So last night I slept terribly. Partly because I was really, really excited to dive the Galapagos, and also because I was scared not to be able to because of my cold. Last time I tried diving with a cold or the end of one rather, I ended up going down 5 meters, getting excruciating pain in my sinus and not diving at all. And so after all precautions and attempts to get rid of the stuffy-ness, I was just really worried. Also, the diving in Galapagos is getting pricier by the month. Last month it was 150$, this month it is 170$ for two immersions. Luckily, I have started getting pretty good at bargaining here and was able to get it for 150$. When you put that amount of money for diving and can’t get down, you are quite angry, and plus, they do not refund you (not even for the dive you don’t try to do!). So at5 am, one hour before the alarm, I started google-ing it to reassure me, which it did. If you can equalize on land, you probably will be fine underwater. Also, the trick is nasal salt water stuff, which I had no idea but will definitely be added to my travel bags ahahhaa.We set off by car, and then by boat.
I did have certain expectations that were quite deceived with the operator we ended up going with. Firstly, yesterday when I asked what level were the people, if they were all beginners, I was told it was a mixture of both, that it was a good group and two instructors would be there. Ok, that works. However, after speaking with people today, I was with all beginners, 7 of them which meant we were quite a large group. It is not like I have that many dives myself, but four of them were doing their first dive after the Open Water course, so no experience at all. Then, the instructor made everyone go in the water to check the weight belts, made everyone get back in the boat to then go to the diving site. I thought this was ridiculous and a complete waste of time. The times I have gone diving, the instructor brings extra weights in case people do need more. Then, to get in the water they made 4 people sit on one side and 4 people on the other side of the boat and said 1-2-3-go for everyone at once to get in the water. I have never seen this and it is the stupidest thing ever, especially with inexperienced divers who aren’t sure or don’t know what they are doing. The result was that Cosima got hit by an unknown swimming object on her head.
The whole time the crew of dive masters were helping everybody out with their equipment, or rather just doing it for them. They kept trying to do the same with me but I didn’t need help and it was just really annoying because I can tie my BCD by myself thank you. All in all, going down during the first dive went well with my sinus and ears and so I was really happy. However, the dive was a disappointment for me. There were nice fish, we saw some eels and sharks but they were trying to get photos of everyone, it was a photo session more than anything. Everyone was all bunched up together and really we did not cover much terrain at all. I also had a lot of air left and could not dive for longer even though I was told I could they gave me the sign to come up. Up until then, the morning was not at all what I expected with the instructor and the way things were going, plus, the marine life was not what I expected either. At least, we were in turquoise crystal clear water and I was watching pretty fish, for 150$ ahahaha. (Maybe I had high expectations because of what others had told me, maybe we did just get unlucky you never know what you see!).
The second dive was much, much better. We went to another area and I have never been surrounded by so many fish and schools of fish in any snorkelling or diving experiences before. So that was really cool. There was much more diversity in marine life and well, unfortunately there were some troubles with my ears. The dive went much better and was less of a photo session. After maybe 30-35minutes, people were running out of air and going up, but this other girl and I stayed longer with the instructor. It was going well, but I was a little annoyed and uncomfortable with my left ear but kept making sure I was equalizing it properly and not going deeper if I didn’t need to. Next thing I know we are right by a school of whitetip sharks! Like about 25 of them just swimming around! It was really cool to see. The whitetip shark is about 2-3m long and is a reef shark. It is very tranquil and shy and so it swims away if you get too close to it. I really really wanted to see a hammerhead shark, but unfortunately I didn’t! I would have had to go to another site known as Gordon Rocks where there’s a 99% chance of seeing them. Cosima doesn’t have many dives and it is meant to have stronger currents. Also, it was hard to arrange a diving day during which she went to one and I went to the other, so we stuck together! Anyways, I think my biggest disappointment of the day happened at the end of this dive. The instructor signalled that we were meant to finish the dive, after about 57 minutes so that was cool. I still had air left but it had been a very good dive. So as we go up, I know that we must make a security stop, because of the depth of the dive and you are always better safe than sorry right! Well anyways, I gave him the 3minute at 5meters safety stop sign, which he ignored and told me to come up and I was slowly ascending and tried to signal him again but he would not care. And so as I am doing my safety stop after a minute he is getting angry and pointing at the boat and telling me to come up. I did in the end which I really shouldn’t have because of the risks involved. I was very disappointed in this unprofessional and unsafe way of working and at the same time am angry at myself for not listening to myself, especially when I know I am completely right. All in all, if diving in the Galapagos, I do not recommend Sharksfriends at all.
In the end it was a good day, really there have been worst days worst that this one in a lifetime, and I take the experience as a learning one, only adding to my knowledge and experience in diving as well as in attitude. I do not think it was a waste of time or money and would have gone again, if my ear was not still blocked at the moment and if I had more money in my pocket.