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Galápagos: Wolf Island – Scuba Diving in the World’s Highest Abundance of Sharks Sanctuary*

*as reported by National Geographic – New Galápagos Sanctuary Has World’s Highest Abundance of Sharks


“Dutchie and I joined a scuba diving liveaboard (diving cruise) for 7N/8D. The itinerary included seven days of scuba diving across the Galapagos archipelago (Ecuador): Punta Carrion, Wolf Island, Darwin Arch & Island and Cousins Rock” 

After experiencing a night sailing from Punta Carrion (Santa Cruz) with myself having nausea all evening, finally, we are in Wolf Island (Galapagos, Ecuador). Named after a German geologist, Theodore Wolf, who studied the Galápagos Islands during the late nineteenth century. The island is also home to Vampire ground finch birds. This bird is known for its unusual diet, drinking the blood of other birds. Wolf Island is one of Galapagos “holy grails” for scuba divers. It is a place in Galapagos where you can see the schooling of hammerhead sharks and sometimes the migration of the whales and the whale sharks. The second holy grail is Darwin Arch/Island – which is not that far from the Wolf Island.

There are three types of scuba divers; the first one is those who prefer to see the big size marine life such as the sharks, whales, orcas, giant octopus – basically the marine life that you can easily see without too many efforts to search for them. Then the second is those who prefer to see the medium to tiny size marine life that often takes ‘detective skills’ to find them. And finally the third is those who just want to see all sizes of marine life during scuba diving.

I may fall into the third category, although I admit I get more excited about seeing or finding small size marine life like the nudibranch or any tiny marine species. Yet, here I am, at the Wolf Island where the big daddies and mamas of the sea enjoy the protected area. A popular diving destination for the first type of scuba divers.

Galapagos Diving

Average water temperature is 24℃ to 25℃ (around 75 ℉) and we expect to experience choppy sea surface and strong current underwater. The dive plan is in details, such as: do back rolling; go immediately down and wait; stay at one place to see the hammerhead sharks; no chasing and touching animals; how to surface (no deco stop, please); what to handover to the panga boatman and what to do when we separate from the group. Safety is seriously taken care by our diving boat. We get three items to carry as the safety measure during our dives in Wolf and Darwin Islands: SMB, horn and lastly, radio with GPS installed. The radio is connected to the satellite and transmit the SOS warning to the Ecuadorian navy. It is the last option to use after we are missing for 30 minutes from the scuba divers group. Thankfully I don’t have to use any of those items.

We have nine dives in the Wolf Island alone, and always see the schooling of hammerhead sharks; millions of fishes (note: I may exaggerating a bit here, but it feels like they come in millions); dolphins and the fur seals play around. As we are surfacing, we are greeted by tens of boobies birds that fly like the birds, float like a duck and plunge-dive for food. It’s weird to see how they capable of being seabirds on the uninhabited island in the middle of the sea but that’s how the evolution happen. It is about surviving in the tough environment.

May Galapagos survives at the present challenging human politics and environmental situation of this planet.


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