Swimmer meets curious Galapagos penguin close up
The Galapagos penguin is only penguin in the world that lives north of the equator.
Most of the populations live very close to the equator or to the south of it, but this penguin inhabits a few islands in the Galapagos where they are actually able to survive in the northern hemisphere.
Most species of penguin live in Antarctica, Southern Africa and the southern more parts of South America, well away from the equator.
Penguins rely on a diet of small fish like mullets and sardines.
They can only survive in the Galapagos Islands because of the unique combination of ocean currents that drive cooler water to this area.
This brings a rich supply of food for the penguins and the other animals here.
Penguins thrive here despite the fact that it is a tropical location.
This habitat provides desirable conditions for the penguins that do not exist anywhere else in this part of the world.
This lucky swimmer was exploring a large lagoon at Conche Perla, an isolated beach on Isabela Island.
Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos and the most remote.
The lagoon is home to a large school of mullet that constantly circle the lagoon in search of smaller fish to eat.
This penguin took a break from hunting for food to come and check out the swimmer.
The curious little fellow made a beeline for him and looked at him from above and below the surface.
He darted away and returned several times, showing off his graceful swimming as he did so.
Penguins are unbelievably agile underwater, seeming to fly by flapping their wings.
This penguin spent a minute or so darting back and forth around the man before continuing his search for fish.
It is an unexpected treat to see a wild penguin in the water, and even more unexpected to have one come within a few inches of your face to give such a close up view.
This swimmer was thrilled to have such an amazing encounter.