It’s Whale Shark Season in Galapagos!
Well, at least in the north at Darwin. People always want to know what the conditions are like in the north and current reports are not so easy to come by. So we thought we would begin offering reports here. Granted, once you leave the central islands on the trip up to Darwin and Wolf, there’s no cell signal which means our reports are limited to once a week.
Week: July 12, 2010:
Water is still unseasonably cold: 20 at Wolf and 25 at Darwin. Reported 18 air/ water temps at N. Seymour.
12 large whale shark sightings at Darwin, including a pregnant female.
Reported ‘thousands’ of hammerheads
Cabo Marshall without viz, maybe 2 meters. Too green from algae.
In the central islands, cold water temps (18-20) with thermoclines as low as 15. Lots of hammerheads and Mantas at Gordon Rocks.
I was out in the islands for most of the month. Water temperature in the central islands is 16-18 C on average with dreadful visibility in green chunky water. Air temps were also chillier than normal with 18-19 C being the norm in the evenings. Many days without sunshine in the garua season making viz even more difficult. We don’t know whether the wildlife is there and you just can’t see it or if activity is diminished. In any event, for 2 weeks of non-stop diving in the central islands, it was consistently bad everywhere. Yes, some sharks, mantas, lots of rays, baitballs, plenty of turtles and large schools of barracudas still visible…which just goes to show you how spoiled we are when that equals lame.
Up at Darwin and Wolf, the month offered very mixed reports. It swung from thousands of hammerheads and a dozen whalesharks at Darwin to 20 hammerheads and 1 whaleshark at Darwin. Last week (Aug. 16-23) , I had very mixed reports from 2 boats in the same week. Aboard Galapagos Sky, reports of very few hammerheads and some whalesharks at Darwin with maybe 20 hammerheads and not much else at Wolf. Dive Guide from Humboldt Explorer reported thousands of hammerheads at Wolf (not Darwin) along with a pod of 20 Orcas caressing the pangas. Everyone reports bad visibility and cold water.
What I’ve been saying since late May / early June is finally official: La Nina is here post El Nino…which accounts for the unseasonably cold water, but no one seems to know for sure why such horrible visibility. Best guess is major upwelling events being dispersed throughout the islands. Best viz I’ve heard of all month was 40 ft (12 mts) at Darwin. Most places are under 20 ft (5 mts) viz. Typically, diminished visibility equals more wildlife due to the nutrient rich water, but when viz is 10 – 15 ft, even if there’s a school of 500 hammerheads nearby, you can’t necessarily see them. Official reports expect La Nina to continue for the next 2-3 months at least.
Aug. 23-30. Reports of thousands of hammerheads at Darwin, barely a dive when they weren’t in sight. Whale sharks, Mantas at Cabo Marshall. Water temp at Darwin 24C and a mere 15C at Cousins causing several to bail on Dive 2. In other words, your standard week diving the Galapagos on a liveaboard.
Aug 31 – Sept 6. Reports are the same…cold water (15-24C), bad viz, but an abundance of marine life, ie good sightings.