Galapagos - Nature's Best.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, October 14, 2011

Imagine a world where animals, birds, and reptiles have no fear of man. Imagine being able to walk right up to a Blue Footed Booby (yes this bird species exists - but only in Galapagos!) and look him in the eye. Imagine this exotic bird staring unwaveringly back, unperturbed by your presence. This is the Galapagos experience. 

The unique species of creatures on Galapagos treat the human visitors with almost an air of vague amusement. They don't flee or squawk but actively seek out contact. Once only, in our travels have we seen this before, - in Antarctica. While we had grave doubts that man will ever be at one with nature, certainly the wild life of Galapagas are willing to share with man.

We had signed on for a bargain basement 4 day "live on" boat tour at a last minute price. It was truly last minute as we arrived at the Dreamkapture Hostel in Guayaquil, Ecuador at 2.00pm the day before and booked and paid for our tour and airline tickets then. We had been corresponding by email but all was not settled until the afternoon before our trip!

The next day, after a morning flight, we were duly met at the Baltra Island, Galapagos airport after paying our National Park Entrance fee of $100 each. We then had to wait 2 hours for other guests to arrive on other flights before we headed off to our boat, the 22 &1/2 metre “Golondrina”. Most people visit the Galapagos on “live aboard” tours that vary in time from 4 days to 2 weeks. We had four days. Our 15 fellow passengers were a United Nations of Danish, Russian, American, Canadian, Japanese and Australian.

Every day was packed full of landings and snorkeling then every night we suffered with no sleep as we rolled and sailed to our next location! Our cabin, unfortunately, was down below, right next to the engine room AND the generator. The ocean was quite rough. We had visualized gently sailing from island to island but we more “rocked and rolled” between islands even having difficulty staying in bed!

We were well rewarded for our sleepless nights though. We felt so privileged to see nature at such close range and to observe such exotic creatures that so few people get to see. Our guide Leonidas was excellent and had unending enthusiasm for the Galapagos Islands and the conservation of its bird, reptile, plant and ocean life. All landings required us to transfer to a tender and then there was either a "wet" landing where we hop out into the water and wade ashore, or a dry landing where the tender pulled up to a rocky landing and we scrambled up the rocks.

We have an album of photos with this blog  that best cover some of the nature we have been privileged to see but of course photos are only a two dimensional representation of a full sensory experience. It is hard to put into words the joy of seeing (and hearing)  the bizarre Galapagos creatures, and not through binoculars, but up close and personal, right around you.

Our Galapagos trip will long be remembered. We have already forgotten the sleeplessness involved! A little reluctantly we left the islands and flew back to mainland Ecuador. Heading back to the Dreamkapture Hostel for a night, it hardly seemed possible that it iwas only 4 days ago we had been there before. After all the things we had seen and experienced in Galapagos it seemed more like weeks. Next we are off to catch local  buses and discover some of mainland Ecuador.   

Footnote: Galapagos Islands are UNESCO World Heritage listed and feature in the book Unforgettable Places To See before you die.

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