Galapagos Wildlife & Marine Life Gallery

Here is a gallery of a few images from this year's Galapagos Wildlife Marine Life & Photography journey. Photos were taken by trip leader, Ralph Pannell:  one of the directors of Aqua-Firma, formerly of the charity Rainforest Concern and manager of our Rainforest4Climate fund; and co-host, Dr Simon Pierce, marine biologist & co-Founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation.

Penguins & Sealions

Penguins and Sealions are some of the most loveable of Galapagos marine life. We saw a particularly large number of Galapagos Penguins this June - especially in the far southwest of Isabela amongst lava tunnels eroded into isolated rocks.

Sealions are fairly ubiquitous in the Galapagos, but moments you will never forget are when you snorkel with a ridiculously playful young one. Their speed through the water is something to behold; as is their change in direction and just how close they like to swim to your mask.

Galapagos Sealions underwater

Galapagos Penguins lava tunnels Isabela island

Galapagos Penguin amongst mangroves Isabela Island

snorkel with Galapagos penguin

Blue-footed Boobies

These are a signature of the Galapagos species with around half of the World's breeding pairs living on these islands. So why the blue feet? Well, the bluer the feet, the healthier the bird and greater its chance of mating: 

You can see these birds on most of the islands, all of the year, but June is particularly good for opportunities to see their mating displays. The prime aim of a male is to expose his feet, which he does by lifting them up and down as he 'dances' and then spreading its wings wide.

Blue-footed Booby courtship display on lava tunnels Isabela Galapagos

Sharks, Rays & Turtles

In addition to sealions and penguins, sharks, rays and turtles were very much a feature of our snorkeling. Warm waters encouraged schools of Hammerhead Sharks into our snorkel sites, alongside dozens of Green Turtles, Eagle Rays and huge schools of fish.

Juvenile black-tip sharks showed up beautifully amongst fallen mangrove trees, through whose roots we also watched Golden Cownose Rays glide.

Some sharks must keep swimming to 'breath', but White-tip Reef Sharks can suck water through their gills whilst resting inside lava tunnels.

Black-tip sharks in school of fish Galapagos

Hammerhead Sharks Kicker Rock Galapagos

Juvenile Black-tip Shark Mangroves Isabela Galapagos

Galapagos black-tip sharks amongst mangrove leaves Isabela

Green Turtle underwater Galapagos

eagle rays underwater galapagos

Iguanas: Green, Land & Marine

Iguanas are often amongst Galapagos stories of evolution; descended from Green Iguanas washed up on islands of vegetation,  swept from Latin America during rainstorms.

Land iguanas retain the closest shape, but have adapted to eat Opuntia cactus leaves - spines and all.

land iguana eating opuntia cactus

Marine iguanas eat green sea algae, having evolved swim tails and stub noses, which are better adapted to close grazing. During El Niño years when food is scarce, they are able to draw on reserves, reducing their mass and length by 15% or more.

Lava & Lava Lizards

Cerro Chico Sierra Negra Volcano Islabela Island Galapagos

Galapagos lava island los Tuneles Isabela

lava lizard galapagos


red-billed tropicbird galapagos

Swallow tailed gull Galapagos


  • Galapagos penguin
  • Galapagos Sealion pup underwater
  • Female Blue-footed showing a lack of interest in her male exhibitor
  • Galapagos penguin on lava rocks Las Tintoreras
  • Galapagos sealions play fighting
  • Swallow-tail Gull in flight off South Plaza Island
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