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

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

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

And submersing himself beneath the waves here has helped him to appreciate nature and always results in an adrenaline rush like no other, with hammerhead sharks among the marine life that continues to wow him.

Nature’s playground

“The Galapagos 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 Galapagos 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 Galapagos Islands’ underwater habitats reward adventurous travelers/Lucia Griggi

Snorkeling with hammerhead sharks

On this particular occasion for this film, Jorge was snorkeling and freediving 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 ‘Galapagos moment’ with our guests.

“These sharks are about 17ft 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 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