Galapagos Islands Adventure
This is a wonderful trip. The boat I took was a sail boat, although to be perfectly honest we usually used the motor. On a trip with a specific schedule sailing doesn't work well. The wind is never in the right direction.
We started by flying to Quito. You come in over a mountain range and then dive for the landing strip. People from South America started clapping as if a safe landing is unusually. (This has happened on every flight I have taken to South America not just this one.) Personally I find this a bit unnerving. We had a day tour of the city. There are some beautiful churches there. I hope no one takes this the wrong way but it amazes me that the people are so poor and yet the churches are covered in gold leaf. If you go expect to get hounded by very small children begging in the streets. If you give anything to one of them you will be mobbed. At the time I was there the average salary was $40 U.S. a month.
We flew from Quito to the Galapagos Island. We stayed on one of the islands for a few days before setting sail. We visited the Darwin research center and went up into the hills to see the tortoise. I saw my first wild marine iguana here and took 15 to 20 pictures of it. Later we saw beaches just covered with the things. This is also where I saw I first Sally Lightfoot Crab. These are beautifully colored little crabs that can skate across the top of the water. I must have spent at least an hour trying to photograph it as it crawled around the crevasses of a lava bed. The best picture I got was of one claw. Later on the trip there were beaches were you had to be carefully no to step on the stupid things.
While on the boat we usually made two land falls a day and had one or two snorkeling excursions. The most unique thing about the Galapagos Islands besides the animals is that there are no natural predators there. This means that the wildlife is not afraid of you and will not run away. While on land you must stay on the trails that have been made. They do not want you to walk willy nilly all over the place and destroy the ecology. However, you still get very close to the wildlife. As a matter of fact some of the birds make their nests right on the trail and you have to step over them. All they do is look at you as you go by even if they have eggs or chicks in the nests.
The snorkeling here was the best of anyplace I have ever been. The water is crystal clear. Sometimes the sealions will play with you while you are snorkeling. They will swim straight for you and then do a somersault at the last moment. It is quite amazing. This is also where I saw my first shark while snorkeling. Freaked me out! I didn't even think of taking his picture. I put my head up and told the people in the boat I had seen a shark, I couldn't figure out why they weren't rushing to my rescue. I kept sticking my head back in the water to keep track of the shark but I never saw him again. I calmed down when I couldn't find him and finished my snorkel. A few days later I saw another shark and I did take his picture. Unfortunately my slides from the first half of my vacation and all my underwater slides of this vacation are in the land of the missing. If I ever locate them I will add a page of underwater photography to my site.
The sealion were fabulous. There were lots of pups running around when I was there. I had my film developed in August so it was late July or early August when I took the trip. Some beaches were covered with sunning sealions. You weren't allowed to approach them too closely or to try and touch them, but they didn't have the same rules. If you were lucky and stood still sometimes a curious sealion would come over and sniff your leg or your hand. It was quite a thrill. Another thing the sealions did was swim around the boat at night. You are probably wondering how I know. There is something called bioluminescence in the water. When it is disturbed it glows. It looked like ghosts were swimming around the boat at night. It was very cool. I will never forget it.
Length: ~ 2 Weeks
Company: Inca Floats
Animals of Montana
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