The first time I brought my son to the Galapagos Islands he was just six years old. Being an outspoken 1st grader, he had no trouble voicing the same fear almost everyone has in mind when they are about to go snorkeling in the Galapagos from the panga in deep water for the first time, “what if there are sharks down there?” I convinced him to join me by giving him an underwater camera to take pictures with. He soon forgot all about sharks as he set about snapping photos, commenting that, “it’s like heaven down there.” My wife was more fortunate on her first trip. She had been very worried about seeing a shark but when she did, she was amazed and wanted to see more, though that was her only shark sighting.
Since records of shark accidents were first recorded in 1854 there have been a total of 8 incidents of sharks in the Galapagos Islands and only 3 involving tourists. Two were tuna fishermen chumming the water in the 1950s, and one of them actually fell overboard into a school of fish! Three were surfers.
While the Galapagos are a true deep sea diver’s paradise, offering encounters with the leviathan Galapagos Whale Sharks and large schools of hammerheads, these dive trips travel far off the map to Wolf & Darwin Islands in the northwest of the archipelago. Conversely, it is fairly rare to see sharks while snorkeling during a naturalist trip. You are most likely to see white-tipped reef sharks that like to sleep on the bottom and in caves. They feed on small fish at night and are very docile. There are a few places on our naturalist trips where the guide can take you to a location where you can dive with larger sharks like hammerheads, but only if you really want to as it is out of the way. If you are on a naturalist cruise and want to see sharks, we can help you arrange dive trip with a land based outfitter who takes divers to these locations.