With reports of better visibility, we each plunked down another $120 for one more shot at the famed Galapagos diving we have heard so much about. Tuesday April 20th at 8:30am, the Isabella Dive Center dive boat picked us up right from Tahina, and we headed over to Isla Tortuga, a large atoll-shaped island that is made of compressed volcanic ash. On the way to Isla Tortuga the captain spotted a manta ray and veered over for a closer look. The manta was at least 6′ across, maybe bigger. It was swimming close enough to the surface that its wing tips would come out of the water. The morning light made it difficult to catch the moment on camera, but it was a great sight in person for sure.
Upon arriving at the dive location, we suited up, jumped in and were pleasantly surprised to find about 60′ of visibility! The prospect of being able to see the famed Galapagos sea life in relatively clear water was exciting. We found a few eels and some interesting reef life, and we were soon met by a few sea turtles. Around another turn in the reef wall, we ran into a school of several hundred small barracuda. Wow, what a sight! Everyone came up from the dive chattering about all the marine life and great pictures.
The divemaster said there was more of a chance to see bigger marine life (read, hammerhead sharks, schools of rays, etc.) on the second dive. He did not disappoint. Only a few minutes into the dive we came around a corner, and there were 3-4 hammerhead sharks, a galapagos shark and several sea turtles. Shutters were clicking wildly, but the hammerheads were keeping their distance, and most of the photos couldn’t really capture what we saw underwater. Let me tell you though, the dive was spectacular.
We also encountered two schools of eagle rays (photos are better), a large school of pompano, the usual curious sea lion, large puffers, several eels, and the more ordinary parrot fish, trumpet fish, etc. This dive was truly worth the price of admission. We will all be talking about it for a long time to come.