Liveaboard Diving in Wolf Island

What to expect on a Wolf Island Liveaboard.

Wolf and Darwin islands are the most remote in the Galapagos archipelago. They sit over 160 kilometres/100 miles from the main island of Isabella on the Darwin-Wolf volcanic ridge. Wolf Island is named after the famous geologist Theodor Wolfe and is the more southerly of the two. The waters around Wolf Island have been recognised as some of the best dive sites in the world for many years.

The shape of the ocean floor, means nutrient rich currents flow around the island bringing a huge array of sea life with it including of course the larger pelagics. This spectacular parade of wildlife includes shoals of thousands of hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, dolphins and, in season, the magnificent whale sharks.

The island is closed to land visits and the surrounding waters are highly protected. Due to the threat of illegal fishing the Galapagos National Park service has a dedicated floating barge the 'Tiburon Martillo' close to the two islands. Along with a fleet of patrol boats and a surveillance aircraft, this barge helps to deter finning boats who are drawn here by the sheer numbers of sharks in this jewel of the Galapagos Marine Park.

Daily Schedule

Morning

Early mornings are a stable feature of any Galapagos liveaboard and once again you will be up before 6 am for a light breakfast and maybe a coffee. The dive briefing will be highly informative although it might be hard to concentrate when you start hearing things like 'shoals of hammerheads', 'tiger sharks', 'loggerhead turtles', 'dolphin pods' and 'the occasional orca'. Do try and keep up though, the conditions in Wolf and Darwin can be some of the roughest and the currents very strong so you will want to know what is going on. If you haven't already your BCD will be fitted with a GPS location device just in case.

You will be dropped at the first dive site by panga tender. Which sites you visit are very weather and current dependant. If conditions are good the first up is usually El Derrumbe, The Landslide. Here is a huge rock reef where you can look out into the blue and see the iconic hammerhead shoals passing by, hundreds strong. The dive will normally be around 50-60 minutes and you still won't want to come up. Don't worry, after a proper breakfast and surface interval you will be dropped back at The Landslide for dive two and more amazing diving.

Afternoon

If the first half of the day was spent at the Landslide, after lunch you will move on to The Cave or Shark Bay. The choice of sites will of course be at the mercy of the conditions but either way you are in for two amazing dives whichever you visit. The pangas will drop you off and pick you up from the main boat for both dives.

Evening

During the warm season the fourth dive can be scheduled as a night dive instead of afternoon. For the rest of the year, the liveaboard will either anchor up for the night or if conditions permit start sailing to Darwin Island. Either way, stay on the deck as much as possible there is always so much to see. Dolphin pods are often still around and huge red kites often come and hitch a ride on the handrails of the boat.

Wolf Island Underwater

Hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, mantas, tuna, dolphins the list goes on. Wolf has everything divers visit Galapagos for, it is truly breath-taking diving. The landslide is a boulder strewn reef which, you guessed it, resembles a landslide. This reef falls into the blue and you can sit on the edge here, hold on and witness one of the most amazing aquatic shows on earth. You will be surrounded by more sharks, turtles and shoals of rays than you ever imagined. The landslide is also a great place to get very close to the hammerheads. If you wait on the reef they often swim up so close you could almost touch them.

The Cave is a stunning cavern and a series of swim-throughs with beautiful soft white corals. This is a great place to see hammerheads and the shy Galapagos sharks. The current here is strong making the outside of the caves the ideal hunting ground for tuna and almaco jacks.

Shark Bay is again home to hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and legions of turtles. The bay starts around 10 meters / 33 ft. shallower than some of the other dives so divers can play with friendly sea lions. Further along around 20 meters / 65 ft. you can see hammerheads and shoals of rays. The current here is high and the swell quite strong especially close to the shore which can often lead to an unexpected drift dive.

Top Tips for Wolf Island

  • Current is strong and the reefs covered in barnacles so wear gloves for protection. Also watch out for hogfish who are always biting at lose barnacles even if your hand is in the way.
  • When hammerheads are on the reef stay low and as still as possible and you will get some real close-ups.
  • The conditions can be rough on the surface at Wolf and pulling yourself back on the panga is a challenge. Stick to the back of the boat where the inflatable is lower.
  • If the current eases, slip out into the blue for your safety stop, chances are you will run into shoals of sharks and sometimes dolphins.

Getting to Wolf Island

Wolf is usually the second stop for liveaboards after Punta Carrion and the sail is an evening and overnight sail. The waters can be a little wild in places but don't worry this is what Galapagos liveaboards are built for. When you arrive you will start to get a feeling of just how remote and special this place is. Sitting up on the deck for an early coffee you have the chance to see the pods of dolphins that surround the island, a host of sea birds and if you are lucky rays breaching.


Wolf Island Diving Reviews

  • 9.0 Superb
  • 40 Verified Reviews
  • 7.6 Good
  • Eric F
  • Switzerland Switzerland

World top class diving, fishy, Hammer-Heads every where, Schools of Eagle rays, school of large sizes fishes, Sea lions...

Diving Wolf Island in August on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Yee Hon C
  • Malaysia Malaysia

It was spectacular, and with 3 days here, we got one day of amazing visibility and relatively calmer currents, and every dive was a very different encounter so that gave us a great and varied experience overall.

Diving Wolf Island in June on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Amanda C
  • United States United States

Fantastic, the best diving of the trip. Dolphin pods, schooling hammerheads, better visibility than other sites. Saw a whale shark here too.

Diving Wolf Island in June on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Melanie H
  • New Zealand New Zealand

I spat my regulator out on this first dive. We descended with sea lions - they are so playful and love copying there were schools of hammerhead sharks above is. Sea lions and hammerheads! There’s a big current at wolf so one of the dives saw half our group needing to ascend to the surface. The dive was amazing. We went to the cleaning station there and just watched as we saw turtles and hammerheads being cleaned by angel fish varieties. It was amazing. Just species everywhere you look! We just stayed there and watched. Strong currents but easy to ground yourself. We also did a night dive here where we saw shrimps with pink eyes. lobsters, cardinal fish, blue sea urchins, collector urchins, hermit crabs, eels feeding.... it was in the bay and was awesome shallow and no current!

Diving Wolf Island in April on the Nortada

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Sylvie S
  • France France

Amazing! Schools of hammerheads, balls of trevallies, Galapagos sharks. The visibility was less good than in Darwin.

Diving Wolf Island in April on the Galapagos Master

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • John G
  • United States United States

Exceptional. Tons of hammerhead sharks. Visibilty in afternoon not very good. Did a night dive and a very large cave dive here as well. Water pretty warm in Feb. Did not like Elephant Ils. dive lots of current and not many critters. Did same dive sites at least twice.

Diving Wolf Island in February on the Nortada

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Markus J
  • Finland Finland

We encountered propably hundreds of Hammerhead sharks! Galapagos sharks, Silky sharks, White Tip Reef sharks, turtles everywhere, Sea lions, etc.

Diving Wolf Island in March on the Nortada

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Ingo L
  • Germany Germany

Second best, after Darwin Arch

Diving Wolf Island in April on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Ulrike W
  • Austria Austria

good spots, many big fish, sharks,

Diving Wolf Island in February on the Nortada

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Patick W
  • United States United States

Good but strong currents. Saw schools of hammerheads, green turtles, fine-spotted morays, white tip sharks, galapagos sharks, hogfish, schools of big eyed jacks and steel pompanos and lots of small stuff along the wall dives.

Diving Wolf Island in February on the Nortada

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Andreas S
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Very good. Nice drift dives with a lot of shark activity: Scalloped Hammerheads, Oceanic Black Tips, Galapagos Sharks and Sikies.

Diving Wolf Island in November on the Galapagos Master

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Anette S
  • Norway Norway

Really good. Saw the first schools of hammerhead sharks. It was a really strong current. almost on every dive

Diving Wolf Island in October on the Nortada

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Wang F
  • China China

excellent, but current really strong

Diving Wolf Island in September on the Galapagos Master

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Geoff C
  • Australia Australia

Sharks galore! It was great, hammerheads, Galapagos and reef sharks, as well as plenty of rays, amazing!

Diving Wolf Island in July on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • masato O
  • Japan Japan

Exellent. This point was the paradise of hammers head.

Diving Wolf Island in August on the Galapagos Aggressor III

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • seulky K
  • South Korea South Korea

Fantastic! We could see hammerhead sharks, whale shark, galapogos sharks, and so on. There were lot of sharks!

Diving Wolf Island in June on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Gary W
  • United States United States

Over the top! The largest groups of hammerheads seen here

Diving Wolf Island in March on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Steven W
  • United States United States

I have never dived a better place than Wolf Island - the quantity and variety of marine life was without peer in this world, in my opinion. This has to be the best, if not one of the best, dive sites in the world.

Diving Wolf Island in February on the Galapagos Aggressor III

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Igor T
  • United States United States

Amazing, so many seals, sharks, hammerheads (schools of 60), sea horses, octopus, lobsters, 4 different types of sharks, etc. It's like diving in an aquarium.

Diving Wolf Island in February on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Laura R
  • United States United States

Insanely amazing! Some strong currents, but it didn't matter when you get to see tons of hammerheads, Galapagos Sharks, Silkies, eels galore, spotted eagle rays, massive turtles and yellow fin tuna, and the largest schools of fish I have ever seen in my life!

Diving Wolf Island in December on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Thomas R
  • Germany Germany

amazing, great, with a lot of big stuff around

Diving Wolf Island in December on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • JAEKYUNG K
  • South Korea South Korea

at shark bay we saw lots of hammerhead sharks. land slide was great dive point too but someone said it's menslide because the current was so strong.

Diving Wolf Island in September on the Humboldt Explorer

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Jennifer R
  • United States United States

AMAZING. Big current, but the first spot we started to see the big fish...

Diving Wolf Island in August on the Galapagos Sky

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Judy O
  • New Zealand New Zealand

Hammerheads Hammerheads Hammerheads... awesome

Diving Wolf Island in August on the Galapagos Sky

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Jane S
  • United States United States

Fantastic diving, good water temp and above all, great schools of sharks!

Diving Wolf Island in August on the Humbolt Explorer

  • 7.2 Good
  • Saypraseuth M
  • France France

Challenging but rewarding (cold water and very stong current). We saw big schools of hammerheads.

Diving Wolf Island in July on the Astrea Liveaboard