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Marine Critters: Sharks
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Whale Shark Encounter, Darwin I, Galapagos

On a late morning dive off Darwin's Arch, we spread out along a wall watching schooling hammerheads swim by in regular flight patterns. Alerted by the animated and quick acceleration of our guide, it seemed as if I could sense a pressure wave caused by something very large approaching.

A whale shark materialized moving at speed towards me and I squeezed off three frames before realizing that I was in its path. My fourth shot was side-on after which I hastily swam backwards to avoid the side swipe of its tale.

Encountering one of these graceful, filter feeding sharks leaves a long lasting impression which is enhanced by their enormity and stealth. Their camouflage allows them to blend into the surrounding water until they are very close. A life defining moment!

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