This picture is a rendering of Aquaman,  a fictional superhero which first appeared  in DC Comic books and who will have a major role (played by Jason Momoa) in a big screen theatrical movie, “Justice League” November, 2017.

Ah, but the intrepid members of my Galapagos journey had its own aquatic superhero, Alfredo Maneses.  Alfredo is the co-founder of the travel expedition company Neotropic Expeditions and was contracted by Classic Journeys  to be our guide/teacher.  Let me present the bio listed on NE’s website:

I don’t usually promote others in this blog, but Alfredo was so intrinsically part of the glorious time experienced in the Galapagos that he must be mentioned, and as the above blurb states, I do feel as though I have gained a friend. And, more importantly, Alfredo’s skills helped in securing the pics you will see in this blog today.

This is Alfredo.

Now calm down – Alfredo is married to the simply gorgeous Collette, who we got to meet towards the end of our stay in the Galapagos – they are an amazing couple.

I do believe Alfredo is part fish, for he managed all the contrapuntal motions I mentioned  in last week’s post to deliver some truly amazing underwater shots.  Let me start with these:

This is a spotted eagle ray.  Reaching  widths of nearly 11 feet, this is one of the largest rays and is a very active swimmer, unlike other rays which lie more or less motionless on the ocean floor.  They are foragers, eating fish and invertebrates using their heavy dental plates to crush the hard shells.  Take a look at their strange-looking faces from a few internet pics:

They also have  venomous barbed stingers on their tails, so one needs to stay a respectful distance away.

Alfredo managed to avoid the stingers and other than some scrapes from nearby coral and lava rocks he remained unscathed – even when these next fellows came into view.  Let me state for the record that when they appeared, all the women in the water tagged out and swam quickly back to the boat, leaving the men to fend for themselves.  All survived and I have these wonderful pics:

Yes, these are whitetip sharks, or sand sharks. They can grow up to  8 feet and weigh up to 44 pounds.  They are social, often laying on the ocean floor in groups.  Fortunately,  they don’t present a threat to humans, although their looks alone can spook snorkelers (see above). The whitetip shark is curious and will  often swim close by to inspect swimmers but rarely pose any problems.  Alfredo said that the ones he photographed were actually sleeping.

Still not staying in the water near them.


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