Galapagos Day 4 - Diving with Hammerhead sharks

Trip Start May 10, 2011
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Trip End Apr 15, 2012


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Where I stayed
Los Amigos

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Friday, March 2, 2012

SCUBA DIVING WITH SOME SHARKS

So our dive was booked with one of the most reputable companies on the island Scuba Iguana and was a pricey 140 for 2 dives but you cant come here and not dive its meant to be amazing.

We got dropped off by our wee Zodiac boat at 7am to the main island in the Galapagos, Santa Cruz, it was strange to be back on dry land with shops n stuff.

TO DIVE OR NOT TO DIVE??
We get into the dive centre and by this point I was almost backing out - I did Borneo I got my PADI I didnt drown in the end then I did 2 dives at the Great Barrier Reef no problem but I guess it was a short space of time between them two - this was now 4 months later and all my confidence was gone- I was desperate to see sharks but when the guys is sizing us up for all our equipment I was shaking like a leaf....why do I do it to myself !!

We were sat in our group of 7 people - 2 were doing a fun dive the 5 of us doing a full dive - the guy asked us all to say our name where we were from and the number of dives we had done.  I was put at ease by the fact there was only really one guy with 69 dives the rest of us under 10 or so - I was dreading experienced divers cause they get annoyed with us novices all flappy under the water and using the air too quick so they have to surface earlier than they normally would cause we have used all our air.

The guy briefed us on our 2 dive sites then it was a 45 min car journey to get on our boat.  The boat wasn't huge but I had my sea sick pills but the waves were a bit wobbly once the boat stopped sooooo not good thankfully I wasnt sick but its horrible we had 60 min rest time on the boat wobbling about - hate it.....again I am just not meant for the water haha

DIVE 1 - NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND
God I hate typing this its like reliving the thing all over again haha.....

So we had 2 guides down with us he told us the plan but thats all very well looking at a map he had but once your under the water how the hell are you supposed to tell where you are???

We first had to go to 6m and do a SKILLS test aggggggg the fooking skills that I nearly drowned on - mask removal and regulator removal !!    Panic sets in, we didnt have to do SKILLS on the Oz dive but I think cause we were all novices he was being safe.  We get in and my ears wouldn't equalise they were throbbing, eventually get on our knees in the sand and I was first up for regulator removal, you have to take it out you mouth thrown it away then there is a special way you lean to get it back - I can handle this one and managed fine- then I was last up to do the mask removal, I am having to talk to myself again "Amanda you can do this" all I can think is trying to bolt to the surface doesnt work you have tried that before !!!!!!   I get control of myself half fill my mask then clear it YAAAAAAAAAAS  I was so delighted... fooking mask I will not let it get the better of me.

We had to get back on the boat to get to the dive site then we went in, again rolling back off the boat which I dont mind doing now, I felt not too bad I did the mask it will be fine!!!   We were to go down and depending on what the guide said we might be holding onto the rocks as there will be things to see around us - well god knows what happened my weights were wonky so I was leaning to one side, the current was fairly strong something I hadnt experienced before and there was 7 of us flapping around - I am always so paranoid someone is too close and knocks off my mask.  My ears took ages to sort out we were to get to the rocks and hold on but somehow my fin got caught in the rock and fell off - PANIC - I now have the guide and Marc holding me sorting out my fin - the current was making me go all over the place.   Fin back on eventually I am holding onto the rocks (no damage to the environment here its not coral its just rock) - next thing we look up and there is a black tip reef shark right in front of us he lingers about then another one comes it was amazing - its the only time I felt calm I am totally distracted by this I love it they were so close and elegant going through the water.
  
We leave the rock and go for a swim - I dont know what was wrong with me - everyone else just seems to go with the flow but I am constantly checking for the guide, which way are we going now, is Marc ok??  We swim along and next min I knock I actually knock my own regulator out of my mouth agggggggg thankfully I found it quick purged the water from it and I was on my way again - in all this flap the other guide clearly realised I wasnt having the best time and took my hand which instantly makes me feel better - we swim on for a few more mins and then there they are 2 hammerhead sharks with a baby - this is it this is why I put myself through this hell - it was amazing - only a handful of dive sites in the world allow you to see hammerheads so its a complete privilege.   

We continue on and we sea and eagle ray and a stingray and the other usual fish - before I know it we are heading up - time seemed to go really quick.  

Back on board was sandwich and 60 min of free time to snorkle or snooze - everyone just sat on the boat - rocking away we ate our lunch while I started at the horizon to try and not get sea sick!!!  

DIVE 2 - MOSQUERA
This dive site was close by and we geared up ready to go again - my confidence had gone, I lost my fin, my ears ached, my regulator fell out - it wasn't going well haha.  One of the pics below of me before I go overboard says it all I cant even fake a smile haha.

This time it was more flat sandy bottom, I was flapping about again as there was current I maybe just needed a moment to sort myself but the guide was off so once again the other guide ended up taking my hand.  At that moment all I could think was thank fook but now I am raging with myself I should have gave myself 5 mins to get myself together then go at it on my own - I took the easy option and let him hold my hand the whole time I am kicking myself now I feel like I just cant dive properly - hate to fail at something and I felt like I failed by not doing it myself grrr  :-(

Anyway we say more eagle rays and a sea turtle and this time white tip sharks and black tips - the second dive seemed to last longer and we were just swimming about which seemed easier that the rock hanging.  The guide checked our air supply next min I know my guides hand is gone and I am told  to hold onto a rock - my handy guide takes half the group low on air to go up (including Marc) so its me the other guide and 2 other people.  I swam a bit on my own then he gets us to hold a rock again while we watch a turtle. Air check again its time to go up but he swims us off in a direction and before I know it we are all hurtling at what felt 100 miles an hour through this current I look at the others they are smiling having fun - me I am going sideways not having a clue where I might end up thinking what on earth is happening, what if I get lost on my own and when the fook will this stop - I make noise through my regulator to my guide to take my hand but I am swirling away he signals for me to relax !!!!!!!!  RELAX are you fooking kidding me I make a noise again and hold out my hand he eventually gets it but by now we have finished our rollercoaster ride and its gone calm again - we surface!!  

I was like "what on earth happened there" to which replies I got from the others "that was amazing eh what a great ride" ?????????????????????????????   I got back on boat where I just sat in a complete daze poor Marc he get so worried about me- the not being able to talk underwater doesn't help maybe if I had been warned this was about to happen and it will be fine it would have been ok but why on earth do you let someone with only 2 qualified dives who has held the guides hand the whole 2 dives let them loose on the last bit though that!!!   Apparently though this is meant to be fun for divers - I beg to differ !!!

Anyway we were heading back - there is something about diving that leaves me speechless and physically and mentally exhausted - I had seen the sharks - no manta ray but the sharks were what I wanted to be honest we though we might have seen more we heard people seeing schools of 20-50 hammerheads and rays but its hit or miss eh it was worth it though - it took me a good hour n half some Gatorade and a chocolate ice cream before I could start to talk again.  
 
Poor Marc I feel for him he worries about me in the water and I just worry about him - its sooo natural for him he loves it - its probably best if we don't dive together I hate to ruin it for him worrying about me. After some time to reflect I was so happy about seeing the sharks but the annoyance of having to hold the guides hand has really got to me I have let myself down and feel I have to do one more dive in Florida to prove to myself I can do this like normal divers !!
 
Amazing though check out the pics and videos the guide took with his proper underwater camera - DVD cost 18


 
TORTOISES AT CHARLES DARWIN STATION  

So now absolutely exhausted after our dives we went to see lonesome George we had to go now as we left too early in the morning and you cant leave without seeing George- we powered round in record time it was boiling but we couldn't miss him - they are sooo huge its hard to tell from the pics but they really are massive

 
The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to tortoises ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of tortoises interact with one another and many of the older tortoises are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.

LONESOME GEORGE
This huge tortoise is the last known of his Pinta Island Tortoise species hence the name lonesome George he is estimated to be around 100 years old - they have tried to get him to mate with other female species but with no success.  There is apparently a reward of $10,000 for the discovery of a Pinta female!!  


 
WE DON'T WANT TO LEAVE
We wandered down the main street of Santa Cruz and found a hotel room no problem, back to Scuba Iguana and got our bags.  We grabbed a shower then headed out to meet out friends for dinner - since we were on "holiday" we had a super delicious steak dinner & some slightly cheaper beers - no chicken and rice to be seen haha

In bed for about 11pm absolutely utterly shattered from these last few days - up early tomorrow for our flight back to Quito and hopefully a bus to the Columbia border.

Our time here has been utterly amazing and just what we needed we have a new lease of life for travel and realised now we have only a month or so left and eeeeeeek we dont want to go home now well which is a far cry from how we felt a few weeks ago.

Galapagos is defo somewhere to come back to - the 8 day cruise I think would be ideal amount of time - we just cant believe our luck we got to come here and to finally see all those sharks its been truly one of the best decisions we made to come here and no regrets using our savings.
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Comments

Alissa on

Lonesome George, that would be a great band name!

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