I recently completed my open water diver (OWD) and advanced open water diver (AOWD) scuba diving certifications in the Galapagos.
I did my SNSI (Scuba Nitrox Safety Instructions) scuba diving certifications with Chalo Tours in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island.
Since there is no swimming pool on San Cristobal, all of my dives were in the ocean, off the pier, at La Pedrial, which is also a dock for ships coming in with supplies from the mainland. La Pedrial is the only designated area for scuba diving certification on San Cristobal.
I only dived 5 metres at La Pedrial. Not a big deal because I was just training. There isn’t much wildlife here. There are a few fish species and playful sea lions that will get in your way sometimes.
The night dive at La Pedrial was pretty cool. I saw a large Manta Ray looking up at it from the bottom. I saw puffer fish and caught a few lobsters. I released the lobsters.
The best dives were when I was completing my advanced course and deep water dives at Kicker Rock. I did two dives there in one day. I went 31 metres deep, saw sea turtles, blacktip sharks, stingrays, sea lions, and plenty of beautiful fish.
I stared up at the mountain that was Kicker Rock. The sun’s white light pierced the water and turned blue as it went deeper. From here I could see the silhouettes of fish and sea turtles hovering near the ocean surface.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see the bad boys: hammerheads. I did see them at Gordon Rocks.
SNSI vs PADI
I chose the SNSI certifications because it was cheaper than PADI. SNSI lends the scuba diving book to read, whereas with PADI, you need to buy the book (from what I was told).
The SNSI course cost for OWD and AOWD was $250 each, not including any dives in Kicker Rock. Kicker Rock is an extra $100. Just speak with the owner, Chalo, and see if he can give you a packaged price if you do both courses and Kicker Rock.
The PADI OWD course starts around $500 in the Galapagos. Then you’ll have to pay more for AOWD. In other words, the SNSI course is half the price of PADI on San Cristobal.
From my understanding, SNSI and PADI are similar in the training provided. PADI is more prominent in the scuba diving sport. To me it doesn’t matter, I’m not going to become a Guinness World Record diver.
I’m not sure if I’m going to do any cross certifications. I just want to see cool stuff instead of watching Animal Planet.