Galapagos: Beneath the waves of Santa Fe

Days: 245

Total distance travelled: 47,017.6 kilometres (29,203.48 miles)

Our last day and a bit on board the Floreana, began with us getting off it as quickly as possible.

This was no emergency at sea (although we had completed a safety drill back at Floreana Island), but rather one last chance for the group to don their fins and masks, and again dip our head beneath the waves for one final snorkel.

We’d been advised that this spot was as popular with divers as it was with snorkelers, so it promised much, & a reasonable current meant we’d be tackling this in a bit of a drift manner.

The Zodiacs would drop us in the water, and we’d then float/swim back towards the boat, using the current for assistance.

First impressions of this place?

Well, have a look for yourself.

A lovely early encounter with this Parrot fish

A lovely early encounter with this Striped Parrot fish

Beginning our swim relatively close to the island gave us the advantage that the water wasn’t terribly deep, although one didn’t have to travel too far from the shore before the bottom began to be a fair distance from the surface.

It also meant that the light was pretty good, so we were able to see most of the fish in full colour!

The disadvantage however was the fact that the surges within the water were far more noticeable, not such a big deal for when I was shooting video, but incredibly tough when trying to snap a few pics of the colourful locals!

In case the Striped Parrot Fish isn't to your tastes, how about an Azure Parrot Fish?

In case the Striped Parrot Fish isn’t to your tastes, how about an Azure Parrot Fish?

So transfixed were we by what lay around and beneath us, that pretty soon Sarah & I realised we were lagging well behind the group.

It didn’t really worry us too much however, as we found ourselves having a wonderful time nonetheless.

Pretty soon we began to float/swim above some darker patches which we at first assumed were seaweed beds below.

Upon closer inspection however, it proved to be a living mass of fish, bunched together (I assume for safety), but simply sitting still on the ocean floor.

At first we all thought we were swimming above a bed of reeds... It was a little more alive than that!

At first we all thought we were swimming above a bed of reeds… It was a little more alive than that!

Amazing to watch them part as we approached

Amazing to watch them part as we approached

We swum above them and within them for a good while, but eventually we felt it time to move along, & in doing so we happened upon a lone sea lion pup, who very quickly disappeared from sight.

In time we gradually caught up to what was left of the group, with about half our number (total group size was 14) already out of the water and happily sunning themselves on the middle deck of the Floreana.

An underwater salute from a Panamic Sergeant Major

An underwater salute from a Panamic Sergeant Major

A small shark had been sighted by others, but it was either very elusive, or long gone by the time we got that close to the boat.

We did happen upon, along with David, another one of our posse from the boat, a very well camouflaged eel which kept us entertained for some time, as he’d disappear, then slowly reappear beneath a large cluster of rocks.

Introducing ourselves to this shy eel...

Introducing ourselves to this shy eel…

The icing on the cake for this great snorkeling spot, was the appearance of several Trumpet Fish, their patterned bodies seemingly shifting colour before our eyes.

Their otherworldly long bodies certainly only added to their mystique.

The incredible changing colours of the Trumpet Fish

The incredible changing colours of the Trumpet Fish

Eventually the last few of us (I think by this stage, only myself & Sarah, along with 2 others were left in the water) were called in by the crew.

It was a little disappointing having to drag ourselves from the wondrous sights only metres below, but we’d had a good hour or so in the sea, although in truth, it only felt like a handful of minutes!

Time does fly when you’re having fun.



* Our cruise on the ‘Floreana’ cost us $1,225.00 US per person for 5 nights/6 days.

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20 Responses to Galapagos: Beneath the waves of Santa Fe

  1. karla says:

    I really believe that adventures under the sea have no limits. I can dive or snorkel the same place a lot of times and yet have a different experience each time. It is true, time flies when you are having fun.

  2. How amazing!! I love adventures in the ocean (although I’m quite a fair weather / warm sea kind of adventurer) and this just sounds fantastic. I just need my kids to improve their snorkelling skills and we’ll be there!

  3. Stunning!!!
    I love snorkelling, and feeling of being surround by those amazing creatures!! As you guys, Rob and I always swim far from the group, we usually say that we go for your own adventure 😀
    And of course we are the last ones to go back to the boat too. I remember the first time I saw a giant grouper hiding itself under the rock, I was so excited that I even drank salt water. I can imagine how awesome was these days in Galapagos. Well done guys, thanks for sharing with us!
    Nat 😀

  4. Sanket D. says:

    Oh this is so fascinating; particularly because very recently I just had my first snorkeling experience in the Seychelles. Loved the under-water pictures guys. Great work 🙂

  5. The azure parrot fish is absolutely beautiful. How fortunate you are to have experienced Galapagos.

  6. I love underwater pics! The trumpet fish is so fascinating to me because it doesn’t really look like any other fish I’ve seen!

  7. The galapagos are amazing for snorkeling, that clear and well lit water really goes a long way eh.

  8. elizabeth says:

    The Galapagos truly are amazing. What did you use for your underwater photos. They are very clear. (I am sure clear water helps!)

  9. theglobewanderers says:

    Great post Chris – looks like you had a fantastic time! Those parrot fish are so beautiful! 🙂 I do enjoy a snorkel but I’m a little bit rubbish… always manage to inhale the water one way or another. Would definitely be worth enduring for sights like this though :). Great plan to stay away from the group as well…. you must see so much more that way. The eel looks like fun! 🙂

  10. The photos are so clear! Is that an underwater camera?

  11. You got to see trumpet fish! That’s on our list for snorkeling/diving sightings!! The ‘fish bed’ at the bottom must have also been an incredible experience! Such great underwater photos as well!

  12. I can’t watch the videos right now, but the photos seem to be pretty telling of your time. How cool to be able to see the Trumpet Fish change colors! What an incredible opportunity you have had to see the Galapagos!

  13. Chris, I am really eager to know how much did you spend traveling Galapagos. It has been difficult for me to sign up for press trips. Do you have a post about the rough budget estimate when going to the Galapagos? Thanks!

  14. This is awesome! I would love to see school of fishes like this. Glad that you didn’t rush yourself to catch up with the group because it’s good to see it at your own pace and immerse into it! 🙂

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