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  • Writer's pictureEryn

Below the Surface of the Galápagos Islands

A sea lion underwater near the surface swims toward the camera, blowing bubbles through its nose

Sitting above water in our thick wetsuits, it's hard to believe that we will soon jump into the home of almost 450 fish species. Once the cold water engulfed us, however, this quickly became reality when we immediately saw the flourishing aquatic life of the Galápagos Islands. Colorful parrotfish surrounded us, decorating the shallows. Yellow-tailed surgeonfish swam in schools, each hungrily nibbling on algae. Sparkling black striped salema fish swam in even greater schools, moving in perfect synchronization. Amongst all of these fish, I found the blunt-head triggerfish to be one of the most impressive. Swimming in a pair, they displayed such incredible blue colors. Being rather large and having a mean-looking face, they were a little intimidating too!

A school of yellow-tailed surgeonfish with their neon yellow tails swimming in the turquoise waters of the Galapagos
A school of yellow-tailed surgeonfish displaying their brightly colored tails
A pair of blue blunthead triggerfish swimming one after another in the turquoise water of the Galapagos
A pair of blunthead triggerfish with their dazzling blue colors

We also saw graceful golden cow-nose rays, slowly following each other in a fever, or what is called a group of stingrays. Though they most often simply glide by, they can decide to pick up speed and chase each other! Another sea creature we encountered was the peaceful green sea turtles who seem to live their lives at a rather slow pace as well. They spend most of their time eating, always seeming to be hungry. When directing our gaze downwards toward the bottom of the shallows, we at times spotted sleepy sharks resting in the sand. Most often we caught them in a hurry, however, only catching a glimpse of them as they zoomed past!

A fever of golden cownose rays swimming beneath us in the turquoise water of the Galapagos
A fever of golden cownose rays swimming beneath us
A green sea turtle with a jellyfish in its mouth in the turquoise water of the Galapagos
A green sea turtle as it nibbles on what appears to be the remains of a jellyfish

Apart from the common sights of this magical underwater world, on a few fortunate occasions, we encountered sea lions. With their huge, black pearly eyes, they enchantingly gazed at us with such curiosity. Blowing bubbles in your face and twirling in the water with elegance, they were so playful towards us humans!

After a long swim we do come out shivering, but the underwater world dazzled us. It was definitely all worth the cold.


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