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16TH February 2010

Explorer - Sport

Up close with hammerheads: Galapagos dives


Sharks are cool. Really

I’ve gone nuts for oxygen! It was a gradual attraction, I’ll admit. We have been to so many wonderful places in the world, and I haven’t have the proper training to get underwater it seemed like a waste. When I was booked to the Galapagos last fall, I was determined no to miss that one.

A word about training: do it. I was trained by some of the best, Capt. Saam right here I Stamford, CT runs a sick three Saturdays NAUI class that had me off and running. Don Lapore kicked my butt all over the Weeki Watchi Springs (they filmed Sea Hunt there- it was like coming home to my western PA sit-com roots) and I was ready for the Galapagos, or so I thought.

For those that have not been, I can’t say enough about a Galapagos trip. Start with the fact that Darwin thought up Darwinism there. Adapt or die. Be strong or die. Be lucky or die. And eventually, if you are all those things, grow old and die. And you win!

I kicked off the back of the Scuba Iguana boat my first time at Cousins Rock. Bam!100 tuna in my face, swimming like they were late for work. Reason soon to follow: 50 hammerhead sharks right behind them. I felt like I was on the track at the Indy 500 of finned fish! We sank like stones (not quite, I don’t equalize well) and we at ~30M pretty quick. We come around a corner and? what’s this? guys from national geographic that my dive partner hadn’t seen in 6 months. So they strike up a conversation, at 30M under cousins rock, about their latest project with seahorses. And there are tow of them now! I was so overwhelmed I consumed 2,800 psi within a half hour, which is an embarrassing rookie performance. But I was a rookie, in the Galapagos, with the greatest collection of mammals, fish, currents, and friends one could imagine.

The trip just keep getting better after that. We night dived in Academy bay, hit Gordons Rock, Cousins again, Floreana, and then Gordons. All the while I felt I was in the most serious, capable hands of Richard and Pepo and the crew from Iguana. Diving is serious stuff, and the Galapagos is doubly so. If you are lucky enough to go, be prepared. And be prepared to have a blast.

If you go
» Scuba Iguana– just the best
» Galapagos Hotel– adjacent, and awesome
» Zarapata Caf?-La Panga– food, lave rocs, and Jack Johnson, best pool players in the pacific. Bring your wallet!

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