by Mary L. Peachin with photography by Marc Bernardi and Mary L. Peachin
Nov 2000, Vol. 5 No. 2
We clung to the barnacle-covered rocks of the seamount, sixty feet down, trying to avoid being swept away by the current. A shadow darkened the ocean above us, and our attention was diverted by an unparalleled underwater parade: Bottled-nosed dolphins escorting a 40-foot-long wide-mouth whale shark, its body gliding just below the surface toward the nearby Darwin’s Arch. The shark’s wide-open mouth scooped krill from the plankton-rich waters of the Galapagos, and dozens of remoras clung to the huge tailfin, all busy cleaning microorganisms from the animal’s huge polka-dotted hide. Below the dolphins’ entourage, schools of scalloped hammerheads swam in jigsaw patterns, their necks scarred by bites incurred during mating rituals.