Galapagos Kids Sea Camp, the trip of a lifetime
Instructor loves her “Bucket List” Galapagos trip with Kids Sea Camp
By Lucy Dunbar, former owner of Columbia Scuba, in South Carolina
This year I decided to hit one of my all-time “Bucket List” destinations, after 20 years as a diver I was long overdue to treat myself to a journey to the Galapagos Islands. Kids Sea Camp always uses top-notch locations and suppliers
Diving with whale sharks and hammerheads is all part of the Kids Sea Camp Galapagos experience. So I knew that booking through them would put me on the best boats possible, all I can say is that the trip was magical from start to finish. As poor Margo had to have surgery this summer I found myself in the unique position of group leader – BONUS!! I get the most amazing kids as my dive buddies, and sharing this experience with them just added to the magic for me.
Arriving in San Cristobal we were met at the airport by the dive guides for Buddy Dive Galapagos and taken the short ride to the harbor where we actually had to step over lazing sea lions to get on the rib boat “Panga” and ride out to the motor yacht. After boarding, we had some refreshments and a get to know your orientation to the staff and boat. Then we headed out to an easy shallow bay to complete the orientation dive, making sure everyone was comfortable and all equipment was good and well-fitting. This was an amazing dive to kick off the week, our dive buddy was a sea lion! He showed off in front of us for a full 40 minutes, twirling and swooping, whooshing by and then flopping onto the bottom, blowing bubbles and mouthing the tops of snorkels, investigating bubbles from the vents in hoods, and generally having a grand time with these silly-looking creatures with the metal tanks.
Back on the boat, we were treated to the first of many delicious meals, before retiring to our comfortable and well-appointed cabins for the night.
We had the chance to visit several different islands during the week, the best of which for me were Darwin and Wolfe, dive after dive we were treated to schools of Hammerhead Sharks by the dozen. If we stayed still long enough they would come closer and we would get to see the details of their beautiful scalloped heads, amongst the Hammerheads we would also see the different shaped bodies of Galapagos Sharks, White Tip Reef Sharks, and sometimes even a Silky. All these sharks made for the perfect location for the kids to earn their Project Aware – Shark Awareness Specialty. As well as learning about sharks we learned about the threats to them, and we’re asking about every fishing vessel we saw; were they legal, and what fishing methods were they using? Fortunately, they all followed the strict regulations set out by the Marine Park, the Galapagos is a great place to be a shark!
The highlight of the week for us all was the Whale Shark sightings, these huge, beautiful creatures are quite something to experience up close and there were several sightings for all divers during the week. As well as the sharks we were treated to many other sightings, a Manta Ray, many huge turtles and lots of Eagle Rays….. and the fish. Never before have I had poor visibility because I could barely see through the thousands of fish!
Of course, the Galapagos is famous for its’ unique wildlife, and we were lucky enough to see Marine Iguanas feeding on algae underwater and on the same dive, Flightless Cormorants diving amongst us for fish. Tropical Fish and Penguins all on the same boat ride – this is rather like Alice’s Wonderland.
I made some great new friends amongst the Kids Sea Camp families on the trip, and we all enjoyed the excellent service by our friendly and helpful crew. I can honestly say that in all my years diving and the many locations I have been this was truly the trip of a lifetime, thanks, KSC. And special thanks to Margo.