This morning started with an early wake-up at 6 am for everyone with an unreal sunrise. The boat was split into two today as half of us went diving, and the other half stayed on the boat for some study hall and much deserved free time.
For those of us that went diving, we ate some of Trevor’s delicious chocolate chip pancakes, grabbed our dive bags that we packed the night before, and hopped in the water taxi. Rather than the masses of wild chickens from the Panama and the Caribbean, there were sea lions and marine iguanas scattered everywhere across the pier – much cuter. Gill, Louis, Mac, Marina, Amanda, Gabe, Elle, and I hopped on the bus and drove for about 45 before we reached our dive boat. The drive was a mix of lush green hills and plains with the occasional sighting of the ocean off in the distance. We drove along one of those long, straight, hilly roads for a while before having to stop for a local pedestrian – a giant tortoise!! The little guy was HUGEprehistoric dinosaur-looking dude. Anyways, when we reached the pier on the northern side of the island, the clumsy sea lion didn’t fail to entertain us while we waited for Edison and the rest of the crew to load us onto the boat. We hopped on, drove past lava rock cliffs, and stopped for a quick checkout dive – bonus! We then motored over to our dive spot – Gordon Rocks. We hopped in the water and were finally diving in the Galapagos!! Something we’ve all been looking forward to since before day 1. The first thing that set this dive apart from anything else was the insane thermocline. As we started descending, it felt like we hit a wall. Nice, warm, tropical water on top with what felt like actual ice water slowly inching through our wetsuits about 10m down. Our first dive started off somewhat quiet until everything decided to come out at once. First, we saw a giant green sea turtle with 4 or 5 fish eating algae off of its shell, then 2 sea lions came out of nowhere to check us out and hung around for a couple of minutes. Then – the sharks!! We saw one white tip, then another, then a hammerhead off in the distance, some more turtles, a school of tuna (maybe?), some more sharks, until there was a shark in every direction we looked!!! As my dive buddy, Mac, and I sat at 5m for our safety stop, there were about 6 white tips swimming right at our feet. In another setting, this has the possibility to be terrifying, but we were floating there in awe of how beautiful and mellow these sharks were. We came out of the water, and none of us were able to contain our excitement.
We all hung out on the boat and had some cinnamon rolls and tea while anxiously awaiting dive #2. As soon as we jumped in, there were 10 – 20 sea lions all swimming up to us, around us, showing off with their flips and bubbles. It was surprising that our screams of excitement didn’t scare them off, but it almost as if they were as excited to see us as we were to see them. Although we could have stayed with them for hours, the hunt for sharks began about 10 minutes in. The current was pretty strong, so as we were drifting along the wall, Edison got our attention, and we turned around, and there it was. A SCHOOL OF HAMMERHEADS. A wall of them. 30+. Beautiful. Unreal. Honestly, the best moment of my life. I’m still not over it. We kept swimming, and it kept getting better – more sharks, more turtles, a couple of sea lions, and just walls of fish. We motored back to the pier and spent the bus ride back gawking about how unreal of a day that was.
We got back to Argo and heard that everyone on the boat had had a pretty eventful day as well. Tim and Frankie’s ongoing competition of who has spotted the most wildlife had split the boat in half, and there was allegedly a day-long, very heated, very funny debate/competition about who had seen, and who was going to see the most before we pull up anchor in the Galapagos. From what I understand, Nat and Frankie formed an alliance, so Ellie and Una took Tim’s side, which sparked uproar throughout Argo.
While we were eating dinner, we received some very exciting news. An extra 2 days in the Galapagos!! This means ANOTHER DIVE DAYparty party party. Anyways, we’re still not sure if our destination will end up being in Tahiti or Fiji, but honestly, two pretty stellar options.
Galapagos, I love you, and I’m sure I’ll be back soon.
3: Best dive group!
4: another shark
5: Marina and friends
6: along the wall
7: Una and Thea
8: Best photo of the trip! (taken by Mac)
9: Sunrise buddies! Me, Una, and Ellie
10: Felipe and the sunrise
12and13: The reason some of us are up at 6 every morning
14: sunset buddies
15: Blue sea star
16: SCHOOL OF HAMMERHEADS