The 16-passenger Humboldt Explorer Galapagos Islands liveaboard provides eight air-conditioned rooms located on the main and lower decks; each has a private bathroom, flat-screen television, and ocean view. All rooms except rooms 3 & 4 (forward below deck) can be converted to either one queen bed or two twin beds. The yacht features a partially covered sun deck with a hot tub and ample seating, a salon area with dining, a bar, and an entertainment area.
The large dive deck includes a bathroom, a large camera table with a charging station, individual storage areas, rinse bins for cameras, and another for gear. Diving operations are conducted from two large pangas (tenders), easily boarded from the dive deck.
TECHNICAL AND SAFETY FEATURES
- Registry: Pto Baquerizo Moreno, Galapagos Islands
- Length overall: 111.5 ft (34 meters)
- Beam: 21.3 ft (6.5 meters)
- Draft: 8.2 ft (2.5 meters)
- Tonnage: 169 ITC
- Main engines: Detroit Diesel 6V92, 350 hp
- Generators: 2x Perkins 73 kw
- Maximum Speed: 10 knots
- Fuel Capacity: 5,300 gallons (20,000 liters)
- Range: 1,800 nm
The Sun Deck features a large lounge area, the partially covered sun deck and a hot tub with ample seating.
The Main Deck features two guest cabins, 1 & 2, each with private bath and shower, 1 queen or 2 twin beds, television, ample storage and provides guests with an ocean view; the dining area and large dive deck.
The Lower Deck comprises six cabins, 3-8, each with private bath and shower, television, window and ample storage. Cabins 3 & 4 have twin beds only. Cabins 5,6,7 & 8 have 2 twin beds or 1 queen bed.
- Accommodations: 16 passengers in 8 air-conditioned rooms on main and lower decks, all with private bathrooms and showers. All rooms except rooms 3 & 4 (forward below deck) can be converted to either one queen bed or two twin beds. Up to 7 crew and 2 guides in crews' quarters.
- Safety Equipment: Life rafts (2), life rings/strobes, life vests/strobes, emergency position locator, flares, oxygen and first aid equipment
- Air Systems:2 electric Bauer compressors with nitrox membrane, producing 32% nitrox, bank storage
- Tenders: Rigid hull inflatables (2), used for passenger transport and diver pickup
- Accessories: Diving Equipment
One of the most challenging aspects of diving in the Galapagos is dealing with currents that can be too strong to swim against (2 to 4 knots at times). Overall, expect that currents will be moderate to strong. At most dive sites, the strength of currents is constantly changing, sometimes in the middle of the dive.
Because there are currents throughout the islands, and dives usually follow the flow of the current, most dives in the Galapagos are considered drift dives.
Whenever current or swells are present, expect to find a surge in the shallow areas. After surfacing at the end of the dive, swim away from the island of rocks, out toward the blue so the dinghy can reach you easily, without worrying about being pushed onto the rocks by the surge.
Although there can be 30m (100ft) visibility in the Galapagos, more often it is in the 10-21m (30-70ft) range.
Most dive profiles are in the range of 6-24m (20-80ft), although depths at most sites easily reach or exceed 40m (130ft). However, the greatest variety of life and activity is normally between the surface and 18m (60ft), so there is no need to dive deep in the Galapagos. The only time this general rule changes is during El Niño years when hammerheads and other sharks stay deeper, following their food sources and avoiding warmer water at shallower depths.
Surface water temperature ranges from from18-25°C (64-77°F). In contrast, temperatures at depth can drop to 13°C (56°F) and thermoclines (generally occurring between depths of 12-18m (40-60ft) can result in a sudden drop in temperature by as much as 6-9°C within a few feet. You will frequently feel these changes in water temperature as you pass through upwelling of the deep ocean currents during a dive.
Wetsuits / Drysuits
Layering is the best plan for diving in the Galapagos. 7 mm wetsuit with a lightweight hood, booties, and gloves is a good option or a dry suit with a full 5 mm hood will keep most divers warm and toasty.
The social areas have ample spaces to spend time and relax, whether enjoying a glass of good wine.