Sport Diver Magazine interview:
Kids Sea Camp Chosen Best Family Vacation by The Travel Channel.
Alert Diver: Jan/2015
A profile of Margo Peyton see more:
Class of 2014 Kids Sea Camp Scholarships:
Kids Sea Camp Class of 2014
Kids Sea Camp proudly presents within our Class of 2014
Attaining the highest level of certification to date:
Congratulations to Grant Smith and Robbie Chornlesky PADI OWSI Instructors!
Congratulations Class of 2014 PADI Divemaster’s: Jen Peyton, Addie Benz, Brandon Rustin, Josh Comay, and Ryan Seltz. Congratulations to our new PADI Master Scuba Diver’s: Nate Comay, Melea Comay, Addie Benz, Jen Peyton, Holly Kyle and Josh Comay!
Rescue Diver’s : Melea Comay, Nate Comay, Annalise Saponara, John C Saponara Jr., Maia Danks, Bridget Ameo, Robert Ameo, Michael Hensley, Holly Kyle, Max Lavinsky, Robert Lavinsky, and Scott Shurtz.
Newsroom alert: Scholastic Parent and Child news:
The family dream trip: Kids Sea Camp at Cobalt Coast and Divetech
SCHOLASTIC PARENT & CHILD has featured the Cayman Islands’ Kids Sea Camp, touting the experience as a dream trip for budding oceanographers. Highlighting the clear waters and family-friendly activities of Cayman, the piece also mentions the Cobalt Coast Dive Resort and Stingray City.
Margo’s interview with the Cayman compass newspaper in Grand Cayman
Kids Sea Camp news alert!
On July 11th, Margo Peyton, owner of Kids Sea Camp and Family Dive Adventures had back surgery. Well-known for her high energy work ethic and passion for the ocean there were moments of doubt she would dive again. In fact, before surgery on her trip with KIds Sea Camp to Yap and Palau she dove every dive she could, because of her fear each dive maybe her last. Her fears would be unfounded.
Today, July 31st, a mere three weeks since surgery this remarkable women has been cleared by to dive! The elated Margo was all smiles as she walked to the car with her husband, Tom Peyton.
“I’m looking forward to Utila, yoga on the beach, swimming with dolphins, doing the Zombie certification and learning new underwater seasigns.” Margo said at her office in Columbia, South Carolina.
“I also want to thank all the Facebook messages, the cards and letters from so many the Kids Sea Camp families,” Margo added, “It was quite overwhelming to know how many and how much people cared.”
Kids Sea Camp: St. Vincent, Costa Rica, Utila, Palau and Yap slideshow: Margo’s trip to 5 cities including Koror was created with TripAdvisor TripWow!
Sport Diver Magazine Kids Sea Camp Survey:
We are the Fiest Family. I am Andy, my husband is Tom. Our son, Max, is 16 years old and our daughter Carly is 13 years old. We live in Central Jersey. Our first Kids Sea Camp Adventure was eight years ago. We have taken at least one trip a year with Kids Sea Camp, sometimes two, since that time. It is safe to say that Kids Sea Camp is a vital part of our lives and we hope that circumstance will never change.
Question #1: Why did you choose Kids Sea Camp for your family?
My husband, Tom, got his diver’s certification about 9 years ago. He went to the Bahamas for a diving trip with friends of ours, but I didn’t join him since I was not a diver and the trip he went on was not “kid-friendly.” When he came home, he told me that he wanted to dive but if we could not travel as a family to do so that he would give up diving. That’s when I started my search for a family diving vacation. For the longest time, I could find nothing that suited our needs. Tom needed to be able to dive with other adults while our children needed to be taught the sport. Finally, I saw an ad for Kids Sea Camp in a PADI Magazine and instantly our dilemma was solved. Kids Sea Camp provided what each one of us needed.
Question #2: What brings you back again and again to Kids Sea Camp?
There are so many wonderful reasons why we keep returning to Kids Sea Camp that it is hard to categorize all of them, but I will do my best. When it comes to a diving vacation, I feel the most important priority must be safety. Margo does incredible research before selecting any destination. She selects only the sights with the BEST dive shops from the perspective of instruction, safety and supervision. With respect to the kids, the ratio of instructors to children is unusually high. All the instructors are super vigilant and truly enjoy kids. Margo personally sees to that and supervises all week to make sure her standards are met. Also Margo chooses destinations that have decompression chambers and proper medical facilities.
Second, Margo’s program is geared not only to teach diving but to educate both the children and the adults about marine life. Her love for the ocean is infectious and I so appreciate the emphasis her vacations have both on the indigenous cultures and on ecology. She is literally educating the conservationists of tomorrow. It’s just amazing to see the kids “dive” into the world of the ocean. They love sea life because they are not afraid of it. By learning to dive at such an early age, they feel confident underwater. With their fears and inhibitions gone, they are literally free to explore, Think of how liberating that must feel from their perspective. Though the program cultivates this sense of adventure it is never at the expense of safety. These children learn to be responsible divers first and foremost.
Third, Margo has taken our family to wonderful destinations that we would not have otherwise gone, such as, Fiji, Bonaire and Galapagos. We have traveled the globe because of her adventurous spirit and are grateful for the opportunity. It’s nice to be pushed out of the ordinary, especially when your children are young. Really, how many times can you go to Disney world. Frankly, once was enough for my lifetime.
Fourth and most important, Margo and her family, Tom, her husband, and her children Rob and Jenny are truly the nicest people we have met. We love to spend time with them and as the saying goes, “Good people attract good people.” I still can’t believe how much I enjoy going on Kids Sea Camp vacations considering that I spent most of my adult life avoiding group vacations. But, Kids Sea Camp is the one exception. No matter what your background, guests at Kids Sea Camp instantly have two things in common: diving and the desire to spend quality time with their kids. We have met people from all over the world and each trip has been exceptional. It’s amazing how friendly everyone is. In fact, Margo, Tom and I have talked about it many times, there is some kind of “Kids Sea Camp Magic” that makes these trips so relaxed. That magic is one of the reasons that our kids are also having such a great time. The kids gel so quickly. They make friends, we make friends and at the end of the day, we are together as a family again. It’s a great mix.
Question #3: What effect has diving together had on your family?
As I explained, I am the non-diver of our family. But, I can tell you, that my husband is absolutely thrilled to be able to dive with our children. Over the years, it truly has become one of the highlights of his life. My husband, Tom, works incredibly hard and often doesn’t come home until the kids are sleeping. Since I spend so much time with our children, he enjoys having something special to do with them that is unique to him. Tom and the kids talk about diving all year long. The topics are endless: diving, the equipment, fish, conservation. Without question, it has made Tom closer to our children. From my perspective, I love watching their interaction. Being together at Kids Sea Camp away from all the hassles of everyday life gives all of us a chance to have fun with each other. It’s a great bonding experience, as overused as that term is, in this context it really is meaningful.
Question #4: What effect has diving had on your children’s development?
Last March, my daughter Carly was a Bat Mitzvah. We invited the Peyton family to the ceremony and reception and were so pleased that Margo and Tom were able to join us. Carly really wanted them to come since she wanted to show them just how much learning how to dive has changed her life. There is a tradition at the Bat Mitzvah party where the Bat Mitzvah child lights the candles on her cake and dedicates each one to a person very special in her life. “Receiving a candle” is considered quite an honor. Carly dedicated a candle to Margo and Tom. She explained to them that learning how to dive has given her so much self-confidence. Whenever she tries new endeavors, like studying Hebrew for her Bat Mitzvah, she calls on that confidence to reinforce her. She knows that with hard work she can master anything, after all at eleven years old she was diving in the Galapagos and doing outstandingly well.
The same is true of my son, Max. He always talks about they way in which diving has made him feel empowered to try new things and to keep at them. There is a tremendous sense of accomplishment that learning how to dive gave him and it is a confidence that translates into many other challenges in his life.
As a parent, I believe that diving has changed my children’s lives. So many times, people have commented on my children’s “quiet confidence.” Being able to master diving, has given them an unwavering faith in their own abilities, an inner strength that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
Question #5: What’s your family best Kids Sea Camp memory?
I will defer to my children for this question, but from my perspective, nothing can beat being on our dive boat in the Galapagos. It was unbelievable. We loved the land excursions with the sea lions. Max, Carly and I sat next to a mother sea lion and just talked and talked to her. She seemed so entertained and engaged with us that we kept going. It was magical.
Question #6: What is the Kids Sea Camp experience like for a family that includes a non-diver?
I am proud to say that 8 years ago, I believe that I was Margo’s first non-diving partner. Since that time, our ranks have grown. It is a WONDERFUL vacation for a non-diver. There are so many different options. My favorite is having a few hours to myself. Seriously, the kids are off and happy, my husband is communing with the fish and I can relax. Yes, relax! Read a book, take a swim, shop for MYSELF! It’s a rare treat. Honestly, everyone is entertained and you don’t have to do it. That’s worth the price of admission for me.
But, if rest and relaxation is not your thing, there are always things to do either with the group or on land. Often I snorkel where the kids and Tom are diving. Most islands have a lot of things to see. Usually there are land excursions, trips to town, botanical gardens, turtle farms. You will be as busy as you want. Margo will help you do whatever you’d like. Also, the non-divers find each other quickly and I have never been at a loss for company.
Question #7: What advice would you give other parents on how to know when your kid is ready to dive?
The truth is the kids are always ready to dive. The question is are the parents ready to let them do it? I doubt you could find a mom who is more type “A” than me, and initially I did find it difficult to let the kids be part of the diving program. If it wasn’t for their father, they would never have become divers. But early on I realized that the kids were fine. I was the problem. They were not nervous. They had a lot more common sense than I gave them credit for and they stayed calm as long as I stayed calm. So, I made the ultimate sacrifice and got out of their way. I trust Margo and her staff completely. It was time for the professionals to take over. So, I let them.
Like most parents, my first instinct is always to protect my children and shield them from “danger,” but I’ve learned that the best way to protect them is to prepare them. With guidance from me and my husband, we try (as best we can) to let them learn how much they are capable of doing for themselves. It’s empowering. Self-reliance is an important key to overall happiness. Learning to dive gives your child an incredible head start on that journey. It’s rare that you can let someone, other than yourself, play such an important role in your children’s lives. But Kids Sea Camp does provide that opportunity. It would be foolish not to take advantage of it.
Dive News March 2012: Cayman Islands by Margo Peyton
Family Divers – Press Room
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For the active and slightly adventurous, scuba diving can be the ticket. Resorts and related programs increasingly offer both diving for adults and lessons for children. It’s an excellent and painless — if not inexpensive — way to teach kids to have a love of the ocean and an active, engaged life. And with luck, you’ll instill in them a passion that will make them want to take vacations with their old parents for decades to come.
Kids Sea Camp is one such planned vacation, offering programs for children as young as 4 up through the teen years. Begun in 2001 by Margo Peyton, who still runs it, Kids Sea Camp offers a week’s worth of diving at resorts around the Caribbean — and such far-flung destinations as Fiji, Palau, Galapagos and the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is affiliated with PADI, one of the two major diving accreditation organizations. While the kids are in “class” during the day, the adults dive.
From Texas, one of the most convenient Sea Camp programs is off the coast of Honduras with turquoise waters and some of the best reef diving in the Caribbean.
Families can stay at the meals-included . Many families are multi-year alumni of Kids Sea Camp, returning to the thatch-roof bungalows right on the key, some with air conditioning. With the proximity of the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences, which specializes in dolphin studies, there are dolphins at the resort and ample opportunities to play with — and learn from — the bright and mischievous mammals, including a popular family dolphin encounter.
Kids are divided by age and skill set, with the 4- to 7-year-olds learning basic water skills and how to snorkel. Kids 10 and up can take PADI Junior Open Water class, which leads to scuba-diving certification. (Parents, be prepared for some homework time after hours. The lessons are not easy.) For the kids who pass the test, there’s a celebratory final dive with the parents.
Adult diving conveniently leaves directly from the resort and includes a morning and afternoon dive, wreck dives and two night dives. You can expect to see all sorts of corals, sea turtles, rays, barracudas, lobsters and hosts of parti-colored fish ranging from tiny to grouper-size.
Of course, diving isn’t for everyone, and nondiving parents can head to the resort pool (and/or bar), tour the island, do some daredevil zip-lining, become a dolphin trainer for a day, ride horseback, hang out at cafes in other parts of the island or simply take a boat taxi a few hundred yards to tiny Bailey’s Key and play Robinson Crusoe — with beach chair and book — for a few hours. You can even snorkel right off Bailey’s Key. (One warning: Don’t try to telecommute on your vacation. Internet connections are iffy and not worth the angst. OK, two warnings: Bring industrial-strength bug repellent. The insects are as vibrant as the sea life.)
When the day is done, the age groups join together for organized evening events, including live music, fire dancing and painting. Meals at Anthony’s Key, in the multilevel, mostly open-air dining area, are their own adventure, with kids artfully dodging the endlessly patient waiters, switching tables among their new best friends while the parents sip a cold one and watch the orange sun set over the Caribbean. The bar closes at 10, but you and the kids will be conked out long before that.
Kyrie O’Connor (email@example.com) is deputy managing editor/features for the Houston Chronicle.
Beaches, turquoise water, ocean-front villas, world-class diving, romance, recreation and relaxation on the Caribbean island of Curacao. Just add kids! What? Did you say, “Just add kids”? Kids Sea Camp started in Curacao five… Read more…
The perfect place to go.
It started as a simple concept: If you have kids and love to dive, then you should have a place to go have your cake and eat it too. Thus was born Kids Sea Camp… Read more…
Kids Sea Camp is a week of fun and diving that kids will remember forever. Kids Sea Camp has become so popular that it’s being hosted it in four different destinations this year: Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Fiji and Honduras’ Bay Islands. Read more…
On November 22 2010, a very special person showed up at our Palau Kids Sea Camp, family dive adventure week.
SeaLife DC 1400 is FREE at Kids Sea Camp Family Dive Adventure weeks! Contact us for details and locations.
What will the SeaLife people come up with next? The new DC 1400 has taken “smart” to the next level:
- It’s easy setup is further enhanced, making it even easier to get up and running.
- There is video mode for 720p High Definition video (one of several modes)
- It now has a built in 26 mm lens which replaces the need for a wide-angle lens.
- It has auto-focus tracking, so when that fish decides not to stay still, the camera will continue to focus only on that fishie, no matter what it does.
- And it is rechargeable…while still in it’s waterproof case!
And now there is a SeaLife rebate on all new SeaLife cameras through Jan 31, 2012.
Click HERE for more information
Kid’s Sea Camp Highlighted in Southeast Dive News
“Kids Sea Camp Family Dive Adventures is, hands down, the most amazing trip I have ever done with my kid. My 12-year old daughter Amanda and I had a week we will rememberforever…Margo combined the perfect ingredients for what we scuba parents and grandparents, have been waiting for, a family dive vacation.
“The adventure included a full week’s schedule of events and education programs for families with kids age 4-17. I even dubbed it an edu-tainment trip, education and entertainment all at the same time.”
Yap Kids Sea Camp
Galapagos 2013: A trip and dive log
Lloyd Kaufman is a Padi Advanced Open Water Diver. He has been diving with his wife Brenna for 10 years. They recently spent a week with Kids Sea Camp aboard the Wolf Buddy liveaboard in the Galapagos celebrating their upcoming 20th wedding anniversary. This was the Kaufman’s second Kids Sea Camp experience. Their first KSC was last year for Thanksgiving Week in St. Vincent with the entire family. They have two children – Haden (12 yr old) Jr. Open Water certified and Alec (8 yr old) Sassy graduate. This Thanksgiving the Kaufman’s are spending another week in St. Vincent with KSC. Haden plans to get Jr. Advanced Open Water certified while Alec gets to join the Seal Team.
By Lloyd Kaufman
The following are my journal entries for the days we were diving in the Galapagos Islands. This is the first time I have done this, but I felt the need seeing this was a very special trip for our 20th Wedding Anniversary and also proved to be a very magical adventure. I will remember this trip forever, as I’m sure Bre will too. As a prologue, we stayed and dove on a Live-aboard yacht operated by Buddy Dive out of Bonaire. We caught up with the boat on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos on Saturday July 20th. The trip was booked through our friends at Kids Sea Camp (PADI). Although it was a Kids Sea Camp Booking, the kids were not with us. There were 15 total passengers on this boat and 10 crew members and have no reservations to do it again. The sea life was absolutely fantastic and abundant.
Day 1 and 2: Awoke to Santiago island in the south heading west toward Isabella Island for the morning dives. Breakfast scheduled at 7am. Last night went to sleep early. We had checkout dive at Isla Lobos at about twenty five feet for 35 minutes. There were a couple of sea lions playing with us the whole dive. Really cute but started to get annoying. First night of sleep was interesting while we travelled. Rock and rolling but slept pretty good as it was first night of over four hours rest in three days. Today have three dives scheduled around Isabella Island and will report back. Water a little on the chilly side at 66 to 70 degrees with a thermocline.
First dive this morning at Puerto Coca named for the cocaine bags that landed here 12 years ago. Dive profile was 68 feet 55 minutes. Eagle rays, 2 reef sharks loggerhead turtle, big barracuda school. Playing with camera settings so see what works best for different situations. Had 1 hour surface interval than moved north up coast of Isabella to cape Marshall. Dive profile was 58 feet for 48 minutes. Saw another big green turtle, lots of creole wrasse schools, nesting puffer, scorpion fish. Took photos of sea stars, puffer, angels and parrots. Had lunch of a nice Italian buffet and relaxing writing this before 3 pm dive. Oh yeah water temperature was 68 for these dives. I donned a t-shirt under 5mm for core comfort, seemed to work well.
Afternoon dive was back at Puerto Coca. The visibility was poor due to afternoon plankton blooms. Dive profile was 67 feet for 52 minutes. Saw and photographed a seahorse, another scorpion fish, tons of barracuda schooling as well as wrasse. Saw some nice large parrot fish as well. Video of a couple of large eagle rays napping and one of those little caterpillar thingies we see all over the Caribbean. Spent the after dive hanging around the hot tub with Brenna, Lucy (substitute Margo from Kids Sea Camp), Bruce (oh I am sure there will be more stories about Bruce…he is classic New Jersey), and a few other names that I will add as I learn and retain them. We are having a lecture tonight on the Isabela volcanos geography before dinner as we make the crossing to Wolf Island. This will be more open sea so we will see how rough we get again tonight.
Day 3: We awoke at around 5:30 to darkness in a sheltered bay on the west side of Wolf Island. The boat backed to the cliffs of Wolf Island and there was a very pretty sunrise as we geared for the first dive. So no breakfast until after first dive. The crossing was very bumpy towards about 1am, but still got good sleep (went to sleep at 9:30pm. The first dive was a negative buoyancy entry and we were immediately greeted by tons of hammerhead sharks, large turtles, large eels, scorpion fish (Bre almost put her hand on one while holding on to a lava bedrock). Then, the grand finale of a whale shark in the blue. I met up with him about half way through his passing and chased him down to about 80 feet where I had to give up. The dive profile was 79 feet for 52 minutes. Water temp was 72 and visibility was pretty good. We surfaced to a lot of stories of great pictures and ditched the gear for some warmth before an eight o clock breakfast. Starting to gear up now for a 9:30 second dive in Sharks Bay.
Second dive in Sharks Bay again. Entered negative buoyancy again. Again a lot of sharks including hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, reef sharks and white tips. Lots of turtles and video shot (ran out of batteries shooting so much video). One turtle was very friendly with Brenna and wouldn’t leave her alone. Also got a few large moray eels, garibaldi, lobster, and finished up with a few spotted eagle rays swimming in the blue before safety stop. Dive profile was again 79 feet for 52 minutes. Water temp was 73. Upon exit we are off to Darwin Island a few hours away for the afternoon dives. Lunch will be at noon before the afternoon dives. Little rainy this morning but seems to be letting up and possibly burn off for the afternoon.
Afternoon dives at Darwin’s Arch. Negative buoyancy entry down to 40 feet. Slow drift along to outer wall to the pinnacles where we hung out waiting for the monster. Our guide thought something was brewing so made our way out to the blue where a nice 10 meter whale shark was spotted from underneath. Bingo, two in one day. Also got some more great turtle video and a giant spotted eagle ray. I also climbed down the wall to shoot an eel swimming in the open as well as a turtle hanging next to him. Dive profile was 78 feet for 52 minutes. Second dive at 4:15 at the same spot. Not as eventful and didn’t catch a whale shark but lots of turtles and sharks and tons of game fish. Got good video of a tuna school. Had to shallow up early as I went into decompression dive at about 40 minutes. Dive profile was 66 feet for 48 minutes. Oh yeah a dolphin cruised under us at the wall edge too. Too quick for video. Plan for the evening is to offload pictures, a couple of cervezas and hit dinner and tomorrow briefing at 7:00. I think we are anchored at Darwin Island for the night.
Day 4: Diving today starts again at 6:30. Good night sleeps in a protected area on west coast of Darwin Island. In the water at six thirty (Bruce lost his mask on way over). Dive site was same as yesterday afternoon as will be all four dives today at Darwin arch. Schedule switched up a little though with two dives after breakfast and then lunch and then one early afternoon dive before we head back to Wolf Island for dinner. Morning dive was a lot of the same stuff (which is spectacular at any other place but we’ve gotten spoiled here). We spent a lot of time sitting in a couple locations whale shark hunting. Just patiently hanging onto a lava rock outcropping and waiting for the beast to show. No dice this time but we will have three more tries today. Dive profile for the morning was 73 feet for 54 minutes. Water temperature is 74 degrees. Will check in again after the next two dives.
Good second two dives. First of the second paid off for the whale shark hunters as we got three on this dive. Two were spotted from the side but the third came right for us. Got great video of that…but chasing down whale sharks meant shorter dive, so profile was 74 feet for 45 minutes. After a short surface interval we went for the third dive of the day. Again we positioned for whale shark hunting, but as we perched, I spotted a nice big spotted eagle below which I chased to 75 feet. After which we headed to the blue but I was getting close to decompression time. As swimming in the blue I went into a decompression dive which meant I couldn’t chase the big manta spotted below, but I observed from above and snapped a couple of pictures. Profile for this dive was 75 feet for 55 minutes. Now breaking for lunch and prepping for last dive of the day at 2:30.
Last dive was another whale shark hunt. We sat at the pinnacle edge for about 20 minutes but didn’t pick one up so we set out to the blue. Visibility was starting to get poor and even more so by all the fish. We did however pick up a school of playful dolphins and a whole bunch of close by sharks that were being very photogenic as well as the turtles. Dive profile here was 83 feet for 55 minutes. Water temperature 74 degrees. Came in for a cleanup and last photo opportunities of Darwin’s Arch on our way back to Wolf Island. Should be in there about 6:30 for dinner…so chillin in the mean time with a couple of cervezas and story telling. Dive schedule tomorrow is pretty much same as today except at Wolf Island. Remember we did a whale shark at Wolf Island before too.
I have to add that the six dives at Darwin’s arch are going to be hard to top for shear flux of big creatures on this trip or possibly in my lifetime. We witnessed hundreds of hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, reef sharks, white tip sharks, as well as four whale sharks…this place is magical and is even bringing some of our well-seasoned divers to tears…and the week is still young.
Day 5: Good night sleep after an evening political discussion with our German friend Owe…awoke in a sheltered bay at Wolf Island for the 6:30 morning dive in Sharks Bay. Negative buoyancy entry immediately to a wall where we were immediately greeted by a pair of photogenic spotted eagle rays and a turtle. Sat on the wall for a bit and enjoyed the hammerheads and Galapagos sharks trolling for bait piles. We also caught another turtle or two along with another large lone spotted eagle. I chased some damsels down to 90 feet so the dive profile was 90 feet for 51 minutes. Water temperature was a balmy 70 degrees. Having some breakfast and heading on a shoreline panga photo op before the 9:30 dive.
Had breakfast and then hit a panga tour of east side of Wolf Island for some bird watching and cave exploring. Saw nasca and red footed boobies, frigates, swallow tail gulls and nestings. Second dive didn’t start until about 10:00 but it was worth the wait. After about 15 minutes on the whale shark perch we hit the blue and stumbled across two about five minutes apart. Great video and still footage. Dive profile was 83 feet for 51 minutes, after a very short surface interval, set out for the third dive and came up empty on the whale shark perch. Still a lot of hammerheads and Galapagos sharks. Dive profile was 70 feet for 48 minutes. Visibility started getting poor too. Water temperature was 70 degrees…and starting to feel the chill.
So after lunch went under to covers to warm and fell asleep until the last dive. Woke up, suited up and set out for the last dive around Sharks Bay. Negative entry and down to the whale shark hunting perch. No spotting so off into the blue again. Nice relaxing dive with the turtles and hammerheads…got a nice pic of a Galapagos shark passing by on the way up. Turns out Bruce was lost early in the dive and surfaced about 30 minutes into the dive. Put out his safety sausage and engaged the distress radio devices but neglected to talk into it (I don’t think he was paying attention during the briefing). Anyways we picked him up about a mile down current in between 8 foot seas…I think he needs a drink. Dive profile for the last dive was 66 feet for 55 minutes. Water temperature 70 degrees. We are immediately off for about a 10 hour journey for the west side of Isabella island…where we have two dives scheduled for tomorrow…which promises new Galapagos critters, however they are also 60 degree dives which means we will be donning a second suit if we can rent it…reminder to Margo that cold water diving was not in her itinerary…I have a nice 7mm at home that would be perfect for tomorrow. Peace out…cervezas time.
Day 6: Okay, so rise and shine again at 5:30 to get ready to dive Punta Vincente Roca on the west side of Isabella island. The ride over was bumpy about 1am until settling into the bay at about 2am. Rented a 7mm semi dry suit for the rest of the trip. Donated my 5mm to Bre to put over her suit for 10mm total. Had to add weight of course and Bre added too much and found herself having to remove weight at bottom. The dive was cold but beautiful with lots of sea horses, sea lions playing with us, red lipped bat fish, nudibranchs and a Galapagos bull head shark (these are small guys)…dive profile was 99 feet for 45 minutes. Water temperature was 61 degrees.
After getting out of the water we motored over to Fernandina Island for the second dive of the morning. Beautiful terrain and tons of feeding marine iguanas as well as torpedo rays, sting rays, more batfish, and we saw several Mola Mola sunfish at the surface coming back to the boat. Dive profile was 73 feet for 51 minutes. Water temperature was 63 degrees. Finished diving for the day by lunchtime and motoring back over to Isabella Island for a land excursion in the afternoon.
Went ashore at Punta Analisa on the north shore of Isabella Island. Walked around the tide pools and the abandoned US radar station. Saw a bunch more marine iguanas, lava lizards, flightless comarants, and Darwin finches and mockingbirds…nice to get some land legs for an hour. Back to the boat for relaxation and beverage before dinner. Already heading over to Santiago Island for the night and morning dive as well as another shore excursion before wrapping up. Looks like another cold water dive tomorrow…but it is the last of the trip.
Day 7: Bright and early for the last dive of the trip at Cousins Rock at Santiago Island. 6:30 in the water and got our token last dive whiteboard shot. Saw some sleeping white tip sharks, a couple of rays, some giant puffers, and a hawkish that I was able to shoot. Visibility was poor and dive profile was 75 feet for 51 minutes. Water temperature was 68. Now having breakfast and the drying off the gear ritual, while we head to Bartolome Island for a climb to the top of pinnacle rock and then on into Santa Cruz for the highlands excursion.
The shore excursion to Santiago was wonderful. Landed at the base of the lava fields and climbed to the top of Santiago and took photos of the entire island and the Calvera in the lagoon. Came back down the volcano and hit the panga for a tour around pinnacle rock and photographed blue footed boobies and Galápagos penguins. Headed back to the boat for lunch and motored over to Santa Cruz Island for a tour of the highlands and photos of the giant land tortoises. Then headed into the main town of Santa Cruz for a visit to the Darwin research station and shopping along the shoreline. At 6:00 headed back to the dock for the panga ride back to the boat for dinner, cocktails, and packing…and of course the kids sea camp poetry contest for which we came in second place to an eleven year old…reminiscing with our new friends now and up bright and early for breakfast and flight out of San Cristobal. Just got done filling out the survey card and couldn’t find anything to ding these guys on…this was an absolutely magical trip and will be recommended to anybody in the advanced diving realm.
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