A whale shark swims through the open ocean in the Galapagos Islands.  The whale shark is the largest shark on Earth, but is harmless eating plankton and small fish, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island

A whale shark swims through the open ocean in the Galapagos Islands. The whale shark is the largest shark on Earth, but is harmless eating plankton and small fish. Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Galapagos shark swims over a reef in the Galapagos Islands, with schooling fish in the distance, Carcharhinus galapagensis, Wolf Island

Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis) at Wolf Island in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Scalloped hammerhead shark swims over a reef in the Galapagos Islands.  The hammerheads eyes and other sensor organs are placed far apart on its wide head to give the shark greater ability to sense the location of prey, Sphyrna lewini, Wolf Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Wolf Island

Galapagos sea lion pup, Punta Espinosa, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Fernandina Island

Galapagos Sea Lion, Fernandina Island

Bigeye trevally jacks, motion blur, schooling, Caranx sexfasciatus, Darwin Island

Bigeye jacks, Caranx sexfasciatus, Darwin Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Galapagos penguin, underwater, swimming.  Bartolome Island, Spheniscus mendiculus

Galapagos penguin, underwater, swimming. Bartolome Island, Galapagos. Spheniscus mendiculus.

Magnificent frigatebird, adult male on nest, with throat pouch inflated, a courtship display to attract females, Fregata magnificens, North Seymour Island

Magnificent Frigatebird, North Seymour Island

Hammerhead sharks swim in a school underwater at Wolf Island in the Galapagos archipelago.  The hammerheads eyes and other sensor organs are placed far apart on its wide head to give the shark greater ability to sense the location of prey, Sphyrna lewini

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Wolf Island

Magnificent frigatebird, adult female on nest, Fregata magnificens, North Seymour Island

Magnificent frigatebird, adult female on nest, Fregata magnificens, Galapagos Islands.

Hammerhead sharks, schooling, black and white / grainy, Sphyrna lewini, Darwin Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Darwin Island

Nazca booby in flight, Sula granti, Wolf Island

Nazca Booby, Wolf Island

Galapagos sea lion playing with puffer fish, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Cousins

Galapagos Sea Lion, Cousins

Darwins Arch, a dramatic 50-foot tall natural lava arch, rises above the ocean a short distance offshore of Darwin Island

Darwin's Arch, Darwin Island, Galapagos

Marine iguana, underwater, forages for green algae that grows on the lava reef, Amblyrhynchus cristatus, Bartolome Island

Marine Iguana, Bartolome Island

Galapagos sea lion on volcanic rocks, sunset, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Isla Lobos

Galapagos Sea Lion, Isla Lobos

Galapagos fur seal,  Darwin Island, Arctocephalus galapagoensis

Galapagos Fur Seal, Darwin Island

Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island

Whale Shark, Darwin Island

Galapagos sea lion playing with puffer fish, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Cousins

Galapagos Sea Lion, Cousins

Galapagos sea lion, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Sombrero Chino

Galapagos Sea Lion, Sombrero Chino

Coral hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus, Wolf Island

Coral Hawkfish, Wolf Island

Stone scorpionfish, Scorpaena mystes, Wolf Island

Pacific Spotted Scorpionfish, Wolf Island

Blue-footed booby, courtship display, Sula nebouxii, North Seymour Island

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour Island

Sally Lightfoot crab, Grapsus grapsus

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Galapagos penguin at sunset, Spheniscus mendiculus, Bartolome Island

Galapagos Penguin, Bartolome Island

Hammerhead sharks, schooling, Sphyrna lewini, Wolf Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Wolf Island

Schooling fish, Albany, James Island

Schooling Fish, James Island

Magnificent frigatebird (note blue eye ring), juvenile, Fregata magnificens, North Seymour Island

Magnificent Frigatebird, North Seymour Island

Magnificent frigatebird, adult male on nest, with raised wings and throat pouch inflated in a courtship display to attract females, Fregata magnificens, North Seymour Island

Magnificent Frigatebird, North Seymour Island

Galapagos fur seal,  Darwin Island, Arctocephalus galapagoensis

Galapagos Fur Seal, Darwin Island

Galapagos sea lion, adult male, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Darwin Island

Galapagos Sea Lion, Darwin Island

Galapagos sea lion blows a bubble, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Isla Lobos

Galapagos Sea Lion, Isla Lobos

Galapagos sea lion, Punta Espinosa, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Fernandina Island

Galapagos Sea Lion, Fernandina Island

Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis

Brown Pelican

Greater flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber, Floreana Island

Greater Flamingo, Floreana Island

Scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini, Darwin Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Darwin Island

Orange cup coral, Tubastrea coccinea, Isla Champion

Orange Cup Coral, Isla Champion

Flightless cormorant.  In the absence of predators and thus not needing to fly, the flightless cormorants wings have degenerated to the point that it has lost the ability to fly, however it can swim superbly and is a capable underwater hunter.  Punta Albemarle, Nannopterum harrisi, Phalacrocorax harrisi, Isabella Island

Flightless Cormorant, Isabella Island

Scalloped hammerhead shark, black and white / grainy, Sphyrna lewini, Wolf Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Wolf Island

Bigeye trevally jacks, schooling, Caranx sexfasciatus, Darwin Island

Bigeye Jack, Darwin Island

Black coral.  The fan is five feet in diameter and the color of the live coral is more yellow-green than black, Antipathidae, Cousins

Black Coral, Cousins

Black coral, Antipathidae, Isla Champion

Black Coral, Isla Champion

Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, North Seymour Island

Brown Pelican, North Seymour Island

Darwin Island, with Darwins Arch on the right.  Darwin Island is the northernmost of the Galapagos Islands and is home to enormous numbers of seabirds

Darwin Island

Wolf Island, with a liveaboard tour boat below sheer seacliffs, is the largest of the islands in the distant northern island group of the Galapagos archipelago, is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds.  Vast schools of sharks and fish inhabit the waters surrounding Wolf Island

Sky Dancer At Wolf Island

Booby in flight, motion blur, Darwin Island

Booby in flight, motion blurred, dusk, Darwin Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Brown pelican, waves, rocks and cliffs, sunset, Pelecanus occidentalis, Wolf Island

Brown Pelican, Wolf Island

Galapagos shark, Carcharhinus galapagensis, Wolf Island

Galapagos Shark, Wolf Island

Scalloped hammerhead shark, black and white / grainy, Sphyrna lewini, Wolf Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Wolf Island

Spotted eagle ray, Aetobatus narinari, Wolf Island

Spotted Eagle Ray, Wolf Island

Unidentified snapper, Lutjanus, Darwin Island

Lutjanus Sp., Darwin Island

Sea Turtle, underwater, black and white, Wolf Island

Sea Turtle, Underwater, Black And White., Wolf Island

Yellowtail surgeonfish, Prionurus laticlavius, Cousins

Yellow-tailed Surgeonfish, Cousins

Bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, Wolf Island

Bottlenose Dolphin, Wolf Island

Striped sea chub, schooling, Kyphosus analogous, Wolf Island

Striped Sea Chub, Wolf Island

Pacific creolefish form immense schools and are a source of food for predatory fishes, Paranthias colonus, Darwin Island

Pacific Creolefish, Darwin Island

A SCUBA diver is immersed in an enormous school of Pacific creolefish, black and white / grainy, Paranthias colonus, Darwin Island

A SCUBA diver is immersed in an enormous school of Pacific creolefish, Darwin Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Galapagos tortoise, Santa Cruz Island species, highlands of Santa Cruz island, Geochelone nigra

Galapagos Tortoise, Santa Cruz Island

Gordon Rocks, a spectacular dive site near South Plaza Island

Gordon Rocks

Galapagos sea lion, Sullivan Bay, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, James Island

Galapagos Sea Lion, James Island

Galapagos land iguana, Conolophus subcristatus, South Plaza Island

Galapagos Land Iguana, South Plaza Island

Bartolome, Bartolome Island

Bartolome Vista, Bartolome Island

Galapagos sea lion on sandy beach, sunset, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Isla Lobos

Galapagos Sea Lion, Isla Lobos

Galapagos sea lion pup, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, North Seymour Island

Galapagos Sea Lion, North Seymour Island

Galapagos penguin, perched on volcanic rocks.  Galapagos penguins are the northernmost species of penguin. Punta Albemarle, Spheniscus mendiculus, Isabella Island

Galapagos Penguin, Isabella Island

Nazca booby, Sula granti, Wolf Island

Nazca Booby, Wolf Island

Mangrove shoreline.  Mangroves have vertical branches, pheumatophores, that serve to filter out salt and provide fresh water to the leaves of the plant.  Many juvenile fishes and young marine animals reside in the root systems of the mangroves.  Punta Albemarle, Isabella Island

Mangroves, Punta Albemarle, Isabella Island

Mangrove shoreline.  Mangroves have vertical branches, pheumatophores, that serve to filter out salt and provide fresh water to the leaves of the plant.  Many juvenile fishes and young marine animals reside in the root systems of the mangroves.  Punta Albemarle, Isabella Island

Mangroves, Punta Albemarle, Isabella Island

Seacliffs, home of many seabirds, Wolf Island

Wolf Island

An inflatable boat full of adventurous divers heads towards Roca Redonda (round rock), a lonely island formed from volcanic forces, in the western part of the Galapagos archipelago

Roca Redonda, Galapagos

Boat Lammer Law lies at anchor near Isabella Island

Lammer Law At Isabella Island

Small plants have adapted to the arid condition in the Galapagos.  Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island

Blue-footed booby chick, Sula nebouxii, North Seymour Island

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour Island

Blue-footed booby, Punta Albemarle, Sula nebouxii, Isabella Island

Blue-footed Booby, Isabella Island

Scalloped hammerhead shark, black and white / grainy, Sphyrna lewini, Darwin Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Darwin Island

Hammerhead sharks, schooling, black and white / grainy, Sphyrna lewini, Wolf Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Wolf Island

Hammerhead sharks, schooling, black and white / grainy, Sphyrna lewini, Darwin Island

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Darwin Island

Yellowtail surgeonfish, motion blur, Prionurus laticlavius, Cousins

Yellowtail surgeonfish, motion blur, Prionurus laticlavius, Cousins Rock, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Schooling fish, black and white / grainy, Wolf Island

Schooling Fish, Wolf Island

Turtle, Wolf Island

Turtle, Wolf Island

Urchins on rock, black and white / grainy, Isla Lobos

Urchins On Rock, Isla Lobos

Bubbles rise from the depths of the ocean.  Black and white / grainy

Bubbles rise from the depths of the ocean. Black and white. Galapagos, Ecuador.

Encrusting sponges cover the lava reef, Cousins

Encrusting Sponges Cover The Lava Reef, Cousins

Galapagos tortoise, Santa Cruz Island species, highlands of Santa Cruz island, Geochelone nigra

Galapagos Tortoise, Santa Cruz Island