On Flashback Fridays I reflect back on some of my past travels and travel mishaps before I started this blog: #FlashbackFri
“There aren’t going to be any sharks, are there?” I was about to be dropped off a boat for some snorkling, a slightly scary distance off the coast of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos archipelago. As I have been somewhat traumatized by the film Jaws since the tender age of four I am not very keen on swimming in the ocean at the best of times. But when the boat captain answered that there could indeed be the odd Galapagos shark around these waters and that the bay on the other side of the island is called Shark Bay, I nearly pooped myself. He tried to calm me down and told me that they only feed at night and are not very big. Which didn’t really calm me down I have to say (I must have sensed that Wikipedia begs to differ and states that a Galapagos shark can get up to 4m big and are indeed known to behave aggressively towards humans). But I had a plan…

galapagosShark Bay

Our boat, which I didn’t really want to leave

…I would swim like mad to the coast and then just snorkel right next to the rocky cliff, so that I could hop on the rocks if a Galapagos shark came anywhere near me. What could possibly go wrong? So I hesitantly jumped into the water, started seeing lovely little non-carnivorous fish, and felt a little less anxious. But then it happened. I saw a huge dark shadow swimming underneath me.

What I thought I saw (source)

I couldn’t work out exactly what it was, but my instinct was that it’s gotta be a Galapagos shark and it is going to eat me. My life passed in front of my eyes. It was a good life, but wait a minute. Why is Chris looking so excited? He looked at me and shouted something with his snorkel still in his mouth: “Sheeal, sheeeal.” What the heck is a sheeal? I checked again and then I saw it too – a rather big but lovely seal that now swam right towards me. He looked into my eyes, smiled and swam away again.

What I actually saw (source)

What happened next was even more special, as all of the sudden I was surrounded by cheeky little Galapagos penguins that also stared at me curiously. From that moment I felt safe as I knew that I had my own troop of little bodyguards in tuxedos to look after me. Phew!

Galapagos penguin – source: David Nunn

Have you ever had a shark encounter or have seen a Galapagos shark?

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

15 Thoughts on “The time I thought I’d be eaten by a Galapagos shark

  1. Such a fun story 🙂 I hate sharks, snakes, and spiders!

  2. Thanks very much! Me too! 🙂

  3. Aww – after getting over the terror, what an experience! I would love to swim with seals and penguins

  4. It was really special, but I was soo terrified at first. I am not even good at swimming in a swimming pool, that’s how pathetic I am. 😉

  5. I had to giggle Tammy because I feel exactly the same when it comes to sharks thanks to the bloody Jaws movie. I’m a diver and I still crap myself. I’ll be busy swimming around reefs amongst Manta Rays and Turtles but every now and then I remember to turn my head around and look into the Big Blue ‘just in case’ something’s coming at me hahaha And that is why I’ll never be a deep sea diver 😀

  6. Hahah thank god it was a seal and not a shark. I would have peed myself!

  7. Hahaa, seriously my imagination runs amok whenever I’m underwater. It’s so cool that you got to swim with penguins.

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  9. @Toni: I don’t think I could ever dive. It is a shame, as I am sure it is fascinating, but I am too much of a chicken.

  10. @Angela: I just learned yesterday that pee attracts sharks, so no peeing please! 🙂

  11. @Jill: So does mine. It is terrible. The penguins made me forget my fears instantly though. They were sooo cute!

  12. This could be one of a life-time experience! Where did the sharks actually go, scared away by the seals and penguins? The seal’s really cute 🙂

  13. Tammyonthemove on May 15, 2013 at 2:53 am said:

    It really was Bo! I have no idea where they were, but I am glad they dind’t come anywhere near me! 🙂

  14. Good tension in this story. I didn’t know penguins and seals even visited the Galapagos!
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  15. Tammyonthemove on June 1, 2013 at 8:14 am said:

    There is so much wildlife in the Galapagos. It is an amazing place!

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