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Diving with Darwin: Day Seven

Turtle

Diving at Kicker Rock, San Cristobal

Today was our last day of diving with Red Mangrove and we headed out to Kicker Rock (shaped like the famous shoe-brand). Kicker Rock is actually riven in two, so the first dive was through the channel between the twin towering pinnacles. This site is a favorite site for shark sightings and we hoped to see hammerheads. Unfortunately today these creatures eluded us, but instead we were blessed with Galápagos sharks and my partner saw stingrays and turtles as well.

My dive was cut short by a problem equalizing, and unfamiliarity with wearing a dive hood due to the temperature, but I had a great day and ended up snorkeling in the channel between the rocky divide and seeing two Galápagos sharks, five blacktip sharks, some turtles and marine iguanas.

My partner’s second dive followed the wall to the left of the first dive. Again no hammerheads came into view, so instead he enjoyed the delicate sponges and beautiful array of colour on the vast wall, accompanied by some large green sea turtles.

After lunch, and despite the cold day, we had an incredible time snorkeling in a bay where the main highlights were the playful sealions and the marine iguanas. We also saw ringtail and yellowtail damselfish, razor surgeonfish, sergeant majors, and streamer hogfish. The most memorable end to our watery adventures with Red Mangrove however came just as we were about to get back into the boat. A young sealion was just so full of life that I could not stop watching him, and then my partner realized he was playing with a diving torch that he eventually left as parting gift! It was a great end to a lovely trip and an image that will stay with me forever.

Back on land I knew I had someone to pay a visit to. All week I had thought of him daily - Darwin.

We headed to the Interpretation Centre where enjoying the walk through incense trees,we went to find the man. There he was in the sunset – a huge sculpture of the incredible thinker flanked aptly by a turtle, marine iguana and a sealion. He stood there proudly high over the shoreline looking out to sea. I knew, gazing at this image, that he would not have hesitated for a second had he had the chance to delve into the mysteries of the Galápagos seas. Despite all the challenges I faced this week diving in these waters, as a relatively inexperienced diver, I realized just how fortunate I was to have had the chance.

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