Are you afraid of sharks? The hammerhead shark often inspires spine-tingling fear, and many people think that they are dangerous.
Is a hammerhead shark a cold-blooded, perfectly-evolved killing machine? Perhaps, but my first experience with a hammerhead shark was quite different.
The Galapagos is famous for snorkeling with different shark species, and having seen many white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos sharks, I kept my eye out for hammerheads on all the snorkeling trips. No luck. I went to Kicker Rock, where they are often seen, but with a vague uneasy feeling in my stomach. Still no luck.
My Galapagos trip was drawing to an end, and I had pretty much given up on spotting the elusive hammerheads, but that changed on a beach day at Tortuga Bay.
Tortuga Bay is known as one of the longest and most beautiful beaches in the islands, you can get there easily just by walking from town.
Check out our Tortuga Bay Photo Gallery
Seeing My First Hammerhead Shark!
When I arrived, kids were splashing around in the water, squealing with delight. They seemed extraordinarily excited about something. I went over to investigate.
They were playing with a baby hammerhead shark! It was tiny, just a foot long, and swimming around in the shallows.
The kids were definitely enthralled and excited to see it. Whether the shark reciprocated those feelings is hard to say. The shark certainly seemed to be enjoying itself as well, though that could also be due to the abundant buffet of tiny silvery fish that were swimming around.
It was remarkably fast, and would zoom out of site in a millisecond, swim far along the shore, and then come zooming back, swimming in a zigzag pattern around our feet. There was something amazingly innocent about this interaction.
Young human beings and young hammerhead sharks, interacting without fear.
Have you ever seen a hammerhead? Please tell us about it by commenting on this post.