4 weeks ago
Misty morning memories. near the end of a long week of diving in cold and rough conditions in the galapagos i ended an unusually uneventful dive early and went up to save my strength for the later dives in the day. i sat shivering in the wind with the panga driver off wolf island waiting for the rest of the divers to come up. in the distance i pointed out a large black mast i saw. que es eso? i asked. he struggled for words in english and the mast disappeared and we gave up. moments later, again, closer. the irrational thought of pirates in the wild waters crossed my mind. so hard to see with the spray and wind and waves. a spearfish jumping maybe. the landscape bleak and lacking contrast on the cloudy and gray day made spotting anything difficult. divers came up slowly, one by one and then a mad rush as everyone finished. the whole time i fixated on the strange black mast i kept seeing glimpses of through the storm and spray. and finally the dive master caught a glimpse and had an answer in english. blackfish. i’m getting in! i said. he shrugged. a bunch of guys on the boat agreed. we should all try to see the orca when it passes by. we sat, twenty of us across two dinghies and motored into position. the storm of birds that had followed the black mast down the islands sheer coast line descended closer to us. we could see indistinct splashes, there must be a baitball beneath the dark surface! just as i saw a glimmer of white shooting between the boats i slipped in with my camera. a pack of orcas slicing through the water. the giant pirate mast was the male, in his jaws a turtle, a female off camera playfully racing through the dark nutrient dense water, trailing behind doing their ever important ocean clean up duty were silky sharks, scavenging up little morsels. after everyone had passed i turned to my dive mates to cheer and realized i was alone in the water. everyone that had said they were going to get in had chickened out! as for myself i’m happy i got in. there are no recorded attacks on humans in the wild by orcas and witnessing the aftermath of a successful hunt and share was one of the most stunning and unexpected moments i’ve ever seen.