Dear 6lb, 8oz Baby Hammerhead.. [Galapagos Islands]

Aside from the potty water that is Devil’s Lake, I’ve been absolutely spoiled by my SCUBA diving experiences. Take my first underwater series for example –

August (23), 2018: There were church bells going wild right next to our Airbnb and home to local Galapagan legend, Alfredo something-or-other. We sat in the living room, five relatively agnostic mid-twenty-somethings, literally praying to see hammerheads after four unsuccessful attempts the two days prior. Using the term unsuccessful loosely because we’d been graced by sea turtles, sea lions, eagle rays, white tipped sharks, and so on.

“WTF does this 2 legged freak think he’s doing!?”- this turtle as Chris practices his best Titanic pose. 1 Big for Scale

I had survived my first real open water dives after a nice little panic attack at 60 feet. With one day left on the islands we had one more shot, one more opportunity and Gordon’s Rock was our best bet for seeing the aloof, flat-headed tiburones martillos.

The problem was that most tour companies required that divers have 20-25 dives under their belts before attempting to handle the currents caused by the underwater topography. So despite finding one without restrictions AND willing to go out early to give us a 24 hour window before flying… I was a little gun-shy. Until Klaudia, our divemaster from earlier in the day, gave us the vote of confidence. 

At our gear fitting that night, we promised our guide 1 beer per hammerhead. He mimed a drunk-stumble. 

It was pretty hard to sleep that night. 

Dive 1 was rather uneventful on the sharky shark front, but Chris’ dive was anything but. He had some faulty gear that caused his BCD to continually inflate (sometimes called a leaky BC). Not only did this threaten to force him straight to the surface from 60+ feet (even with additional weight), but it also made him run out of air in a matter of minutes. Luckily, he was the most experienced diver with us and was able to keep himself calm (and alive). Our dive guide sent him up by himself, and while he ran out of air about 12 feet from the surface, he was able to make it to the surface without injury.

When everybody was back on the boat for our surface interval, we were given a positive forecast for the 2nd dive when one of the other groups popped up chattering excitedly. Shortly thereafter, our guide began rushing us to wetsuit-up so they could drop us into the promised land.

Dive 2 began with us descending only a few feet from the rocks.Within minutes we heard the *the jingling* and… suddenly, sharks! Everywhere we looked, schools of hammerhead sharks swam around us. Some close by, others only hazy outlines in the less than stellar visibility. Chris and our other friend Seth (aka Big, aka Senior) continually tried to get closer to the hammerheads (they had made a pact to each lose an arm, thus becoming 1 whole idiot), but to no avail. The sharks were more timid than my middle school crush. And cuter too.

Daddy Hammerheads doo doo do do do

Seth and our two other friends ran low on air early, but Chris (with intact equipment this time) and myself had plenty left in the tank. We were so ecstatic, our dive guide ended up having Chris record him and I “oceanroom dancing” underwater during what I’m told was our safety stop. He was even cheeky enough to try get me to remove my reg to kiss him. I declined, because #classy.  

Chris and I surfaced, screaming our remixed lyrics of Jersey Boy’s “December, 1963”

“OH WHAT A DIVE!
Late in AUGUST, in twenty-eighteen!”
What a very special dive for me.
What a lady, what a dive!

Our friends, already back on the boat, immediately began sassing us as we had kind of forgot we had to get out of the water. Unfortunately, our only underwater camera on this dive didn’t have a screen to see what we were recording, thus leading to less than stellar photos/videos and a whole lot of Chris’ wetsuit crotch.


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