A Travellerspoint blog

Swimming with the Sharks

sunny 32 °C

Our Canadian home overlooks the ocean and we often enthuse about the aquatic life we view from our windows. But here, in the warm equatorial waters surrounding the Galapagos islands, a few hundred seals and sea lions, or an occasional pod of killer whales or dolphins, is just kids’ stuff. More than a thousand sea-lions dominate the harbour and the streets of Puerto Banquerizo Moreno, the tiny capital of San Cristobal island. Try asking this lot to move if you want to get down to your boat…
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The harbour is just jammed with sea life, and at times it’s also jammed with cruise ships. But, while many people enjoy cruising, we independent types prefer to take the paths less travelled. So we jumped aboard a speedboat together with a small group of adventurers to snorkel here in the crystal clear waters at Kicker Rock off the north coast of San Cristobal…
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Puffer fish and turtles surrounded us as we stopped at a deserted beach to don wetsuits and masks in preparation for our dive…
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And then we were off to the deep waters and undersea canyons for an experience of a lifetime…
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This Jacques Cousteau world is beyond description. Words cannot convey the incredible joy of being part of the undersea ballet: diving, dancing and playing amongst sea-lions and giant turtles…
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Here's James chasing a couple of fleet-finned turtles...
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And we found ourselves swimming alongside shoals of multi-hued fish: fish that were more exotic; more colourful; more varied, and infinitely more numerous than those in the tropical fish tanks at the world’s best aquariums. These giant leopard rays simply flapped their wings and soared off into the depths as we approached ...
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Perhaps the most amazing thing about the wildlife in the Galapagos islands is that it is not really wild at all. The creatures on land, sea and in the air have no fear of man. Birds eat off our breakfast table without flinching, sea-lions and iguanas expect us to step over or around them on the streets and beaches, while inquisitive fish swim up to peer at us through our masks.

Vivid sea anemones and sea urchins, together with numerous multi-coloured aquatic plants, grow in the undersea canyons of Kicker Rock like exotic alpine flowers, and we spent nearly two hours watching millions of brilliantly hued fish grazing their undersea pastures. And then, just as we were getting ready to climb back aboard, a giant shoal of bait fish as dense as a thundercloud appeared in the water just a few feet beneath us…
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Within seconds a feeding frenzy began. Sharks and sea-lions pounded time and again into the living ball, tearing it apart…
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As the voracious predators crashed through the mass they twisted and turned with lightning speed, grabbing mouthfuls of fry, but as soon as each attack was over the ball reformed to await the next onslaught. On and on it went until it was time for us to leave this magical sight. These fabulous undersea images were taken by Juan our knowledgeable guide who photographed our entire expedition, but mere pictures cannot compare with the incredible memories that we have of the day we dived with the sharks in the Galapagos.
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Posted by Hawkson 17:24 Archived in Ecuador

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Comments

I am in awe! it is hard to imagine what an experience like this must have been. May you continue safely and joyously on this wondrous journey. See you soon.xoxo

by trudy

Wondrous indeed, Trudy! Best yet!

by Joyce

You both are fearless. Like Trudy I am in awe. What a blessing. Maybe one of the sea lions will have a cousin out on your rock. Listen for its greeting when you return to your magic Island.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Phenomenal! We're having parallel experiences, but the Galapagos trumps Tulum.
Pinch yourselves - can this be real?

by millerburr

Fabulous! All that with only snorkels? Heaven.
Must be the warm weather that makes those sea lions so docile. Wouldn't want to get that close to any of the Entrance Island group.

by R and B

So enjoying your blog. What an amazing and memorable time you are having. Stay safe xxx

by Vix

Photos so riveting that I almost expected to look out my window to see a leopard ray swim past. Juan has a great eye for composition.

Those sea lions don't look quite as noisy as the Entance Island lot. Were they?

by Tom

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