Into the Blue on the Deep Blue

Trip Start May 20, 2010
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144
195
Trip End Sep 05, 2011


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Where I stayed
Deep Blue Liveabaord

Flag of Ecuador  , Galapagos Islands,
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DOMINIQUE HERE:

Day : 334
Temperature : 30 degrees
Weather : Sunny and Rainy

We boarded the Deep Blue yesterday afternoon from San Cristobal and were met with Solon and Max our diving guides. Once we were all introduced to each other and were allocated our rooms we were given a briefing on the boat and then we set up our diving equipment for the week. The Deep Blue is a large, spacious boat with plenty of areas to relax both inside and outside. It was especially nice to find several sun loungers with big soft cushions on them....not that we really had much time to relax on them anyway! The boat also has a huge diving platform with loads of room for equipment and people which meant that there was no jostling for space, something that is really important when kitting up.

Amongst the other passengers were Ben from England, Gord from Canada, Tom and Sara from England, Sandra and Gaes from Germany / Holland, Pete and Tania from the US, Dmetri and Itay from Isreal, and finally Joleen and Sharon from the Philippines. A real mix of nationalities.

Once everybody was settled we were given a briefing on diving procedures and then we performed our check dive in the harbour at San Cristobal. It was planned for us to do our check dive at Islas Lobos, but goodness knows what is going on with the park regulations at the moment, because our itinerary has been changed twice since booking the trip several weeks ago. It was disappointing to be doing a check dive in the harbour, especially since the visibility was oooh, about 30cm in the first 3 metres of water! When we reached the sandy bottom at the great depth of 7m the visibility had improved to about 3-5m. The only redeeming factor for this dive was the sea lion which buzzed us several times during the dive, but due to the visibilty being pants and the fact that the sea lions swim so fast, by the time you had seen him he was already gone!

Once back out of the water we were served up a delicious meal by Washington. The food was excellent, and as any diver knows, food is so important on a liveaboard....as hungry divers are known to devour everything infront of them!

The following day we had arrived in the channel between Santa Cruz and Baltra for our two dives that day. Once kitted up with our equipment the procedure went as follows....we handed our fins to one of the boys on the boat and we were helped down into the zodiac by the dive guides. Once the zodiac was filled with divers, either Christian or Xavier (zodiac drivers) sped us away to the dive sites, normally about 5-10 minutes away. Once at the dive site and everybody was ready we backward rolled into the water together, normally doing a negative entry (basically meaning you negatively bouyant having no air in your jacket and sink) and we descended quickly to about 10 metres where we would wait until everybody was together and ok to continue. Meanwhile, Xavier and Christian in the zodiacs above would skillfully watch and track the bubbles on the surface so that they would always know where the divers would be...they soon became known as "the bubble chasers". This way, after every dive, the zodiacs would never be far away....unless you got caught in a washing machine current and got swept away, but that is for another day!

The two dives at Santa Cruz and Baltra were not the most exciting of dives. This was yet another change to our itinerary and I am sure there are far better quality of dives around the area. But, we were informed that the company has no argument against the national park who issues dive sites to the boats...hmmm. Nevertheless, at one point we had 5-6 large white tip reef sharks circling us, we saw plenty of turtles, a huge sting ray, a couple of hammerheads and a small group of eagle rays in the distance.

And so, by the end of our second day on the Deep Blue we were all looking forward to the highlight of the week...arriving at Darwin and Wolf. We headed north just in time for the most spectacular sunset as we passed Bartolome. Ahead of us the clouds turned blazing orange and pink as the giant frigate birds soared above the boat, or landed just feet away from us to have a rest. Behind us was the largest, most perfect rainbow I have ever seen. We all stood in awe at the clouds, the rainbow and the frigate birds...it was incredible.



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