Our adventure that early morning began at a visitor site called Buccaneer’s Cove in Santiago Island. After a short panga (raft) ride along the coast, we arrived at the designated spot where we would begin with our main activity for the morning – deep water snorkeling in Galapagos. Buccaneer’s Cove is one of the most beautiful places throughout the entire archipelago because of its particular geography. The location is pretty remarkable, mainly due to its towering cliffs of ash that have an array of different colors. Along with this geological spectrum are formations that, with just a little imagination, one can easily perceive as a praying monk or a bishop or even an elephant.
Conditions were not ideal upon arriving at the island, as there was a bit of a current with some small waves that kept throwing us off. Visibility within and outside of the water, however, was not affected that much and allowed us to see through almost to the very bottom. The water temperature was really comfortable as well! We started at our usual spot, near the beach, and continued to swim along the side of the big cliff or rock wall. Along the way, we got to see several different kinds of fish and also got to explore a dark and fun cave that’s nearby. This cave serves as a perfect adventure for our group because it goes into the side of the island deep enough to escape the sunlight, but it still remains a safe hole for everyone to go in and out of.
We were finally about to reach the spot at the end of the cliff (where we normally get out of the water to board the pangas and head back to Santa Cruz II Cruise) but at that precise moment, right before getting there and out of nowhere, we were surrounded by Galapagos white tip sharks all of the sudden.
The sharks were lurking around pretty deep at about 20 or 25 feet from the surface, so it was hard to count them accurately. The fact that most of them were coming and going did not help at all either. But at one point we counted 15 of them in total! One must note that Galapagos white tip sharks tend to be curious and gentle creatures, often approaching swimmers quite close but never with the intention of harming them – as was the case when we found ourselves floating right over them! They are also nocturnal and feed primarily on crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, and octopus (among other things), so when we saw them we knew weren’t lunch.
Nevertheless, it was an amazing spectacle to watch these sharks swim about in their natural habitat and right under our feet while deep water snorkeling in Galapagos. We were all in awe, respectfully contemplating them from a safe distance; but there was still some tension floating about in the air… or should I say tension in the water?