South oceanic sunfish at Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela, Galapagos
Galápagos penguin at Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela, Galapagos
Marine Iguana at Cabo Douglas, Fernandina, Galapagos
Harlequin Wrasse at Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela, Galapagos
East Pacific green turtle at Punta Moreno, Isabela, Galapagos
This little cove was home to at least eight turtles. For years I wanted to take a split image of a turtle breathing on the surface. I followed this massive friend around for about half an hour. I missed two opportunities and got the shot at the “third breath”. This turtle was the big boss in the pond because it demonstrated a territorial behaviour towards the smaller turtles. The visibility was rubbish, so the photos are not great. However, I’ve got them if anybody needs them.
Brown Pelican at Punta Moreno, Isabela, Galapagos
This bird followed me for some time, very interested in what I do snorkelling around with that big black box.
Panamic cushion stars, Mosquera, Galapagos
The Panamic cushion stars (Pentaceraster cumingi) are indigenous and common in the shallow waters around central and southern islands of the Galápagos archipelago. I mean they were everywhere. It was not that difficult to find them in a pleasing formation on the Day 1 when we dove alongside Islota Mosquera between North Seymour and Baltra.
Hammerhead wall at the Landslide, Wolf Island, Galapagos
The Landslide appeared to be our most popular dive site at the Wolf Island. We usually checked the Eagle rays and then continued to the hammerheads enjoying the ripping current. Unfortunately, the breathtaking scenery was ruined by a thermocline which blurred the view and renders the images unusable. I descended beyond the edge of a sloping wall to approximately 25 metres to get deeper below the thermocline and to capture enough of the hammerheads without the blur.
Hammerheads at Darwin Island, Galapagos
It was getting late. When the sun gets low above the horizon and the wind makes the surface choppy, the light does not have much chance to penetrate the water. Only four of was (I think Damien, Theresa, Nadya) out of usual seven were up for this dive. Shortly after negative entry, we encountered a big school of jacks. My three buddies went to check them out. I felt the low light would not suit a good picture. I stuck with our dive guide Juan Carlos and gave the others a few moments with the Jacks. As it took some time Juan Carlos and I moved closer to the reef to find a good spot for watching the hammerheads. And they arrived. One, two, five, eight, fifty… There were moments I did not know where to turn my camera as they were everywhere. Over my head. From left. Right. Behind my back. I just screamed through the regulator when I thought I got a shot. This took good fifty minutes, then a nudge to the shoulder scared me to death. Hammerhead? No, Juan Carlos reminds me it is time to go up. My buddies were already on the boat. It turned out that they were swept by current as they took pictures of the jacks and they had to resurface after nine minutes as the current carried them into the dangeous rocky area (deadly Sector #1). Thanks to all of them for spending almost an hour on the boat waiting for the two of us. Juan Carlos and I were extatic, the three were tired and longing to go back to the boat. Juan Carlos called this the dive of the year so far. I do not have such an experience to compare but it certainly was mental!
Secret Cave, Wolf Island, Galapagos
The Secret Cave at the Wolf Island is formed by a partially submerged lava tube. A lava tube is a natural conduit formed by flowing lava which moves beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow. The entrance into the Secret cave is submerged as is the majority of the cave. There are two pockets of air in the Secret Cave. The smaller one – a dome with a diameter of perhaps 2 metres and then a large one, which feels like a proper underground hall within a cave. The large hall serves as a kind of sanctuary for sealions. They find a relaxingly cool place inside away from annoying flies. Our guide Solon assumed the role of a model and he managed to strike this beautiful pose at the entrance, after good five minutes of moving around without breathing.
Pacific white-spotted eagle ray, Wolf Island, Galapagos
I spent the last two days waiting for the right opportunity to photograph the spotted eagle rays at the Wolf Island. They love to glide in the current away from the reef and back again in an effortless move. If treated with the respect they will happily hang above divers’ heads for few moments. It took them 6 dives with us before one of them assumed the bomb-deployment position above my head. This image is special to me. I took a very similar photograph on the same place five years ago and that picture made it to a double-page spread in a national diving magazine. Although the eyes of the eagle ray were blurry because I had the aperture way too opened. Believe me, I was determined not to make the same mistake again. With f/19 the eye is pin-sharp!
Snorkelling with whales at Darwin Island, Galapagos
As soon as we arrived to the Darwin island we were astonished by its life teaming waters. Dolphins played around the boat and we saw an occasional breach of a whale from a small pod of what we thought were pilot whales. After the second dive, we convinced our skipper to take us snorkelling with the pod. We tried to quietly slide into the water from the zodiac. The pod has some baby whales amongst themselves so they were quite vary. The males came closer to us showing their size, standing upright in the water and blowing bubbles. Time to get back into the boat. When I looked closer on the images I believe these were no pilot whales, I guess these are False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens).