This dive is considered middle in difficulty, with some current, but you don’t need too much experience to go on this excursion. Bartholomew is 1.5 h in a speedy boat from the Itabaca Channel. The first immersion will take place on the East coast of Bartholomew, and the second normally is in Cousins Rock on the North coast of Santiago. All this area is influenced by the local upwelling which makes it possible to see cold dependable species such as seahorses, Mobula rays, scorpionfish and even penguins.
Whitetip reef sharks
Bartholomew is on the East coast of Santiago Island, this small island is known for its unique pinnacle rock. The dive site could look challenging because of the waves, but underwater you will see a rocky platform and float gently on a cliff that is 15 ft deep and continues. Here is a good place to see pelagic animals like sharks, Mobula rays and other large fish.
The dive in Cousins Rock is a few minutes away from Bartholomew. This site has an impressive topography of spiky rocks like a shelf where you can see different animals resting, is almost like a “condo”, some big animals such as sea turtles, whitetip reef sharks can be resting, or medium-size like scorpionfish or lobsters will be holding for its prey, and as well small fish and invertebrates can be there. Nearby the surface, we will stop to look after the unique Galapagos penguins.
The Pacific seahorse is listed in IUCN red list in the Vulnerable category since the Asian market catches them for making Chinese medicine. The shape of this fish is so unique, that is easy to identify, the problem is to find them since they camouflage very well in the long seaweed, coral or rocks. The color can change according to the surroundings: red, yellow, tan, brown, grey, black, with spots or stripes. It can grow about 30 cm or 11.8 inches. One thing that is remarkable in this fish besides the shape of the body, is that the male is the one that carries the babies in a belly bag, and can be found in very shallow waters 1 m. or 3 ft to 60 m. or 197 ft.
Mobula rays are smaller than the Manta birostris. In Galapagos are three species: Mobula japanica that can be recognized by the presence of a keel over the spiracle, dorsal tip white, long tail, and dark upper and white belly. Mobula munkiana is more golden brown with white underside wings, medium tail, small size (1.1 m. or 3 ft. wide). Mobula tarapacana have a long head and short horns, short keel over the spiracle, strongly curved wings, belly front white, rear abruptly grey, short tail, and of long size (more than 3 m. or 9 ft. wide).
Spheniscus mendiculus is the second smallest species of penguin in the world and the only one in the northern hemisphere. This is endemic to the Galapagos Islands, distributed mainly on the west side of the archipelago with two small satellite populations in Floreana and Santiago Islands. The Santiago population is about 50 to 100 birds (including the Bartholomew population, about 20 individuals). This seabird feeds on small fish, and depending on cold productive waters is highly vulnerable during El Niño events. They nest and rest on lava tubes close to the coast, and avoid walking long distances.
Bartolomé Island, Ecuador
You must go to the Dive Center a day before your trip, to sign the release form, get more information about your trip, and to try the gear and equipment. Don’t forget to bring your dive certificate with you.
On the day of your tour, you need to wear comfortable clothes and bring sun protection (hat, sunglasses, long sleeve shirt and sunscreen). We recommend you to wear your bathing suit and to bring extra dry clothes to change. Don’t forget your waterproof camera and your water bottle.
5 -7 mm wetsuit, regulator, BCD, mask, fins, boots, hood, gloves, weigh belt and 12 lt. air tank
Nitrox tank (you need to present a certification)
Extra air tank
Dive Center in Puerto Ayora
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