And the countdown continues with Number 9 on my list, The Galapagos Islands– this is another of those sites that appears on every divers bucket list and I am sure it is probably on yours – the question is why?
Why wouldn’t you want to see and dive the place that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Following his visit there in 1835 this was the place that started it all.
As described by the Lonely Planet – “The Galápagos Islands may just inspire you to think differently about the world. The creatures that call the islands home, many found nowhere else in the world, act as if humans are nothing more than slightly annoying paparazzi.
This is not the Bahamas and these aren’t typical tropical paradises; in fact, most of the islands are devoid of vegetation and some look more like the moon than Hawaii. However, more humans live here than is commonly assumed, and there’s a surprising level of development in the islands’ towns, mostly geared toward the thriving tourism industry.
This isolated group of volcanic islands and its fragile ecosystem has taken on almost mythological status as a showcase of biodiversity. Yet you don’t have to be an evolutionary biologist or an ornithologist to appreciate one of the few places left on the planet where the human footprint is kept to a minimum.” Read more at the Lonely Planet website.
The reason that it is on my list is that it is one of the few (the only dive destination) destinations left where we can experience really unique, exotic and diverse natural wonders – the other I guess are the Amazon and Madagascar.
The Galapagos Islands are a small archipelago in the Pacific Ocean and is a province of Ecuador. It is about 1,000km off its mainland coast making it an extremely isolated environment and protects the integrity of the species that are native. It is about 8,000 km2 in size and surprisingly has a population of around 25,000
Diving in the Galapagos is certainly different but not for the faint hearted and inexperienced diver. It is always rated in the top 10 most difficult recreational dive destinations in the world due to strong currents, varying visibility and extreme surge it can prove challenging.
The Galapagos Islands were chosen by Rodale’s Scuba Diving as the world’s top all around dive site for the year 2000. The Islands were also chosen for the top spot in “Best Fish Life”, “Best Big Animal Dive”, “Best Advanced Diving” and scored among the top as the “Healthiest Marine Environment”, and “Best Value” – Impressive credentials I would say.
The dive Fauna is extreme as well and ranges from penguins (in equatorial waters??) , four-eyed fish and iguanas feeding underwater on the algae. The sharks are plentiful and timid but not dangerous. Sea life is abundant and extreme. Where else can you experience such unique diversity.
The only downside is that due to location it can be a little expensive but worth every penny.
Blog post provided by John Anderson (5,000+ dives, NAUI Instructor Trainer, Diving since 1984)
Photos courtesy Galapagos Tourism (Galapagos.com), Information courtesy Lonely Planer and Galapagos Tourism.