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Darwins Arch - Ecuador

Darwins Arch is a boat accessible salt water dive site, located in Galapagos, Ecuador. This dive site has an average rating of 4.17 out of 5 from 6 scuba divers. The maximum depth is 121-130ft/37-40m. The average visibility is 91-100ft/28-30m.

Only a few of the Galapagos liveaboards have permits to dive here. Darwin and Wolf islands are an overnight cruise from the other Galapagos, this is all advanced diving and some require you have 100 ocean dives to come here.

From my log; Darwin’s Arch, schools of hammer heads in front of us, Galapagos sharks up the wall behind us and eels below us in the rocks.

Another dive; Two sharks right below us as we drop in, Nelson is following a small turtle, this part of the bottom is hard coral, over the edge it’s rocks covered with barnicals, we hold on and watch schools of hammerheads go by, some silkies and Galapagos. Nelson takes off like a shot through schools of fish, how he saw it is beyond me but there is our 1st Whale Shark.

Another dive; Darwin’s Arch, same spot as last time and the same cast of critters, schools of hammerheads and jacks parading bye, eels underneath us and I almost landed on a scorpionfish. Out in the blue we had another whale shark go under us and a turtle above.

Another dive; Darwin Arch, we decend onto the platform ( a spot on the rocks, not a training platform) and hang on waiting for some action, some hammerheads cruising over but spent more time watching the small stuff around me, clouds of fish, parrots, trumpets, hogfish, schools of jacks, an ell under me and a scorpionfish in front of me. We drift out into the blue and have schools of hammerheads go under us.

Another dive; Darwin’s Arch, Nelson drops us on the platform, we swim to the edge and there is a whale shark, when it turns away we return to rocks but it comes back and spends the whole dive with Nelson, Jamie and me, the others got blown off the reef. Sometimes it’s right at eye level and towards the end it was above us offering good back lite shots. It’s entourage includes jacks and Hammerheads. On the way up a school of hammerheads goes beneath us.

Another dive; Before breakfast I thought we might be getting a little jaded when we were discussing the geoliogy of Darwin island with Clay and ignoring the dolphins around the boat. We decend on the platform with Chris (a DM) but he’s fliting around too much so I keep an eye on Nelson (the reason you watch the DM is they are the one’s watching for whalesharks). Parades of fish going by, schools of jacks, trumpet fish, a big grouper, Judy’s yellow puffer (long story), a few hamerheads and one medium size whale shark goes over us. The next morning during breakfast we were surrounded by dolphins, by 8:30 it was Pilot whales, you see more critters here in a day than other places in a week!

From SportDivers Planets 50 Geatest Dives, #10, Is Darwin’s Arch the “best dive in the world”? If it’s big animals you crave, then yes, Darwin’s Arch is the best dive in the world. It’s got everything, really (except for macro and reefs): massive whale sharks that patrol the blue, so many turtles you’ll experience burnout, burly Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks on the safety stop, free-swimming moray eels, eagle rays and — lest we forget the stars of the show — schooling hammerheads that blot out the sun. This isn’t a list from a single destination; it’s a list from a single dive. A dive you’ll soon declare is the very best in the world. — DE

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Naser - 3/01/2019 11:00 PM
Rating Added: 5
Once in a lifetime experience...
Well worth the trip although expensive
CamiDiver - 6/24/2013 10:08 AM
Rating Added: 5
Tons of marine life... (Barracudas, tuna, eels, turtles, etc) and the biggest there... Hammerhead Sharks and Galapagos Sharks

A bit far away from the other islands, but totally worth it!!