click here for my ecuador movie
Wolf and Darwin islands were absolutely beautiful dives, big topography, big currents and big creatures galore (I've never had a dive briefing before that included " two divers have already been lost at this dive site this year"??? We found out later that actually three divers had died this year at that site!!!). We were lucky enough to dive with large schools of hammerheads, huge whale sharks, seal lions; we even saw orcas.
My lovely wife and i also toured the highlands of mainland Ecuador and the beautiful capital city of Quito. We really liked Ecuador.
I was then lucky enough to spend three weeks in Puerto Lopez on Ecuador' southwestern coast volunteering on a giant manta ray conservation program with Mark Harding's Project Elasmo and Dr. Andrea Marshall of the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Mega Fauna. We stayed with a great group of guys from Exploramar Diving, they're based in Quito and Puerto Lopez. Being in the water with giant mantas everyday was quite an honor, they're very curious about humans and would sometimes stay with us for 15-20 minutes at a time. When you look them in the eye it's obvious there's intelligence there. Sadly, legally sanctioned no fishing zones in and around Ecuador' national parks are not being enforced. All the diving we did was at Isla de la Plata, eighteen miles by boat from Puerto Lopez. Isla de la Plata is a national park sometimes refered to as "the poor mans Galapagos", a national park with a two mile no fishing zone around it. Yet everyday fishermen and tourists on sport fishing charters plied the waters above us as we dived. Many of the mantas we saw had terrible scars from entanglement and we cut fishing line from many individuals. We also removed hundreds of feet of abandoned fishing nets we found wrapped around the reef within five hundred yards of the national park rangers station (the guys we had to pay each day for our park entry fee). The fishermen even used the calm bay in front of the rangers station as a mooring while they repaired their nets!! It's yet another country whose marine life is being decimated by the greed to satisfy the asian market for shark and ray fins.
Hurry to Ecuador, it's a lovely country and the diving is fantastic but sadly at the rate they are fishing sharks and rays, there'll be none left in a few years.