The enchanted islands of the Galapagos are appropriately named. Located about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, they are uniquely situated at the convergence of warm and cool water currents, a contributing factor to the amazing diversity of life found among the archipelago. After a week exploring the region both above and below the water, the dose of natural history and unique sights will take some time to fully assimilate. It was my second visit there, and perhaps not my last. I spent a week on a small vessel with 14 people and a Galapagos born guide whose transmuted much local knowledge and critical logistics for maximizing the experience. I’ll share some of the experiences and photos in the next few weeks.
I was a little concerned about swimming and diving just 7 weeks following shoulder surgery, but all went well in that regard. Thanks to my surgeon, Dr. M. Jabara in Grand Rapids, MI. Since my extensive snorkeling days in Hawaii about 25 years ago, I still had difficulty equalizing my left ear, and was a little hindered by that when trying to go deep.
For starters, this picture represents one of my favorite locations. While snorkeling, our guide led us into a labyrinth of coves connected by narrow passages into this pool filled with resting sea turtles. I did not do a count on how many were there, but there are at least 14 visible in this shot! I used the Ikelite underwater housing for the canon 5D Mark II, and the 17-40mm lens, mainly for flexibility and a wide angle view. There are many challenges to snorkeling and photography, and I often thought of the luxury of having a tank of air on my back. However, the simplicity of snorkeling is fitting for some great spontaneous moments. It was often the case that moving slowly was critical. This was especially true with the sea turtles so that they are not frightened, but that takes time, and you only have so much in one breath. Getting deep, thinking about composition, positioning, etc., well, it makes me want to go right back and do this over a second time. In general, the housing worked very well. It took a little getting used to the nobs and what they controlled, but it functioned without a flaw. While I’m happy with a few of the images, the first time around begs a second attempt. The underwater world is one of pure fascination, and I hope to explore it more in the near future.