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“Excellent Dive Company”

Academy Bay Dive Center
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Our Dive center is located right across the road from the Navy base and the main passenger pier in Puerto Ayora. If you still can't find us, look out for a bright pink lolly shop next door!
Reviewed 4 June 2014

I picked Academy Bay based on the reviews I had read. I communicated with Alice who responded promptly to all my emails. I was travelling around the islands before diving and started to hear some stories about other dive companies (inc a guy staying at my hotel who had to spend a few days in the chamber and was really weak). I emailed Alice regarding my concerns and was relieved to hear that it was 1 DM to 4 divers !

The equipment was good. Everything was professional - the briefing, the food, the transport and the crew. I like that they do not pack the boats and limit it to 8 people. The people on the boat were good fun.

As I had a previous bad dive experience and I communicated my reservations to the DM - Oscar. I think this is a very important step that some divers are missing - if you do not feel confident. Diving in the Galapagos can be different from your other dives. Currents can be strong. I booked 2 days diving with Academy Bay.

I was the person who recommended the reviewer below and I also feel that it was a hassle to get cash out while on the island especially during weekends where the ATMS are all out of money. I did manage to pay by paypal but a credit card machine would be good I did get a CD with photos and Video clips. I viewed it in the dive shop with another person from the group.

Academy Bay may cost slightly more but if you value safety then go with these guys.

1  Thank Rietva R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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147 - 151 of 224 reviews

Reviewed 29 May 2014

My husband and I chose Academy Bay Dive Center on the advice of another traveler we had met who had taken her Open Water with them. We are both Advanced Padi Divers with 60 dives each. We went diving two days in a row. First day was North Seymour and the second day was Gordon Rocks. Oscar and the rest of the crew were extremely professional. They make a point to go over all the safety information and hand signals in advance. They also had us do a test dive in calm waters to check our weight prior to the dive sites. This was great because it had been almost 2 years since our previous dives, and 7mm full length wetsuits was new for us. They help you on and off with all of the equipment, including fins and weight belts. It's truly full service :-) We were able to book all our dives on arrival to Puerto Ayora, which was also nice not to have to book in advance. They serve a small breakfast on board, as well as a snacks and a decent lunch. The boat was in great shape, and most of the equipment was decent. The visibility on the dives wasn't great, but we still managed to see black tip sharks, hammerheads, galapagos sharks, eagle rays, turtles and sea lions. The divemasters were very patient with the less experienced divers who had trouble equalizing and using too much air, but it was a little frustrating for the rest of us having to wait for what seemed like a really long time for them to start the dives. The only other issue was they only take cash, not credit card, so we were having to use the ATM frequently during our stay on the island. They supplied us with a CD that had photos from our 4 dives, but none of the photos were of us, so we were happy that we had brought our own underwater camera with us. The staff at the shop are friendly and easy to deal with. We would dive with this company again. Overall a great experience.

1  Thank WndrwmnDiver O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2014

My wife and I went with Oscar to 3 different dive sites in Galápagos. On all 4 dives the service was excelent and very professional. At Gordon Rocks, a site well known for its strong currents and schools of hammerheads, a diver felt uncomfortable just at the beginning and decided to abort her dive. Oscar took her back to the boat safely and then guided us to the best dive we've ever had. The price may be higher than other dive shops in Puerto Ayora. Paying in advance is more expensive, but you don't want to miss the chance to dive in Gordon Rocks and you must do it safely.

Regarding the snorkelling, we booked through them but the service was given by another business in San Cristobal. The boat was very small, we were too many and it felt pretty amateur. I suggest asking who will give you the service they're offering.

1  Thank Kekomixtle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2014

We chose academy bay by word of mouth. All in all it was a good trip. Dive masters pretty well do everything for you. Quite organized, pretty good English. They were able to change the battery on my comp which I was happy about. We seen a lot if what we wanted to see like hammerheads. The diving was not good via but nothing the dive company can do about that. I would go back.

1  Thank Travelling_norm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2014

I was in Puerto Ayora in end of April 2014 and decided to make a dive at this diving school. The woman at the office (not a local) spoke perfect English and was really nice.

I booked here because it was 2o-25 USD cheaper than the top rated diving school. I payed 150USD.
I decided to go to "Gorden Rocks".
The next morning everything worked with the pick up, at the port near Baltra we had to wait like 20min for the boad what was ok.
It took like 30min more on the boat to went to the diving place.

I did 30 dives in total in the last 2 years, so I m not a total beginner but not a real pro also.

The guide was excplaining us the diving sport,, and than we got in our gears.
HERE the carless of the guide/school starts.
The guide did not made buddy teams like usual in all my dives befor, so you had no person to take care of each other.
He didnt told us to check our equitment. I did cause I learned it that way and want to be safe.
The first dive was ok, the current was really strong and the visibility bad, but it was ok.

THE 2nd dive, was on of the most awful things in my life. We went down, and the visibility was allready really bad that we could not see much. After 5-10min it got so worse that I could not see any other person anymore. I tried to follow somebody but after a few meters I was completly alone.
Suddenly I couldnt breath anymore. I dont know if the equitment was bad or if I paniked. Now I was completly alone cause we didnt made buddy teams. So nobody to help me. I looked at my air. I still had more than 1200psi, so I tried my 2nd regulator, but still could not breath.
I swollowed many water, cause now I defenetly paniked. I was in 20-25 meters.
Cause I didnt knew anything else to do in this situation I filled up my BMT completly and got up to the surface really quick....

Luckely I didnt blacked out.
At the surface it took like at least 10min until the boat picked me up. The boat was in sight distance but I dont know why it was not coming. I was weaving like hell with my last little bit of energy cause the waves was really high and allways much water got in my face. On the boat I could not tell the skipper what happend cause he didnt spoke English.

So after like 10min some other people came to the boat, the also lost the guide... after 20min more the guide came. The guide DIDNT care at all the he lost all the people while his dive. He was not waiting for us or taking care at all.

At the boat I told him what happend. He was just making stupid jokes "Dont die".... and tried to assamble the oxygen emergency bottle. Unfortunately he didnt knew how to do this. So he took 10min and had to get instructions of some of the divers.
Than he gave my the oxygen for 2min and than he made fun again "How wants oxygen" to the other people of the boat.

I had headace like hell and was still feeling bad but nobody really cared. After the oxygen he just went away and prefered to flirt with some girls instead of taking care of me.....

He dindt even asked one more time after if I m ok... or how I feel.

After all of this I would suggest to anyone rather spend a few dollars more on a good diving school than to dive with such unprofessional people. It s your health you risk.

13  Thank pepe871
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
divingalapagos, Manager at Academy Bay Dive Center, responded to this reviewResponded 22 July 2014

Wow. That indeed does not sound very nice, and if you can provide me with furher details I would be very interested to look into your case as it does not sound at all like the behaviour of our guides and crew. Did you come to our office after the dive to tell us about your experience? I do not recall having been told about his event and I have spoken to all of our guides and sailor and they do not recall it either. We do not use our oxygen very often, so we remember the passengers we have to give it to. Is there any chance you confused us with another company? If you would like to send me an email to reservas@academybaydiving.com with some information and the name of the guide you had that day I would greatly appreciate it. I am sorry you had a bad dive experience in Galapagos and I hope you next one is a nicer one.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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