Galapagos – Day 2-4: Santa Cruz and Diving
We had arranged to spend three days in the Galapagos before our cruise started so that I could do some diving at the local sites around Santa Cruz.
I was booked to dive with Scuba Iguana which is one of the two bigger dive centres on the island. We had to meet at 7.20 in the morning in order to have time to get out to the sites.
Of the three days I dived with Scuba Iguana only 1 day did we leave in the boat from the dive centre, the other two we drove across to the Itabaca Channel where the boat was parked overnight.
The diving was good but not fantastic particularly as the visibility on the first two days was fairly limited. However when you could peer through the gloom there was a lot of big stuff swimming around.
On the first day we dove at Gordon’s Rocks which is an extinct caldera where two peaks stick up above the water with a 35m or so deep bowl between them. We saw a number of scalloped hammerheads circling this bowl.
On the second day we dived at Mosquera and North Seymour which are just North of Baltra. Here the visibility was a bit better but still not great. There were a large number of whitetip sharks in this area.
The third day had the clearest water by far when we dived at Bartolome and Cousins Rock both very small islands (really just rocks) off the island of Santiago. Here we also had the fortune of diving with some sealion pups which is always a pleasure.
The diving ended fairly early in the day, depending on how far away the sites were, as there were only two dives per day and this meant that we could explore a bit in the afternoon. We went to the Charles Darwin Research Centre on one afternoon and saw the many tortoises that they have in captivity here (for breeding purposes of course).
Another afternoon we headed off to a small beach only accessible by water taxi from the main harbour. There is also a trail here which leads to a small canyon containing fresh water. This is called Las Greitas. Here we saw local boys jumping more than 25m from the walls of the canyon.
The small town of Puerto Ayorta has a number of bars and restaurants and gets quite busy at night. Our favourite restaurant was called Isla Grill and we had a fantastic meal here of a mixed grill of seafood and meat.
In Puerto Ayora there is a small fisherman’s dock. Each day the fishermen would cut up their catch of the day here and this attracted both pelicans and sealions. One particular sealion was a bit cheeky and was always trying to steal some fish !