I have made a lot of dives in the Galapagos Islands, and one of my favorite creatures to see underwater is the sea turtle. The ungainly-looking animals are actually quite hydrodynamic and can navigate the surge, currents and waves to graze on algae along the reef. These two turtles were encountered at remote Wolf Island (Wenman Island) in the far northern reaches of the Galapagos archipelago. In the first image, a school of ever-present Pacific creole fish surrounds the turtle; its distinctive tail gives away that it is a male. Cheers and thanks for looking!
I have posted 575 new images shot on my latest Galapagos Islands diving trip, a 15-day run on the liveaboard M/V Sky Dancer. We had phenomenal encounters with schools of hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini), literally by the hundreds and thousands on nearly all dives at Wolf and Darwin, not to mention good luck with Galapagos sharks (Carcharhinus galapagensis), Galapagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and brief looks at marine iguanas underwater. Diving in the central islands was OK, not great, although we did have good fish displays at Cousins and clean water and sunlight at Gordon Rocks.
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.
Image ID: 16246
Species: Scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini
Location: Wolf Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos tortoise, Geochelone spp., an endemic species of the Galapagos islands, is thought to have arrived in the Galapagos archipelago on rafts of debris. As it became distributed throughout the islands, it evolved into 14 distinct species of which 11 are still in existence and are endangered. In some species of Galapagos tortoise the shell is distinctly shaped (e.g., saddle-backed, domed) depending on whether the food sources require a head-raised or head-lowered posture during feeding. Galapagos tortoises can weigh up to 600 lbs with a shell five feet across, and live up to 150 years. For many years, sailors visiting the Galapagos islands would collect Galapagos tortoises and store them aboard ship, since the tortoises could live for months without food or water and would constitute a good source of meat for long voyages. It is thought that perhaps 200,000 tortoises perished this way.
These free-ranging, wild Galapagos tortoises were photographed in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island (Indefatigable).
The Galapagos Islands, an Ecuadorian archipelago straddling the equator in the Eastern Pacific, is a remarkable underwater paradise. The central and southern islands hold a wealth of temperate as well as tropical marine creatures due to the mixing of currents there. However, it is the northern islands of Darwin and Wolf that divers typically look forward to the most on a Galapagos dive trip. These two islands, along with the smaller Roca Redonda, are the best places in the Galapagos — and indeed one of the best places in the world — to encounter whale sharks. On our first dive at Darwin in 1996 the group had left me behind, riding the current back to the anchorage, while I spent my air exploring the area where we were dropped at Darwin’s Arch. I met up with a young whale shark who happened along and allowed me to swim alongside him for 20 minutes taking photos. Eventually the shark and I caught up with the rest of the dive group, and as each diver noticed us he would swim over and join. Eventually everyone got a good look at the huge shark.
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.
Image ID: 01520
Species: Whale shark, Rhincodon typus
Location: Darwin Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
During our several visits to Darwin Island (we’ve made three trips there in ’96, ’98 and ’06), we have dove at the Arch repeatedly. In 1996 our group saw a whale shark on every dive there including a final dive at the arch was highlighted by a visit from an enormous whale shark, probably 40 feet or more in length:
For some reason many visitors to this web site have been searching for boobie photos. We simply do not understand the intense interest in photos of boobies, or in boobies in general. Boobies are just a bunch of seabirds and not even particularly rare. The blue boobies seem to elicit the most interest — visitors seem amazed that they come in a deep blue color, naturally with no cosmetic alteration necessary. (They also come in brown and red, and some even have masks!) In spite of all the boobie traffic, however, nobody buys the boobie photographs, they just furtively look and move on. We have yet to license one of our boobies to anyone, until today when we finally sold a boobie photo, a fine art print in fact. So we are no longer amateur boobie photographers. We can honestly say that we proudly photograph boobies all over the world, professionally. You know the look: beautiful boobies, endless white sand beaches and glamorous island settings. Big ones, small ones, perky ones, drab ones, bodacious ones. We’ve been thinking of starting up a specialty website, www.firstclassboobies.com or www.worldsbestboobies.com.
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