This series of posts is about an 11-day liveaboard trip throughout the Galápagos Islands aboard the Deep Blue with the Master Liveaboard Fleet. Having shot several thousand images, I thought to share a few more here than on my other social channels, but be sure to check out my Instagram, TikTok, Youtube and Twitter for more. This part is about the first days, including diving at Wolf Island. Have a look at the other posts in this series.
It is only about two to three hours of steaming from Darwin to Wolf, but I wondered why we had split the Wolf Diving. Geoff’s answer was that all decisions regarding diving in the park are made by the Galapagos National Park, and for some reason, they had instructed the Deep Blue to do as we did. It didn’t seem to make much sense as when we arrived at Darwin, we had three other diving boats there, whereas the day after, only one. It didn’t matter in the end, as we only ever encountered one other group while diving in Galapagos (and that was in Darwin), and that was only for a few minutes. The good thing was that when I woke up back at Wolf Island on the morning of our fifth day, we were the only liveaboard here.
Shortly after breakfast, the captain rooted the ship’s horn and started shouting, “orcas, orcas!”. We rushed to the top of the Deep Blue and spotted the pod of orcas a few hundred meters away. “How amazing is this?”‘ I thought to myself. Orcas in the wild!! The captain lifted the anchor, and we started to steam towards the pod. For the next half hour or so, we crisscrossed the bay area where the pod was swimming and got a few super close sightings. A few of the larger ones even decided to surf small waves beside the boat and came to check us out repeatedly. I had the camera all setup up in the housing, which was ready to go and vacuum-pumped, but when it was clear what was happening, I ran down, got m camera pout again, exchanged the wide-angle for the incredible Nikon 150-500mm and starting shooting away. I was honestly mind-blown! I even went a step further in my mind: what if we saw them underwater later…?
Back in the water for our first two dives before lunch, I couldn’t help but think about the orcas. Would they come to check us out underwater? I was crossing every finger I had.. Every time we were watching a group of sharks or rays and they would disperse suddenly without any (to me) apparent reason, I was literally expecting a pod of orcas coming out of the blue. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. BUT, I did get to see two dolphins for a few seconds. Not long and at least 20 m away, but I did manage to snap this quick image of the two, I’d guess mom and baby.
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Tom Vierus is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist based in Suva, Fiji Islands. This blog is dedicated to his assignments and to sharing some behind-the-scenes footage.
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