Galapagos: A Dream Come True
26 April 2015 | Academy Bay, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Islas Galapagos, Ecuador
Galapagos! Ever since my childhood in Barcelona (where road-kill, pigeons and seagulls were as close as I got to wild life), the Galapagos Islands held an irresistible attraction for me: the weirdness of their animal inhabitants, their contribution to the development of the Theory of Evolution, their remoteness and exotic nature, the sparseness of human population and human paraphernalia; as far in distance of space, time and way of life as one could get from the busy city life in crowded Barcelona.
Hard to believe that I was going to visit Galapagos after all, and, like a well-thought present, Mark and I would celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary while there. How much luckier can a girl get! (Hold on to your knickers girls, as it turned out neither Mark nor I remembered our anniversary on the actual date, despite our mutual reminders few days before. Yep! That's what 20 years of marriage does to you! :)).
You will be happy to hear, I was not disappointed. We stayed for two weeks and visited three islands: Santa Cruz, Isabela and Santa Fe. We swam with sea lions, sea turtles, sharks, and fish schools as far as the eye could see. I took one thousand pictures of the different finches – it is mind-boggling that one genus could diversify so extensibly as these cute little birds have done. Another thousand pictures went to the tortoises and a third thousand to the views of cactus-trees and volcanic formations.
Our walk in Isabela to the top of Volcan Alcedo, a shield volcano, was one of our highlights. We befriended a young English geologist, Rob, who was in our group of about 20 tourists hiking Alcedo. Rob graciously shared his knowledge on the formation of the volcano and the different rocks and volcanic formations that we could see. It was fascinating.
Other highlights were: observing the black sea iguanas lying in the beach, where they were easy to spot, or in the lava rocks, where they camouflaged themselves so much that I almost stepped on one of them (and, yes!, they do sneeze salt snot to be rid of it); snorkeling with sea lions, the young ones were especially playful and they would come to check what was Mark holding in his hand (his new Go Pro); videoing the courting of the male blue-footed bobbies to their belles in the lava tunnels of Isabela; visiting the tortoises breeding centers - We visited two of these nurseries for land turtles: one in Santa Cruz and one in Isabela. We delighted in the antics of these ancient looking reptiles – another thousand pictures!
What I loved the most in Galapagos was the lack of fear of the resident animals: marine iguanas, sea lions, finches, tortoises, blue-footed bobbies all kept their ground; seeming not to mind the ah! and oh! and the continuous noisy clicking of cameras. The park rangers tried with mixed success to keep the most adventurous tourists at a reasonable distance from the animals, but for the most part the rangers seemed more annoyed than the animals themselves. Of course, the lack of fear translated into several pelicans visiting our boat, and even a sea lion trying to get access to Por Dos cockpit for a night rest.
Armed with millions of photos, videos and even more memories, we left Galapagos on Sunday, April 26 for what it was going to be our longest passage so far: 3075 nautical miles to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia.