10 Important Things to Know Before Scuba Diving in Galapagos

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Most scuba divers prioritize visiting the Galapagos on their bucket lists. Before you start planning your once-in-a-lifetime vacation, consider the following.

At Darwin and Wolf, a magnificent whale shark swims. Scuba divers may participate in the Galapagos Whaleshark Project as citizen scientists by contributing photos like this one.
Nature is at its most striking in the Galapagos, where its untamed beauty enchants anybody fortunate enough to come. It is one of the greatest places for scuba diving and is probably already at the top of your list of things to do.
Divers are drawn to this magnificent archipelago by its rare combination of indigenous species and underwater delights. It is both a UNESCO World Heritage site and the second-largest marine reserve in the world.
Videos of the schools of hammerhead sharks, sea lions, and marine iguanas discovered in the Galapagos waters have mesmerized me ever since I began scuba diving ten years ago. I finally had the opportunity to realize my ambition after all these years, and it was beyond my expectations. I was mesmerized by the beauty of schools of hammerhead sharks, dolphins, turtles, whale sharks, sea lions, Galapagos sharks, and even mola-mola.
The Galapagos Islands are a wonderful area where marine life outnumbers people and environmental laws place a high priority on protecting marine life.
For a week, I was able to dive at more than 25 different locations, including the well-known sites of Darwin and Wolf.
I was surrounded by sharks while diving in strong currents in this distant environment, and adrenaline was pumping through my veins. Due to these circumstances, Galapagos is only suitable for experienced divers who are daring. Here are the top eight things you should be aware of before purchasing your ticket to effectively prepare for your ideal holiday.

1. Be ready to wear a 7mm wetsuit

The author kept warm throughout the chilly, frequent dives in a 7mm wetsuit.
Don’t let pictures of bikini-clad ladies at Galapagos beaches fool you; the waters beneath the archipelago’s sea are very cold.
If you frequently dive, you should wear a 7mm wetsuit and think about adding a heavy hood. Some instructors and divers choose to wear even warmer dry suits.
The southern Humboldt and Peru currents lower the water’s temperature during the chilly season to as low as 60 °F (15 °C).

2. The colder the better

If you’re thinking about going diving but aren’t sure what month to go, I suggest going when the water is cooler since you’ll have a better chance of seeing the large schools of hammerheads. When the Humboldt Current enters the islands in September through November, they are typically visible in deeper and cooler waters.

3. No WIFI onboard

If you intend to dive on a liveaboard, skip your job on those days. Even aboard the most luxurious yachts, mobile or wifi connection is infrequent. Whether you agree with this or not, it is a fantastic excuse to take a break from work and spend more time in the outdoors.

4. Freediving fins are a game changer

Freediving fins may make your diving simpler because of the powerful currents, allowing you to go forward and get less exhausted. I tried both, and after that, I never took off my freediving fins.

5. The Galapagos is a great Nitrox Diving Destination

Before your journey, I advise being certified to use enriched air (nitrox). You have no excuse because it is a straightforward one-day course that doesn’t call for any swimming instruction! Nitrox allows for longer no-decompression dives during scuba diving.
 
This entails spending more time under, particularly on prolonged and deep dives, which you will experience while on a Galapagos liveaboard. On certain liveaboards, having your nitrox certification is necessary.

6. Wearing gloves it’s a must!

Many divers have Galapagos on their bucket list of places to dive. Schools of hammerhead sharks, turtles, marine iguanas, and Darwin (formerly an arch, now in pillar configuration) are some of the most recognizable creatures and environments.
Two divers discussing in the water
Make sure you take instructions carefully from your instructor
If this is your first time diving while wearing gloves. The currents, not the chilly weather, are the primary justification for wearing them. Sometimes they may be so powerful that you have to hold onto a boulder to remain still, and a glove—even if it’s only one—might be helpful. Please keep in mind that it is crucial to look before you grasp and to avoid corals, which are home to delicate marine life.

7. Wide angle is the best option for your camera

I would recommend a wide-angle lens if you are enthusiastic about photography and are trying to decide which lens to bring. During your dive, marine megafauna will frequent you. The biggest whale shark will fit in your frame if your lens has a wide angle.

8. Don’t forget to look up

Galapagos dives are frequently deep, however when underwater, keep an eye up occasionally. In the Galapagos, anything might happen and you never know what you might encounter! I observed dolphins, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, and sea lions swimming close to the surface during my deep dives. A true dream came true, I tell you!

9. Best Time To Dive

You can dive in the Galapagos Islands all year long, however different times of year, dive sites, and depths will affect the water’s temperature.

September through November

The coldest months are September through November, while the hottest months are February through April. Surface temperatures range from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius, or 64 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best time to plan a diving vacation to the Galapagos is between September and November when the water will be cooler. Between June and September, many divers opt to explore the Galapagos underwater ecosystem. From June to December, the Galapagos experience their cooler season, which is marked by lower air temperatures and drier conditions.

January through May

The hottest and wettest months are January through May. The typical water temperature from January through May ranges from 24 to 28 degrees Celsius, or 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

June through December

The average water temperature from June through December will be between 17-20 degrees Celsius, or 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many people believe that the ideal time to scuba dive in the Galapagos is during the wet/warm season, which lasts from June to December. This is a result of the calmer, warmer water and improved visibility. Additionally, manta rays and hammerhead sharks can be seen around this time. The typical air temperature at this time of year is 86 degrees, while the typical water temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees.
Others, particularly experienced divers, will disagree that the dry/cool season, which lasts from July to November, is the ideal time to dive. Because you may view whale sharks, one of the most gorgeous monsters of the water, this is a highly popular time.
With an average air temperature of 70 degrees and water temperatures between 62 and 68 degrees, this season offers colder water and rougher surf.
Depending on who you ask, any time might be the greatest time to dive the Galapagos. However, May is a fantastic time for diving in terms of biodiversity if you want the best of both worlds. Not only do you have a chance to view hammerhead sharks and manta rays in May, but there is also a potential that you could encounter some whale sharks that arrive early.

10. Diving Safety

When diving in the Galapagos, there are a few considerations to bear in mind:
  • You should stay away from the currents and rips around the islands because of their strength. It’s possible to regularly get pushed out to sea or separated from your group. The boat will always be available to assist you if something occurs.
  • It would be wise to use a surface marker buoy, an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), or a personal locating beacon. If you are thrown overboard, they are provided by some tour companies and can be used to locate you.
  • Have extra equipment available. Potentially at risk from the strong currents are items like dive masks.
  • To prevent decompression sickness, slowly climb from the depths.
  • After diving, you should wait 24 hours before boarding a flight from the Galapagos to the mainland. This is because you can’t fly right after diving until your blood’s nitrogen levels have stabilized.
  • Pay close attention and fully abide by any instructions, safety advice, and rules that your guide may provide. Since they are authorities in the field, this is crucial.

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