Darwin Island, a remote oceanic region on the outskirts of the Galapagos Archipelago, is home to a growing population of great whale sharks. What is about this inconspicuous island – measuring just one square kilometer – that draws the sharks there? A team of brave and resourceful scientists set out to study these enigmatic creatures in an effort to determine the answer, and their efforts are beautifully documented in Galapagos: Realm of Giant Sharks.
The whale shark is the largest fish in existence and they date back to the age of the dinosaur. Yet so little is known about them. As documented in the film, the ancient unlocked mysteries of the whale shark have attracted a team of researchers to the area, headed by world-renowned naturalist and photographer Jonathan Green. Together, they mount the largest study of marine migration in history.
“This is a real life Jurassic Park situation,” Green contends in the film. “They roam around our Earth today and we know absolutely nothing about them.”
The whale shark is generally mild mannered, but their colossal size warrants special precautions upon approach. In order to study their migration patterns, the researchers must attach tracking devices to dozens of whale sharks. The data collected from these devices can provide essential clues to several unanswered questions. Do they travel based on their desire for a particular underwater climate, or to fulfill a specific feeding pattern?
A significant portion of the whale sharks that inhabit the waters of Darwin Island are pregnant females. The team hopes to uncover evidence of their habits as well, including the process by which they mate and where and how they give birth.
Galapagos: Realm of Giant Sharks immerses the viewer in a majestic environment rarely seen by outside eyes. The stunning underwater photography captures the wonders of the deep in glorious detail, and portrays the natural habitat of a diverse range of sea life to an almost tactile degree. Along the way, the film provides illuminating insights on the growing dangers currently threatening the whale shark population, and the noble efforts of conservationists who set out to protect the species.