The Galapagos Marine Reserve forms one point of the Hammerhead Triangle-an area stretching from Cocos Islands off of Costa Rica to Melpelo Island near Chile. The region is a sought after diving destination visited by avid shark fans from across the globe. The Galapagos Islands themselves have the highest concentration of sharks in the world; including white and black-tipped reef sharks, tiger sharks, and Galapagos sharks. Keep reading for more details about three swift-moving creatures that
For many, diving amid hammerhead sharks is one of the peaks of their time in the waters of the Galapagos. The GMR’s thriving underwater world is a gathering point for expansive groups of hundreds of sharks; one of the few places in the world where hammerheads are found in mass.
The largest of the alien-looking shark species can grow up to 20 ft, and weigh a whopping 1000 pounds. Their wide-set eyes give them an advantage over other sharks, as they can scan a broader swath of the ocean in search of prey. Hammerheads also have a gland that senses electrical vibrations in fish, octopus, and squid-all a part of the predator’s diet.
The silver-grey and greyish brown shark population in the Galapagos is at its peak in January; the waters around Wolf and Darwin Islands are brimming with large schools that circle together in search of food. They also are found at reefs and in underwater canyons in many spots in the reserve. Kicker Rock off of San Cristobal is well-known for its Hammerhead shark population visited by many snorkelers, kayakers, and divers on the lookout for the sleek creatures each day.
The coloring of the shark makes it a cunning predator, the dark grey upper half of their body camouflages them from eels, octopuses, and fish-including parrotfish, surgeonfish, squirrelfish, snappers, damselfish, and triggerfish. They can grow up to six feet in length and are rarely provoked by humans. Typically, their behavior is to swim away if bothered- but more often than not remain still, making for great pictures while exploring.
The Galapagos shark is one of the largest of the requiem species, growing up to 12 ft in length as an adult. They are found around the world, but the largest population is in the Galapagos Islands, where they were discovered and named in the 1950s.
The sharks are predators, feeding on many of the same bony fish that attract hammerheads. They are found along coral reefs throughout the islands and are curious in nature.
Schools of Galapagos sharks are often found in the waters around Darwin and Wolf at depths ranging from 20 to 200 ft. Their normal habitat is in the deep waters of the open sea but commutes back and forth to shallow reefs to feed and clean themselves.
For information about a dive Galapagos vacation that takes you to the internationally acclaimed dive sites of the archipelago, contact a member of our team by our toll-free number or the contact form on this site.