FULLY BOOKED. Nobody would deny that the Galapagos has some of the world’s most exciting 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.”

Alex adds “my most recent Galapagos trip was 2018 and I am impatiently waiting to get back. Each trip there is different, each is epic.” You can read about our last one in Alex’s words the current issue of Alert Diver magazine (from page 70), and also in Cathy Holmes’ words in BSoUP’s magazine – it was a trip nobody could keep quiet about. These write ups should give you a good idea of what to expect, and you can also see a selection of my photos here.

In addition to being known as the sharkiest place in the oceans, Galapagos 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 specific sites. It is also known for playful sealions, graceful schooling rays, curious eagle rays, plentiful turtles, mola mola and teaming schools of fish filling the water column everywhere. There are even interesting larger macro subjects like the giant hawkfish, endemic barnacle blennies, red-lipped batfish and seahorses.

It is important to state that Galapagos is not a destination for everyone. The conditions can be tough and variable. At times the water can be warm and benign, at others it is very cold (the penguins are a clue), the visibility mixed and currents are often strong and swirling. Do consider carefully if this trip is right for you before booking a place.

The workshop will again 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 recently refitted and luxury boat, with dive staff with decades of experience diving in these waters. Alex says “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 ONE day each 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.

“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 have found that this is a perfect destination for my Post Processing Workshop, which was very popular previously, with a focus on the 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 improving your underwater images.”

VITALS

Dates: 27th July to 3rd August 2020. This is considered the peak diving season in Galapagos because of the abundance of huge whale sharks.

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 $6050 USD per person, in middle and upper deck cabins the rate is $6150 USD per person.

The price for this trip is simply the standard 2020 7 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, diving and land visits etc.

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 due 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 because of the limited spaces.

Please contact Nick Longstaff at Galapagos@masterliveaboards.com and cc  nick.L@wwdas.com as for reservations and full details. Note that WWDAS are based in Thailand and that Nick works until 18:30 local time. He will deal with enquiries in the order he revieves them. Do not email twice because it can bump your email to the back of the queue in their system!