FULLY BOOKED. Alex says “I have wanted to dive Galapagos as long as I have been diving. It is definitely one of the world’s bucket list dive destinations. I went to Galapagos  (on my non-diving) honeymoon and organised a workshop there is 2016, which in the end I was not able to attend because of family reasons. I was most jealous of the group on that trip who had a mind-blowing trip. So we’re going back!”

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Few would argue that the Galapagos has some of the world’s most exciting big animal diving. It is a destination that is deservedly on almost every diver’s must-see list. To quote Simon Rogerson, editor of Scuba Magazine, “Hammerheads, mantas, dolphins, whale sharks: the pelagic A-listers are all regulars at the Galapagos buffet, and the rest of the guest list can be just as impressive. The parade of fish exceeds that of any other diving destination I have visited.”

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This is also the realm of diving dinosaurs, in the shape of the marine iguanas which can be photographed feeding on algae underwater in the shallows at certain sites. It is also known for playful sealions, graceful schooling mobula rays, curious eagle rays, plentiful green turtles, mola mola and teaming schools of fish filling the water column everywhere. There are interesting larger macro subjects like the red-lipped batfish and seahorses.

A pair of young Galápagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) playing in shallow water. Floreana Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. East Pacific Ocean

It is important to state that the Galapagos is not the perfect destination for everyone, at times the water can be cool and currents can be strong and swirling. This workshop trip will also take in a couple of land tours (70-200mm is the perfect lens for land) to see the endemic species that have made these islands famous since the time or Charles Darwin. This workshop is an extended 10 day itinerary.

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This workshop will be on the excellent Galapagos Master liveaboard, you can read much more about the liveaboard, their typical service and days aboard here. This is a newly refitted and luxury boat, with dive staff with decades of experience diving in these waters. Please note that unlike my normal workshops, where we have total control of the itinerary and change plans to make the most of the conditions, in Galapagos, even when you charter the whole boat, the itinerary is fixed and agreed well ahead of time with the National Park. The itinerary for this trip will spend FOUR days at Darwin and Wolf Islands (the place where anything can show up and usually does), and then spend the others days exploring through the other islands for many of Galapagos’s specialities.

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“Galapagos is an amazing, but challenging destination for underwater photography. Fantastic subject matter is everywhere, but conditions are unpredictable and changeable,” says Alex. “As I result I feel this is a perfect destination to launch my Post Processing Workshop. Although I will cover photographic techniques and tips for big animals, schooling fish and shooting in currents and surge on this workshop, the main focus will be processing of underwater images in Lightroom and Photoshop. We’ll start with the basics and build up to more advanced techniques that really suit underwater images. This is not a generic Lightroom course, but one totally focused on underwater images.”

Three Galápagos green turtles (Chelonia agassizii) feeding on seaweed growing on lava rocks in sunny shallow water. Floreana Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. East Pacific Ocean. The Galápagos green turtle (Chelonia agassizii) used to be classified as a subspecies of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and there remains debate about whether a valid species.

The Galapagos Master has slighting different prices for different cabins, although the differences between cabins and the prices is small. Places in the lower deck cabins are $7275 USD per person, in middle and upper deck cabins the rate is $7425 USD per person. The price for this trip is simply the standard 2018 10 day charter rate for the Galapagos Master, plus a 200 USD workshop fee. This price does not include your flights to Galapagos, a US$100 Galapagos National Park Tax, a US$20 Ingala Transfer Card, a US$35 Hyperbaric Chamber Fee, Nitrox (US$100-150), alcoholic drinks (prices vary, with beer starting at US$2). Included are all meals & accommodations during the cruise, tea, fresh coffee from our espresso machine, fruit juice & soft drinks, up to 30 dives, minimum 2 land visits etc.

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A 30% deposit is required to confirm your place. A further 20% will be payable at 6 months before the trip (which is also a good time to sort out flights etc) and the final balance is payable 2 months before departure.

As with all my trips, non-photographer partners are very welcome to join this exciting diving expedition, but there is no reduction in the price of the workshop for being a non-photographer.

Please contact Colm Donaghy at Galapagos@masterliveaboards.com, for reservations and full details and conditions.