>> Recharging station
The dive deck is equipped with individual gear bins, large camera table, recharging station, air and nitrox filling stations, tank racks, and a separate fresh water rinse tank for underwater camera equipment. Diving operations are conducted from two large pangas (tenders), easily boarded from the dive deck. The Humboldt Explorer is also equipped with a satellite telephone for emergency calls worldwide.
>> Diving conditions (Water temps in summer average 65*F, 70*F in winter)
- - The weather in the Galapagos has water temperatures ranging from 65 -75 degrees F from December through May and 60 – 70 (F) June through November.
- - Water temperatures are at the higher end of the scale in both Darwin and Wolf. Air temperatures range from 75 (F) or higher in the rainy season (December-May) to the mid 60's (F) during the dry season (June – November), with nearly constant sea breezes.
- - Currents can range from 1 to 5 knots at the sites we visit, and visibility is generally between 30 and 80 feet.
- - Most divers are comfortable with a 7mm wetsuit June – November with a hooded vest and gloves and a minimum 5 mm wetsuit December - May.
- - Gloves and hood are strongly recommended.
- - Your dives will be done from the pangas with an easy backward roll into the water. After you dive, your tank will be lifted back into the panga and you will board via its stern ladders or with assistance from the side.
>> Minimum age restrictions (Under the age of 15 must dive with parent/ guardian)
The minimum certifiable age for divers is 10 for most SCUBA certification agencies; normally, the agencies restrict 10 and 11 year olds to a maximum depth of 40 ft.
- - All children under the age of 15 must travel and dive with their parent or guardian, unless undergoing active training with an instructor.
- - This itinerary offers no diving opportunities at depths less than 40 feet; diving opportunities for 10 and 11 year olds are not available on this itinerary.
For this reason, a minimum age of 15 for divers is strongly suggested.
>> Safety standards (Dive insurance required)
To ensure your safety, we require the following of all divers:
- - All divers must be certified as open water scuba divers by an internationally recognized certification organization.
- - All divers must be experienced divers (we recommend that you have more than 100 logged dives) and have logged at least one dive within the 6 months prior to boarding the vessel. Dives are very often at an advanced level.
- - Currents can be very strong and often divers are required to swim against them.
- - All dives are guided by an instructor/naturalist guide and due to Galapagos National Park regulations all divers must dive with the guide at all times.
- - All divers must log in and out of the water with a member of the diving staff.
- - Buceo de descompresión no está permitido bajo ninguna circunstancia. La profundidad máxima permitida es de 130' (110' en Nitrox).
- - All divers must have a submersible console including SPG & depth gauge, time piece or dive computer with these functions.
- - Decompression diving is not allowed under any conditions. The maximum allowed depth is 130' (110' on nitrox).
- - Diving activities must cease when the consumption of alcohol begins.
- - All divers must present proof of dive insurance per Galapagos National Park regulations.
- - All divers must also carry a DiveAlert, a surface signaling device, and an electronic beacon while diving (all available on board).
- - Guests are responsible for all items they borrow from the vessel.
- - Please note that, due to a combination of staff and equipment logistics, insurance requirements and local diving regulations, neither rebreathers nor diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs) may be used aboard.
>> What to bring (Soft luggage for easy storage Very casual attire)
- - Packing for a liveaboard trip is much easier than packing for a land-based vacation.
- - The climate doesn't require much more than shorts, T-shirts, and swimsuits though at sea the winds can be cold and jackets are often necessary. Soft luggage is recommended as it takes up very little space when empty.
- - Sun screens, sunglasses, a visor, raincoat, lightweight sweater or jacket, long sleeved shirt, backpack, tevas and a hat are recommended.
- - Guests traveling through Quito who are interested in day tours may wish to bring some items of clothing for slightly cooler temperatures and good walking shoes.
- - Please remember that the Galapagos Islands straddle the Equator and the sun can be very strong at times. For this reason please make sure you have sufficient strength sunscreen.
- - In case of rough weather or if you have a tendency towards seasickness, come prepared with motion sickness medications or Transderm patches from your doctor.
- - If you have favorite CD's or DVD's, feel free to bring them.
>> All linens supplied Soaps supplied Hairdryers not supplied
All linens (including sheets, comforters, bath towels, hand towels, dive towels, and wash cloths) are provided on board.
>> Carry-on packaging
If possible, pack your regulator, dive computer, mask, a swimsuit, change of clothes, medications and toiletries in your carry-on bag. Having these few items with you will make an unexpected luggage delay far more bearable.
>> Luggage weight restrictions
There is a weight limit on checked-in luggage for flights to and from Quito and/or Guayaquil to the Galapagos of 44 pounds (20 kilos). An additional fee of up to US$1.70* per 2.2 pounds (1 kilo) to and from Quito will be charged for luggage over the limit and US$1.50* per 2.2 pounds (1 kilo) to and from Guayaquil. In addition, passengers are allowed a carry-on bag weighing no more than 17.6 pounds (8 kilos) and a personal item. All additional luggage fees must be paid in cash at flight time.
>> Equipment list
The vessel provides tanks, weights, and weight belts for your use. If you prefer to rent the rest of your equipment from us, we have all of the equipment that you will need. Please indicate on your application form what equipment you will require. Otherwise, the following items are the diver's responsibility:
- Certification Card
- Diving Log Book (strongly encouraged)
- Booties (if you wear them)
- Buoyancy Control Device (required) *
- Regulator w/alternate air source, submersible pressure and depth gauges (required)*
- Underwater time piece (required)
- Dive computer *
- Wet suit – 5 mm to 7 mm *
- Hooded vest
- Repair kit w/ spare parts
- Safety flag
- DiveAlert air horn for regulator
* Available for rent on board Most of our guests bring their own complete set of dive gear. This is the ideal situation, however, due to weight limits or additional travel plans some of our guests choose to rent gear. We strongly recommend that you bring your own mask, gloves, booties, fins, hood or hooded vest and computer. A personal wetsuit is also a good idea if you have space. Diving in Galapagos can be challenging and it is important that you are comfortable.
>> Insurance Dive & Travel
Due to the nature of this trip and the very remote nature of the destination, all divers are required to have dive accident insurance when diving from the Humboldt Explorer, and to note the policy number on their application form.
>> General Information
The information below is intended to help you assess your insurance needs, but is not meant to make representations about the coverage of any specific policy offered by an insurer or replace a consultation with a qualified insurance company representative.
There are several types of insurance in a variety of different policy configurations available to a dive traveler including (but not limited to):
- - Trip interruption and cancellation insurance coverage. This covers your expenses if you can't go on or finish your planned trip due to a covered illness or unexpected circumstance. These policies are sometimes available with or without flight coverage.
- - Travel assistance service coverage for things such as a lost passport
- - Emergency medical costs in a foreign country
- - Diver-specific accident and recompression chamber coverage
- - Medical evacuation coverage
- - Dive and camera gear coverage
- - Rental car damage
Check your existing insurance policy(s) first. They may cover some of your needs.
When comparing possible insurance you may want to consider coverage of:
- - Alternative travel costs. If you need to book different transportation/accommodations due to illness or additional event.
- - Emergency evacuation costs
- - Tropical weather conditions, including hurricanes, typhoons, fires and earthquakes, as these are sometimes excluded by insurance companies as "acts of God."
- - Car accidents
- - Coverage of just you or additional family members or traveling companions
- - Reimbursement of prepaid expenses, such as non-refundable deposits
- - Does the plan have deductibles?
- - Must you use only preferred providers (hospitals and physicians)?
- - Does the plan you're considering act as primary insurance, or is it secondary to other policies you may carry?
- - What are the policy's coverage limits? Are they per-incident or lifetime?
- - How often you travel. Is a policy that covers just one trip sufficient, or do you need a longer coverage period?
>> Some final thoughts:
- - Read all policy wording carefully
- - Review all details of the policy
Humboldt Explorer does not sell or endorse specific insurance policies or companies; the above information is offered as a service to our guests, but is not an exhaustive list of considerations.
Buying the appropriate travel and/or dive insurance before your holiday starts will make your vacation less stressful and more enjoyable. Here are some suggested considerations.
>> DAN - Divers Alert Network
DAN membership provides coverage through TravelAssist for emergency situations, as well as becoming part of a worldwide network committed to scuba diving safety and injure prevention. DAN membership, renewed annually, is required for insurance.
- - Individual membership:
- - Family membership*:
- - Non-US memberships
* Family membership may include spouse or significant other and all children under 24 years of age living in your household.
Once you are a DAN member, opportunities include:
Dive Accident Insurance: DAN offers three plans, with no mileage restrictions when you use your dive accident or injury coverage. Compare DAN plans.
- - Dive Equipment Insurance
- - Term Life Insurance
- - DAN Trip Insurance
- - Dive Tag
- - DAN/MBNA credit Card
Sign-up for DiveAssure
DiveAssure offers you PRIMARY diving accident plans as well as dive-travel insurance plans that are designed specifically for divers.
The DiveAssure advantage:
- - Primary coverage
- - Duke University oversight of diving accident cases
- - Travel and diving insurance in one policy
- - Exclusive coverage for:
- - Missed liveaboard departure
- - Lost diving days due to health, weather, mechanical breakdown and other reasons.
- - Lost diving equipment - reimbursement/rental allowance
- - Cancellation/Interruption (Curtailment) due to inability to dive
- - And much more
- - DiveAssure offers several single and family plans.
- - Sign-up for DiveAssure
>> Other insurance options
The following links are to companies also providing insurance coverage, most offer general travel insurance and may not offer diving insurance.
>> Arrival / Departure
Passports are required for all arriving foreign nationals. If in doubt about visas, contact the Ecuadorian Consulate for specific requirements from your country.
>> Departure tax requires cash
The vessel arrives at its final destination port on Monday morning. Sunday afternoon's BBQ lunch is on the island and is not included in the price of the trip. Transportation is organized and included for transfer to the airport. There is a departure tax, payable in cash, of US$40.80 in Quito, US$27.80 in Guayaquil (both subject to change) upon leaving on a flight from either Quito or Guayaquil.
>> Scheduling flights
Flight times, prices and the Galapagos airport of arrival are all subject to change with little or no notification, and flights often run late. We strongly encourage our guests to plan on arriving at least one and preferably two days prior to your flight to the Galapagos Islands, to ensure that your luggage is with you or to make up for any travel delays. We also recommend that guests plan on an extra night in Quito or Guayaquil upon departing Ecuador. The earliest time a guest can reliably expect to connect to another flight is 10 p.m on the last Monday of the trip. Ticket holders are required to check-in a minimum of three hours prior to flight time for all international departures, even when connecting from an Aerogal or Tame flight.
>> Sample itineraries
Days aboard the Humboldt Explorer generally involve a 6:30 am five followed by breakfast, a dive at 09:30, lunch at 12:00, and afternoon dives at 1:30 and 4:00 pm. Dinner is served at approximately 7:00 pm. Under current National Park guidelines no night dives nor land visits are allowed.
Please note that these itineraries are examples only, and will change depending on local regulation, weather and logistics at the Captain´s discretion. Currently each week the itinerary included the same islands. The order of the islands, however, is dictated by the Galapagos National Park.
Please list on the application form any dietary needs you have.
Aboard the Humboldt Explorer, lunch and evening meals usually consist of lots of salad, potatoes, rice, chicken, beef, pork, and fish. Breakfast is the usual fare of eggs, ham, cereal, toast, and fresh fruits. Cookies are available between dives. If you have any dietary restrictions or requests, please indicate so on your application form. Please note that specific brands of soft drinks, dressings and foods are often unavailable in the islands, and that it can be very difficult for us to find low-fat or soy products, fresh fruit, fish, and other items common elsewhere. While we will do our best to accommodate your requests, please be realistic and consider bringing some of your own foods if the lack thereof may constitute a health risk or seriously compromise your enjoyment of your holiday.
US dollars are widely accepted
The U.S. dollar is the official currency of Ecuador; therefore, it is not necessary to purchase currency before arriving. Most major credit cards are accepted widely when shopping ashore, however, additional fees are charged in Ecuador for the use of credit cards.
>> On board charges
Major credit cards are accepted on board
- - Though all meals, most beverages, transportation between islands, and much more has been taken care of with your trip payment, there are additional items which you may charge to your on board bill.
- - These include retail items (shirts, etc.), scuba instruction, rentals, nitrox, premium alcoholic beverages, and crew gratuities.
- - The bill may be paid at the end of the trip using cash, Visa, or MasterCard. American Express, traveler's checks and personal checks are not accepted on board, and we are unable to advance cash on credit card charges. Travelers checks are not accepted in Ecuador nor can they easily be changed into cash. Gratuities and onboard charges are best paid in cash. This avoids any additional Ecuadorian taxes and service fees. Bills will be settled onboard on Sunday morning. ATM machines are available in Quito, Guayaquil, Puerto Ayora and San Cristobal.
>> Crew Gratuites
Crew gratuities are not included in your package. The crew works very hard, 7 days a week and up to 12 weeks at a stretch, providing the best possible service for our guests. The industry standard for crew gratuities on dive trips (if of course you are happy with the service which you have received) is between 10% and 15% of the package price per passenger. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated.