Liveaboard At A Glance
The M/V Galapagos Master is a 32 metre vessel originally built in 2004. Formerly known as the Deep Blue, the yacht underwent a complete interior refit to the highest luxury standards in 2015, and now sails to some of the top dive sites in the Galapagos!
Welcoming a total of 16 divers on each liveaboard trip, the M/V Galapagos Master maximises safety and comfort for all guests on board with a spacious interior and large public areas. There are eight air-conditioned cabins spread across three decks with each cabin offering stunning views of the Galapagos archipelago.
Welcoming a total of 16 divers on each liveaboard trip, the M/V Galapagos Master maximises safety and comfort for all guests on board with a spacious interior and large public areas. There are eight air-conditioned cabins spread across three decks with each cabin offering stunning views of the Galapagos archipelago with the comfort of air conditioning. Each cabin has its own private en-suite bathroom with hot water, in-cabin entertainment and ample storage room for all of your personal belongings. For your added convenience and flexibility, the M/V Galapagos Master offers cabins that can be used either as a twin or as a double bedded room.
The communal areas include a spacious indoor lounge on the middle deck where you can unwind from your day's diving while looking at your underwater shots or watch your favourite movie on the plasma screen television. An array of tantalising meals are served in the indoor dining area and this is complimented by the adjacent cocktail bar. Photographers are catered for with an indoor camera set-up station, including multiple charging points (US round pin plug). There are also additional storage drawers to the aft of the vessel meaning that even photography charter groups will have no problem finding enough space for their equipment!
The M/V Galapagos Master's top sun-deck is a great place to soak up the sun while taking in the extraordinary landscape of the Galapagos. There is also a shaded area for those wanting to chill out on the cushioned lounge chairs and benches.
The steel vessel is steadier than most due to the fact that it has been designed to be lower to aid stability and speed. The boat has an official license to operate and organise diving activities in the Galapagos, issued by the Ecuadorian government and the National Institute of the Galapagos, ensuring you that they have passed all the safety tests as well as complying with the strict environmental rules of the park. With all the latest safety devices - GPS, VHF radios, satellite communication, two life rafts, emergency oxygen and AED - you will know you are travelling in total protection and safety.
Dive information is displayed on a large board which shows depth and marine life information.
Nitrox facilities are available at an extra charge and there are a range of courses including PADI Advanced Open Water, PADI Nitrox certification and Paul Humann Fish & Creature Identification.
A naturalist guide and a Galapagos National Park Guide will accompany each dive.
The diving in the Galapagos isn't for real beginner divers due to currents and depths being quite challenging at times. We recommend it for mid-level to advanced divers, especially for certain areas. You can expect visibility from 15 to 25 meters, however, in some areas and in some seasons due to the richness of plankton visibililty can be reduced.
Lying on the Equator 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, these historic islands are swept by cold water currents from Antarctica and the warm waters of the tropics, which provide a stunning range of extraordinary diving encounters in a unique environment where cold and warm water species coexist. During dives, it is not uncommon to spot sea lions, turtles, hammerhead sharks, whitetip sharks, manta rays, Galapagos sharks and huge schools of eagle rays. There are more than 300 species of fish in the Galapagos, 17% of which are endemic to the islands. Big schools barracuda, tuna, rainbow wrasse, Pacific Seahorses, Red-lipped Batfish, Frogfish and much more can be seen on many dives. There is also the possibility of seeing whales, whale sharks, dolphins and large schools of hammerhead sharks.
Water temperatures range from 21 - 31 degrees c between December and May when manta are at their most prevalent. The temperatures drop to an average 16 - 24 degrees between June and November bringing plenty of plankton along the Humboldt Current which is the best time to see whale sharks and other large species.
Schedule & Itinerary
The itinerary below is an example only and is subject to change depending on local regulations, guests' experience, flight schedules, weather & logistics and is at the Captain's discretion. Currently, each week the itinerary includes the same islands. The order of the island visits, however, is dictated by the Galapagos National Park and may vary weekly.
The diving day aboard the M/V Galapagos Master has a typical schedule as follows:-
Light Breakfast followed by a briefing & Dive 1
Full Breakfast, relaxation period, briefing & Dive 2
Lunch, relaxation period, briefing & Dive 3
Snack, relaxation period, briefing & Dive 4, where possible
To allow our guests to explore the Galapagos to its fullest, on days 2 and 7, dives 3 & 4 will be substituted by an island visit. Prior to your flight home, you may also opt to visit the Interpretation Center on San Cristobal Island.
San Cristobal Island
After boarding at San Cristobal the Galapagos Master cruises to Isla Lobos for your check out dive. The sheltered bay provides an excellent shallow spot, at a max depth of 9m (30ft), in which to check your dive gear but also become acquainted with some of the local marine life. Sea lions playfully interact with divers, whilst sightings of turtles and rays are also common. Sea iguanas may be spotted too.
Santa Cruz Island
Punta Carrion - This boulder strewn reef provides a superb introduction to some of the larger pelagics we expect to see in the Galapagos, including white tip reef sharks but also the occasional hammerhead and Galapagos shark. Sea lions are ever-present and there is the opportunity for some macro critter spotting with sightings of neon nudibranchs. The wall has an average depth of 15m (50ft) and mild- medium current is to be expected.
Seymour North - Situated off the northern tip of Baltra Island, this site provides a stunning drift with sightings of white tip reef sharks, turtles, eagle rays and moray eels. Average depth 18m (60ft) medium current is to be expected.
Mosqueras - Lying in between Baltra and N. Seymour islands, this white sandy islet is not only home to a sea lion colony but supports a myriad of marine life from manta rays and bonitos to Peruvian grunts and fields of garden eels, whilst occasional schools of hammerhead sharks may be seen here. Average depth 20m (70ft) with a typically mild current expected.
Named after the German geologist, Theodor Wolf, this extinct volcano reaches 253m (780ft) above sea level and lies some 160km (100 miles) northwest of Isabela Island. Land visits are not permitted however bird life, including red-footed boobys and vampire finch, may be spotted from the boat.
For our dives here we choose from a selection of reefs and walls, most having typically medium to strong currents where the use of gloves and reef hooks is advised. Schooling pelagics are the main draw with sightings of hammerheads, white tips and Galapagos sharks at each site. During the season (May - November) whale sharks may also be seen here. Divers should also be on the lookout for red-lipped batfish, barracudas, moray eels and dolphins!
El Durrumbe (the Landslide) - Average depth 20m (70ft).
La Ventana (the Window) - Shallow lagoon leads down to a pinnacle and then out along the reef wall - average depth 15m (50ft).
La Banana - Wall dive with an average depth of 9m (30ft) - can have strong currents.
Punta Shark Bay - Reef dive with an average depth of 20m (70ft), typically good visibility, however care must be taken in the shallow water where waves crash up against the reef.
Anchorage - The reef, with typically very mild current, provides a good spot for a sunset dive, average depth 18m (60ft).
Hat Island - Another spot with milder current, this reef provides sightings of numerous colourful fish species, average depth 20m (70ft).
Pinaculos (The Pinnacle) - Known for its strong currents and speedy drift along the reef at an average depth of 20m (70ft), the site is excellent for shark spotting and the many cracks & crevices in the wall provide extra interest.
This extinct volcano reaching 165m (490ft) above sea level was named in honour of naturalist Charles Darwin. It is amongst the smallest island within the Galapagos Archipelago and like Wolf Island, no land visits are permitted.
Perhaps the most famed dive site is "Darwin's Arch" which provides an amazing drift dive along the wall at an average depth of just 9m. Medium to strong currents are to be expected but bring with them hammerheads, black tips, silky and Galapagos sharks - and in large numbers! Schools of jacks are a common sight, along with turtles, angelfish and moray eels. Occasional sightings of tiger sharks, manta rays and bottle nose dolphins make for a thrilling time spent here. Whale sharks may also be seen between May - November.
Douglas Cape - Situated on the northwest point of Fernandina Island, this wall dive, with an average depth of 20m (70ft), offers something truly spectacular and is now famed for the feeding marine iguanas that congregate here along with sea lions, fur seals and speedy penguins!
Punta Vicente Roca - Alternatively known as "The Ice Box", due to its chilling thermoclines, this point off the Northwest coast of Isabela Island offers a wall drift dive, along which mola mola can be spotted. The occasional Port Jackson shark may also be seen as well as the endemic Camotillo (White spotted sand bass). Yet Punta Vicente Roca is not just for the larger marine life but is also a fantastic place to spot pacific seahorses, frogfish, octopus, nudibranchs, flat worms and a variety of sponges. We stick to a maximum depth of 30m (100ft) with an average of 18m (60ft) whilst enjoying some milder currents!
Punta Albermale - Drifting along this wall on the north of Isabela Island, we stay at an average depth of 25m (85ft) to see manta rays, hammerheads, turtles, schools of barracuda and tuna. Roca Redonda - This underwater volcano, with its bubbling streams of natural gas (fumaroles) plays home to schools hammerheads sharks and barracuda. Other commonly sighted marine life include Galapagos sharks which typically come close to divers during safety stops, as well as manta rays, silky sharks and some beautiful green/blue nudibranchs. With typically strong, changeable currents and some down currents, the diving here is challenging, though with an average depth of 18m (60ft).
Cabo Marshall - The craggy volcanic walls are covered with black coral bushes and the sheer variety of marine life is astounding. Sightings of manta, mobula and cownose rays are to be expected during the warm season (November - May). Meanwhile shark varieties include scalloped hammerhead, Galapagos and white tips. Schools of chevron barracuda and black striped salema are regular visitors along with yellowfin tuna and big eye jacks. And let's not forget the sea lions and turtles!
Tagos Cove - On the west side of Isabela Island, opposite Fernandina Island, this shallow reef is an excellent late afternoon dive, where we have the opportunity to find seahorses, frogfish and long nosed hawk fish.
Cousin's Rock - One of the most photographically productive dives of the region, Cousin's Rock is formed of coral covered rock and lava flow. Sea fans, hydroid bushes, red sponges and small hard corals encrust ledges and overhangs, sheltering hawkfish, nudibranchs, frogfish and seahorses. Plenty of larger visitors are also seen including giant manta and mobula rays, spotted eagle rays and hammerhead sharks. The wall drops beyond 30m (100ft) but rises up shallow to just 3m (10ft) providing an ideal spot to end your dive playing with the sea lions.
For trips to the Galapagos Islands we recommend you fly into Guayaquil in Ecuador
There are several flight options connecting via the States or Europe. For travel via the States a generous connection time should be allowed to clear security and customs.
We recommend that you spend a night in Ecuador either side of your Liveaboard trip it’s then a short domestic flight to the Galapagos Islands to board the Galapagos Master.
* Extras - Galapagos dive permit US$ 100, Chamber fee US$ 35 and visitor card US$ 10. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
Early morning departure from the UK travel, via Amsterdam to Guayaquil arriving in the afternoon.
Transfer to Grand Hotel for 1 night
Morning flight to Galapagos Islands and board Galapagos Master with afternoon check dive
Full dive program of up to 4 dives per day including Darwin & Wolf
Disembark Galapagos Master for morning land tour then transfer for afternoon flight to Guayaquil.
Transfer to Grand Hotel for 1 night
Depart Grand Hotel and transfer back to Guayaquil airport to check-in for your return international flight via Amsterdam
Afternoon arrival to the UK
1 night Grand Hotel Guayaquil & 7 nights Galapagos Master & 1 night Grand Hotel Guayaquil from £4273 per person plus £492 departure taxes
Price includes return international flights to Guayaquil from the UK.
In Guayaquil it includes transfers and 2 separate nights' accommodation at the Grand Hotel staying in a twin/double standard room with a bed and breakfast meal plan.
For Galapagos Master it includes all transfers and 7 nights accommodation sharing a twin/double cabin, all meals, snacks, hot drinks, tanks and weights, full dive program of up to 4 dives per day, services of crew and guides plus land visits.
With daily flights there is complete flexibility in your itinerary should you wish to extend your stay in either the Galapagos or Ecuador. Please ask our experienced sales team for other recommendations and prices.