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Liveaboard Diving in Baltra Island
What To Expect On A Baltra Island Liveaboard
Liveaboards to Baltra Island on Galapagos tend to head north where there are two islands: the small island Mosquera and the larger North Seymour with narrow channels separating them which offers superb diving. Baltra is one of the smaller Galapagos Islands, sized 21 km2. It's located 1 km north of the main island Santa Cruz, divided by a narrow strait.
In 1942, the Americans founded a military base on Baltra Island to protect the Panama Channel, with barracks and runways. After World War II the barracks were taken down but the airport is still being used as a commerical airport. Most tourists arrive at this airport after which they transfer to a liveaboard cruise on Santa Cruz.
Baltra Island is also known for having an iguana population until 1954. After the introduction of dogs, cats and goats the iguanas were threatened with extinction. To prevent this some iguanas were brought over to Seymour Norte and were iguanas bred in Santa Cruz. In 1991 the Galapagos iguana were newly introduced on Baltra Island.
BALTRA ISLAND UNDERWATER
Taking a liveaboard dive cruise around Baltra Island is as everywhere else in Galapagos, very rewarding. The abundance of fish life is spectacular and great schools of inshore grunts and snappers are encountered on nearly every dive, while immense schools of open water jacks, barracuda, bonito, eagle ray and scalloped hammerheads are regularly sighted. On top of this you can even find manta rays, wahoo, yellowfin tuna and even whale sharks. Also other exotic species are to be seen such as the rainbow basslet, red-lipped batfish, bloody frogfish, pacific seahorse, rockmover wrasse and galapagos clingfish. A dive trip to this area on a liveaboard will give divers maximum exposure to the amazing marine life to see in this very special area.
DIVE SITES OF BALTRA ISLAND
At North Seymour your liveabord vessel will allow you to dive on a rocky slope and end the dive in the shallow close to the island. Here you can see schools of jack fish, manta rays, eagle rays, marble rays, stingrays, marlins and hammerhead sharks. There are also many reef fish such as yellowtail grunts, bluestriped snappers and salemas in schools. The fish here attract birds like boobies that dive into the water and swim down to feed on the fish. You can also see sea lions here.
Mosquera is a large sand bank which lies north to south on a shallow area between Baltra and Seymore. There are two dive sites here: west beach that is known for the large population of sea lions on the western side and east mosquera.
At East Mosquera the dive starts at the southeast on a slope with boulders and then moves forward to the north. After the slope you drop down to the top of the wall at 15-22 meters with schools of grunts and snappers around you. The current can be strong in the channels north and south of Mosquera.
Daphne Island is located near the north coast of Santa Cruz Island, 30 minutes from Itabaca Channel. The moderate currents here make this dive a drift dive along a drop-off from the top of a sloping wall to a rocky and sandy bottom. There is a small cave where white tip reef sharks rest and a pinnacle with several rays accumulating, Galapagos sharks, turtles, reef fishes and barracudas. Inside the black coral walls you’ll find a variety of invertebrates.
TOP TIPS FOR DIVERS
Due to the remoteness of the Galapagos Islands and the associated costs of any medical treatment, we recommend guests to have sufficient dive-travel insurance.
Don't forget to charge your camera, and don't miss a shot.
GETTING TO BALTRA ISLAND
Flights arriving daily from continental Ecuador arriving from either Quito or Guayaquil. Arriving at Baltra passengers pass through the national park queue and pay a $100 park entrance fee. They then proceed to the luggage claim area.
Visiting the dive sites of Baltra Island is best done by Galapagos Islands liveaboard while most of the dive sites are quite far off shore requiring long journeys.