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Inter-Ocean Tours

Trips for Divers

P.O. Box 27116
Oakland, CA 94602
travel@interocean.com
510-638-3448 / 800-345-7159
510-638-1741 Fax

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The Eastern Pacific Ocean

The largest expanse of water on the Earth, the Pacific Ocean contains the greatest diversity of marine life. Temperatures range from the 60s to the 80s as you near the equator. Islands emerging from the depth atract big animals: whale sharks, hammerheads sharks, and manta rays. Winter is the whale season for Baja, Socorro islands and Hawaii.                           
       
Baja Costa Rica & Cocos Island
Galapagos Islands Socorro Islands

East Pacific

BAJA
The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez or Sea of Cortés; locally known in the Spanish language as Mar de Cortés or Mar Bermejo or Golfo de California) is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland.The narrow sea is home to a unique and rich ecosystem. In addition to a wide range of endemic creatures, it hosts many migratory species, such as the humpback whale, California Gray Whale, manta ray and Leatherback Sea Turtle.

Baja California's cool waters offer a first glimpse of warm water fishes - puffers, surgeons and mantas. Out of La Paz, Los Islotes is famous for its sea lion  colony, and hammerheads can be seen at the seamounts. Octopus, and eels are very common. The northernmost Pacific coral reef, Cabo Pulmo, is just a 3-tank day trip from Cabo San Lucas. Surface water temperature varies from 60s in winter months to 90s during the summer. Winter is the season for whale watching in Baja.

Cabo
'Nautilus Explorer'
'Solmar V'
Mar de Cortez & Amigos del Mar
Solmar Suites & Amigos del Mar

LaPaz
Baja Expeditions 'Don Jose'

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
GalapagosThe islands made famous by Darwin are still astounding tourists on a daily basis. The Galapagos archipelago is home to some of the highest levels of endemism (species found nowhere else on earth) anywhere on the planet. About 80% of the land birds you will see, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants are endemic. More than 20% of the marine species in Galapagos are found nowhere else on earth. Favorites include the giant Galapagos tortoise, marine iguana, flightless cormorant, and the Galapagos penguin—the only penguin species to be found in the Northern Hemisphere.

97% of the land area of Galapagos is designated as National Park and visits can be made only to specific visitor sites with certified naturalist guides. The Galapagos National Park coordinates visits to these sites and carefully monitors ecological conditions. Different sites are known for specific scenery, vegetation, and wildlife. However, many species, such as sea lions, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and a variety of coastal birds such as herons, tattlers, plovers, turnstones, and whimbrels, are common at most locations. Each visitor site has a marked trail that must be respected. Most trails are less than a mile long, often passing over rough lava or uneven boulders. Some sites have “wet landings” (visitors wade to shore from skiffs) and others have “dry landings” (passengers step foot directly on dry land).

From December through May the water and air temperatures are warmer. Seas are calm. Light rain falls for a short period of time each day, but the remainder of the day tends to be very sunny. Flowers come into bloom and vegetation is more colorful. Fish are not as numerous as they are later in the year, but this is a very good time to observe birds mating. This is also the time when sea turtles nest on the beaches.

From June through November the Humboldt Current has a stronger affect on Galapagos, bringing colder water and cooler land temperatures. It also brings nutrient-rich water that attracts fish and sea birds: albatrosses arrive on Española and penguins are easier to encounter. This is the mating season for the blue-footed boobies. During this time of year clouds fill the sky but rainfall is uncommon. Winds tend to be stronger and seas a bit rougher. This is the preferred time of year for experienced divers.

Although it is possible to get to Galapagos by boat, nearly all visitors travel there by air. Flights depart from Guayaquil or Quito (via Guayaquil). Two companies currently offer flights: TAME and AeroGal. Both charge approximately $450 for a round-trip ticket from Quito ($200 for children). There are two airports in Galapagos, one on Baltra Island and the other on San Cristobal. Upon arrival, you will have to pay an entrance fee to the Park (currently $110 for adults and $55 for children) which is used to fund management and conservation in the islands (link to explanation). Returning to the US from Galapagos requires an overnight stay in either Quito or Guayaquil.

The only way to take full advantage of these wonderful sights is to dive from a liveaboard boat.  Fortunately, the boats stop to visit Darwin Station and offer some land tours, so you get the best of both above and underwater worlds. Northern islands Darwin and Wolf are the place to dive with whale sharks, hammerheads, mantas and eagle rays. Water temperature is high 70s in Northern Islands, but can drop to the 60s elsewhere. Recommended to have 5-7 mm wetsuits. Leave time to visit the Amazon Basin while you are there.

Buddy Dive 'M.Y. Wolf Buddy' and 'M.Y. Darwin Buddy'
'Galapagos Aggressor III'
'Humboldt Explorer'
DivEncounters 'Galapagos Sky'

SOCORRO ISLANDS
The Revillagigedos Archipelago, more commonly called Socorro Islands, is a group of four islands off the west coast of Mexico in the eastern Pacific Ocean. These islands have been compared to Galapagos and Cocos Island because of the big animal encounters that can be found here. The remote location and extraordinary dive experience makes these islands a favorite among scuba divers around the world. The Socorro Islands located about 250 miles south from Cabo San Lucas are called the “Mexican Galapagos” where divers experience the thrill of big animal: giant manta rays, hammerheads and seasonal humpback whales.

'Nautilus Explorer'
'Solmar V'