a dry landing onto North Seymour Island, we will take a short walk along its coast, where you will encounter Swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions and Cliff crabs. This part of Seymour Island is also known for being a major nesting site for Blue-footed boobies and one of the largest colonies of Magnificent frigatebirds (a species different from the Great frigatebird). As you enjoy this relaxing hike around various nesting sites, you can also spot both of the endemic species of iguanas: marine iguanas and land iguanas.
AM/PM: Darwin Island, an extinct volcano reaching 165 m. (490 ft.) above sea level, was named in honor of naturalist Charles Darwin. It is amongst the smallest island within the Galapagos Archipelago and like Wolf Island, no land visits are permitted. Perhaps the most famed dive site is “Darwin’s Arch” which provides an amazing drift dive along the wall at an average depth of just 9 meters. Medium to strong currents are to be expected but bring with them hammerheads, black tips, silky and Galapagos sharks – and in large numbers! Schools of jacks are a common sight, along with turtles, angelfish and moray eels. Occasional sightings of tiger sharks, manta rays and bottle nose dolphins make for a thrilling time spent here. Whale sharks may also be seen between May-November.
AM/PM: 2 morning dives and 2 afternoon dives off Darwin Island
AM/PM: Wolf Island, named after the German geologist Theodor Wolf, is an extinct volcano reaches 253 m. (780 ft.) above sea level and lies some 160 km (100 miles) northwest of Isabela Island. Land visits are not permitted however bird life, including red-footed boobies and vampire finch, may be spotted from the boat. For our dives here we choose from a selection of reefs and walls, most having typically medium to strong currents where the use of gloves and reef hooks is advised. Schooling pelagics are the main draw with sightings of hammerheads, white tips and Galapagos sharks at each site. During the season (May-November) whale sharks may also be seen here. Divers should also be on the lookout for red-lipped batfish, barracudas, moray eels and dolphins!
AM/PM: Alternatively known as "The Ice Box", due to its chilling thermoclines, Punta Vicente Ramon Roca -- off the northwest coast of Isabela Island – offers a wall drift dive, along which mola mola can be spotted. The occasional Port Jackson shark may also be seen as well as the endemic Camotillo (White spotted sand bass). Yet Punta Vicente Roca is not just for the larger marine life but is also a fantastic place to spot pacific seahorses, frogfish, octopus, nudibranchs, flat worms and a variety of sponges. We stick to a maximum depth of 30 m. (100 ft.) with an average of 18 m. (60 ft.) whilst enjoying some milder currents!
AM: Off Santiago Island is located Cousin's Rock. One of the most photographically productive dives of the region, Cousin's Rock is formed of coral covered rock and lava flow. Sea fans, hydroid bushes, red sponges and small hard corals encrust ledges and overhangs, sheltering hawkfish, nudibranchs, frogfish and seahorses. Plenty of larger visitors are also seen including giant manta and mobula rays, spotted eagle rays and hammerhead sharks. The wall drops beyond 30 m. (100 ft.) but rises up shallow to just 3 m. (10 ft.) providing an ideal spot to end your dive playing with the sea lions.
PM: In the afternoon we will go to the Santa Cruz Highlands and see "The Twins" (twin craters), which will be explained by your naturalist guide. These craters are surrounded by scalesia forest, where also live Ruby tyrants and small and large Tree finches.
Later this afternoon, we will head for one of the most visited spots in the islands. Located on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is primarily an international scientific research station situated on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. You will be taken to its visitor center to learn about the geology, climate, natural history and the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. However, the highlight of your visit here will undoubtedly be the research facility’s Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center, which breeds giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles can live up to 150 years and weigh between 250 and 300 kg. Approaching them in their humid and forested spaces is always an inspiring adventure. For decades, the Fausto Center was home to “Lonesome George,” who finally died in 2012 as the last of his particular species. The tortoises you will see here are accustomed to humans, so it’s an excellent spot for visitors to take photographs with them. Remember that looking at the animals is allowed, but touching is not; and it’s absolutely forbidden to jump over the walls or open the pen doors at any time.
AM: At the port of Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos Province, we will visit San Cristobal Island’s Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about the natural and settlement history of the archipelago. Here you will discover displays that provide information about the volcanic origins of the islands, the ocean’s currents, the archipelago’s climate, and facts concerning the arrival of different species. The islands’ human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and settlements of the Galapagos.
From the dock on San Cristobal Island, we will take a short bus ride to the airport for your flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland. Enjoy the last view of the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with fascinating natural highlights.
“I want to thank you for arranging a perfect tour for me. I know you did not have control over who the other people would be, but it all, on all fronts, was perfect. The itinerary was sensational and the boat fabulous.”