Behind the Lens: Experiencing the Splendor of Hammerhead Sharks in Galápagos

When adventuring deep within the colorful silent underwater world of the Galápagos, you may be lucky enough to witness majestic giants such as hammerhead sharks.

For expedition filmmaker Jorge Prigann — who is a Galápagos native and a member of Silversea’s Expedition Team — this destination is both home and nature’s playground, providing ample opportunities for stellar wildlife filmmaking.

Submersing himself beneath the waves here has helped him to appreciate nature — and always results in an adrenaline rush like no other. Hammerhead sharks, he says, are among the marine life that continues to wow him.

Nature’s playground

“The Galápagos Archipelago was the place that I grew up in, so for me, it is home,” says Jorge. “Because I get to interact with all these unique species that can’t be found anywhere else — from a lizard to a tortoise — every moment is unique.

“I think all Galápagos species are fascinating, but hammerhead sharks in particular can’t be found everywhere around the Archipelago and to possibly get to see them every two weeks is something I consider an incredible gift.”

Schools of fish and hammerhead sharks in Galapagos
The Galápagos Islands’ underwater habitats reward adventurous travelers./Lucia Griggi

Snorkeling with sharks

On this particular occasion for this film, Jorge was snorkeling and free-diving with his GoPro 7 one morning near Genovesa Island, which is also known for its birdlife, and was taken aback by the sheer magnitude of these sharks.

“I was underwater on a Monday, so the first snorkeling of the week, and my first thought was of curiosity. I was amazed by the size of them and also [felt] a bit of fear. This pushed me to dive and capture them, so I could share this ‘Galápagos moment’ with our guests.

“These sharks are about 17 feet in size and after the first time I saw them, I naturally got a little scared but at the same time, felt a strong rush to go after them and be near them — keeping a proper distance so that I didn’t scare them, of course,” he adds.

These iconic sharks can live up to 20 to 30 years and feature unusual scalloped edges across their heads. But despite their breathtaking appearance, it’s really how a person feels in the presence of these sharks that makes them so memorable.

Hammerhead sharks in Galapagos
With their unusual appearance and formidable size, hammerhead sharks are a sight to behold./Jorge Prigann

Want to see hammerhead sharks in the Galápagos Islands, and perhaps even go snorkeling with sharks? Start by exploring Silversea cruises to the Galápagos Islands and check out more stunning photography in the Behind the Lens series.