Diving into the World's End (a photo story)

Immerse yourself in the nutrient-rich waters of the Galápagos, explore the sheer edges of old volcanos and gently drift in the current alongside native Pacific green turtles. Scroll down for some of our favourite shots that didn't make it into the latest issue, captured by Graeme Owsianski

On 9 April 1925, marine biologist William Beebe became the first person to dive in Galápagos. His head enclosed in a cumbersome copper helmet, he sucked air through a garden hose wedged by his right ear. Beebe had been practising in the New York Aquarium, but nothing could prepare him for how it felt to sit below the surface, “wishing for a dozen eyes, so filled was the sea with strange living things.” As the sun’s rays shone down “as though through the most marvellous cathedral”, many never before seen creatures swam over to look at this curious visitor, whose helmet revolved like “some strange sort of owl”. Triggerfish took nips at him, “the strangest little blenny in the world... five inches long and mostly all head” stared in through the glass and an octopus poured over a rock “like some horrid viscid fluid in animal form”.

Since then, these waters have attracted many more pioneers – marine geologists photographed hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor in the 1970s, and lantern bearing anglerfish made their startling debut after being dredged from the depths. Ninety years on, exploring this underwater world still feels like you’re drifting into our last frontier...

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