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…
|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?