Galapagos Aggressor

Award-winning liveaboard diveboats Galapagos Aggressor I and Galapagos Aggressor II offer the ultimate eco-dive vacation to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. This is not your typical Caribbean vacation. Every Thursday afternoon these sister ships depart from San Cristobal and transport guests to their first scuba diving adventure of the week. Diving opportunities last through the following Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, you will board a bus for a land tour to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island to spend the day seeing tortoises, pit craters, the Scalesia Forest, and taking in other local activities such as visiting the Fausto Llerena tortoise breeding center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Once you’re on board, this is nearly an all inclusive vacation. How does a vacation resort on the water sound?

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, some 605 miles (973 km) off the west coast of Ecuador in South America. The Galapagos consist of 18 main islands and more than one hundred islets and rock formations. These remote, isolated islands are world-renowned for their unique wildlife, and served as inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. The Archipelago is home to diverse marine life and bird species, all of which are readily visible to visitors to the islands. The Islands are very popular with natural historians, nature lovers, and divers alike.

In 1959, Ecuador declared the Galapagos Islands a National Park. In 1986, the islands’ surrounding waters were declared a Marine Reserve. This reserve was extended to 40 miles (64 km) in 1998 and industrial fishing was banned. Ecuador, through its sustainable eco-tourism and fishing policy, actively contributes to the conservation of the Galapagos’ land and marine life as a living science laboratory. In order to protect the natural habitats, all visitors to the Galapagos Islands must be accompanied by certified national park naturalist tour guides.

The Galapagos Aggressor I & II scuba dive programs are designed for certified intermediate and advanced divers. Before making your first dive, you must provide proof of certification to the boat’s divemaster. Both air and water temperatures in the Galapagos can range from 70° to 82°F (21°-28°C) between December and May, and from 60° to 75°F (16°-24°C) between June and November, when a steady, cold wind can blow from the south and southeast. There is usually no wind during the sunny, warmer months although there are occasional strong rains. For this reason, it is recommended that divers wear a 5-7mm wetsuit with hood and gloves year round.

Diving highlights of your liveaboard vacation on the Belize Aggressor dive boats include up to three dives daily at the various dive sites of Wolf Island, Darwin Island, Cousins Rock, and Bartolome Island. In addition to unmatched scuba diving and eco-touring, guests aboard the Galapagos Aggressor I & II dive boats will enjoy luxury accommodations and delicious meals as part of their vacation package.

Wolf Island sits approximately 62 miles (100 km) northwest of the main Galapagos Island chain. Dive depths range from 40 to 90 feet (12-27m) and the current is 1-3 knots. Divers will enjoy seeing the schools of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Manta Rays, Galapagos Sharks, Eagle Rays, Golden Rays, Green Turtles, Sea Lions, and Fur Seals that populate the waters around Wolf Island. Additionally, this island is home to colonies of Red-footed and Masked Boobies, Marine Iguanas, Frigatebirds, and Swallow-tailed Gulls.

Emerging vertically from the ocean, the dive site of Darwin Island, named in honor of Charles Darwin, presents a 40-90 foot (12-27m) dive with a 1-3 knot current. The waters around this island teem with an amazing variety of marine life. Divers will see schools of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, Manta Rays, Eagle Rays, Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, and Whale Sharks.

Cousin’s Rock, with its combination of coral-covered rocks and large variety of tropical fish, also offers opportunities to see large animals such as Sea Lions. This triangular-shaped rock rises approximately 33 feet (10m) out of the water and provides diving opportunities from 16 to 90 feet (5-27m) with moderate currents. The wall and slopes of the rock provide ledges that house Black Corals, Sea Fans, and Red Sponges. Scuba divers will also see Hawkfish, Frogfish, Galapagos Sea Horses, Green Sea Turtles, and Octopuses. The waters around Cousin’s Rock also contain Manta Rays, Hammerhead Sharks, Reef Sharks, and schools of Barracuda.

Pinnacle Rock at Bartolome Island is one of the most-recognized and photographed sights in the Galapagos Islands. Barren and desolate, there is little vegetation on this island, but the northern beach provides snorkelers with the opportunity to swim with Sea Lions and Galapagos Penguins. Divers in the area of the southern beach will see Spotted Eagle Rays, and White-tipped and Black-tipped Sharks. Seasonally, Green Sea Turtles mate and nest in the area of Bartolome Island, with peak mating occurring between the months of November and January.

Depending on the season, other dive sites include Punta Vicente Roca or Roca Redonda, and Cabo Marshall or Cowley Island. Punta Vicente Roca is a large bay comprised of two separate coves and offers snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. Divers will see spectacular marine life here, including Sea Horses, Sea Turtles, and Molamola. Penguins, Blue-footed Boobies, Terns, and Sea Lions are also present. Cabo Marshall, with its depths to more than 120 feet (37m) and moderate to strong currents, offers both reef and wall diving. Divers will see such marine life as Hammerhead Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, and Giant Mantas. Also present in these waters are Pacific Boxfish, Yellowtail Sturgeon, Grunts, Big Eye Jacks, and large schools of Barracuda and Black Striped Salema Fish.

The Galapagos Aggressor I & II liveaboard dive boats are ISO-certified, meeting the International Standards Organization’s guidelines for quality assurance, safety, reliability, and their crews’ commitment to operating in as environmentally-friendly a manner as possible.