Snorkeling is a big part of a Galapagos trip, so we were definitely surprised when only about half of our group decided to go for it. After checking out pictures in advance and reading lots of trip reports, we were pretty excited and even stocked up on some gear – including a buoyancy vest for Vinod! He hadn’t spent much time in the water previously, but the vest gave him the confidence he needed to accomplish his dream of swimming with penguins.
We had six opportunities to snorkel on our trip (three from the dinghy and three beach snorkels), and we went out for the first five. Let me preface the snorkeling descriptions by saying how tricky it is to take shots under water! You’re moving, the fish are moving, the display is too dark to see, and the mask eliminates the ability to look through the viewfinder. We ended up with a lot of shots of beautiful fish tails and some fantastic memories!
Our first snorkel was at Gardner Bay, and we were excited to find a couple of sea lions who wanted to play! We were just getting used to using the camera underwater, so no real amazing wildlife shots from this snorkel, but we did get my trip favorite of the two of us.
Next up was Devil’s Crown – revered as the best snorkeling in the Galapagos, and it didn’t let down. There was a minute of panic in the beginning when another snorkeler got scared right after entering the water, and the guide went rushing off to help her. We got through it and were once again well-rewarded.
A beautiful blue Starfish
Sea Lions (yep, they were that close to my leg!)
Our guide Juan swimming with a Sea Lion.
White-tipped Reef Shark (we saw the full shark, but could only seem to catch half of it in our photos)
Our next snorkel was at Urbina Bay and was full of Sea Turtles! This one is swimming with a pair of sergeantmajor fish.
This parrotfish deserves a mention as well, since it was my most photogenic underwater subject.
At this point we miss another snorkel full of sea turtles because we, once again, forgot to replace the memory card in the camera before heading out at Punta Morena. It was a bit choppy there and consequently murky under the water, so it was the best day to leave it behind.
Our last snorkel was at Puerto Egas.
That black missile toward the top is a penguin!!
Here he is up close and blurry.
Vinod’s one and only underwater photo was of a migrant sea turtle.