Galapagos Dive: Tagus Cove, Isabela

August 19, 2003 - Tagus Cove, Isabela Island (Dive 5)

Max Depth: 97'
Dive Time: 45 min, 12:30
Temperature: 63°F
Nitrox PO2: 32%
Camera: D60, 50/2.5 macro, +1 diopter, 2 x Ikelite DS-125

We descended to around 100', under the thermocline, where the water was clear. The first 70' of water or so was very murky. There was no current, and we swam around the point into Tagus Cove, accompanied (as usual) by a few playful sea lions. Even though I know that 100' is not a deep dive for sea lions, I am always extremely impressed when I see a sea lion at that depth. We saw many camotillo, an endemic fish only found in the western islands of the Galapagos, three pacific sea horses, and many other fish.

Photographed a bravo clinid -- both male, and female. They're really neat looking.

August 19, 2003 - Isabela Island (Dive 6)

Max Depth: 100'
Dive Time: 45 min, 16:30
Temperature: 68°F
Nitrox PO2: 32%
b Camera: D60, 50/2.5 macro, +1 diopter, 2 x Ikelite DS-125

Like the last dive at Tagus Cove, we had to descend below the thermocline for good visibility. During the descend, there were allegedly mola molas swimming around, but because I flipped over and kicked straight down to the bottom, I missed them. :( Sea horses were plentiful here, as were turtles (there always seemed to be one above us somewhere) and sea lions.

August 19, 2003 - Isabela Island (Dive 7, Night)

Max Depth: 50'
Dive Time: 45 min, 19:55
Temperature: 70°F
Nitrox PO2: 32%
Camera: D60, 50/2.5 macro, +1 diopter, 2 x Ikelite DS-125

AMAZING night dive. As soon as we left the Sky Dancer on the panga, I noticed that we were leaving trails of bright blue/green sparks. The dinoflagellates were amazing, and I almost didn't want to turn on my light when I entered the water.

We dropped down to 50' and worked our way around the wall into a large cave literally filled with boulders, black/green sea turtles, diamond rays, nudibranchs, and sea lions. The sea lions were using our lights to hunt fish, and I started to feel a sense of guilt every time I illuminated a fish. We saw an eagle ray in the cave as well, and lots of tiny little worms were swimming around in the water. I was glad that all of my bodily orifices were covered!

We surfaced in the cave, and in the opening to the outside world, the stars gleamed brightly, with an exceptionally bright Mars exactly centered in the archway. Next week, Mars will be the closest to Earth it has been in 50,000 years (and for the forseeable future -- something like 200,000 years from now), and its redness cast a shimmering trail on the water normally reserved for celestial objects like the moon and sun. As we left the cave, the sky's vastness embraced us, the milky way plainly splashed in an arc directly above us. It was certainly one of the best night dives I have yet to experience.