Schooling Galapagos Sharks

Location: Roca Partida (Socorro Island), Revillagigedos

Comments: Roca Partida is often the crown jewel of scuba diving in the Revillagigedos (Socorro Island). And sometimes it’s not because the animals just aren’t there. We often get extraordinary sightings or behaviour around other dive sites around San Benedicto and Socorro Island that turn out to be “life experiences” for people. Well, today I had a life experience at Roca Partida!!

As always, we carefully and obsessively watched the weather forecasts and models to pick the best time to dive Roca Partida and we were rewarded with fairly calm seas today – despite the fact that we are anchored in the open ocean on top of a dying volcano. An unusually shallow thermocline was apparent as soon as we splashed. It’s normally at 110ft or deeper. Today it was at 50ft and we were rewarded with lots of great shark sightings in and around the thermocline.

I’m not sure why but we always get our best big shark sightings where there is a sharp temperature change in the water column. So there we were, towards the end of our dive, coming around the north end of Roca Partida and swimming through an enormous school of jacks when, HOLY COW, a group of very large Galapagos sharks swam right up to us and started circling around. I had never seen anything like it.

I convinced myself that they had to be enormous silky sharks because Galapagos sharks don’t school like that in this part of the world. But sure enough, when we checked the pictures later, these guys had large pointed dorsal fins located forward of the trailing edge of their pectoral fins. No question that they were honking big Galapagos sharks cruising around in the shallows. It was AWESOME!! Very beautiful to see. They were gorgeous and hypnotising to watch. I cannot believe that very few people seem to care that we are about to drive them into extinction (which lasts forever as my friend Rogest, the famous marine artist, likes to say) just for the purpose of making plain tasting but expensive shark fin soup. Aaargghh. Anyways, it was a sight that I will always remember.

–Captain Mike