Monday, October 22, 2007
1999 Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
In my entire diving career the Galapagos Islands was the highlight. A most amazing place! We would see in one dive more sea life than I would see in an entire week diving in the Caribbean. There were a number of fish indigenous to the Islands, such as the Red Lipped Batfish (which we called the Blue Lipped Batfish because it was so cold down where they were). A lot of the fish also seemed to be much bigger, such as the moray eels. On the top photo shown here is a little puffer fish who was so curious about me that he came up to my camera while I was doing a 15 foot safety stop at the end of a dive. He swam in a circle around me, and then head on to within a few feet. On the northern islands we would dive down about 85 feet, find a hole in the lava rock not occupied by an eel, and hook on. The current was so strong that we literally had to hook our BC vest on to prevent being swept away. Then we would wait, and soon 6-8 foot hammerhead sharks would be above and on either side of us. We were in a pot hole in their highway. They seemed shy, and we would hold our breath so they'd come closer. Also on that trip was experiences swimming with sea lions, turtles, rays, and schools of barracudas. I had a bull sea lion bark in my face underwater, telling me to back off -- which I did as fast as I could. My agility compared to theirs was like a snail faced with a swallow. The above water sights were also quite interesting, although non divers are missing a great deal of what the Islands have to offer. We did field trips on various islands to visit sea lions and black sea iguana lolling on the beach, lava lizards, giant tortoises, blue footed boobies, penguins and a plethora of other birds, and unique cactus and trees. We were on a live aboard, the Aggressor and did a total of 15 dives. The water was cold with lots of current, and we carried a blow-up "sausage" so we could be seen among the waves as well as a horn. This diving is not for beginners. I had the least number of dives of anyone on the trip (127 when I went aboard), whereas one of the guests had about 1500 dives. Since this trip my interest in diving has waned, and been replaced by other kinds of trips. I have done two dive trips since -- one to Bonaire in 2000, and then two dives while on a family trip to Maui in 2003. But nothing can compare to the Galapagos, except perhaps other expensive trips I have not taken such as Palau, Papua New Guinea or the Great Barrier Reef.