I was walking down the rocky path when I stumbled over a gregarious sea lion. Lying on the ground, trying to collect myself, I was startled when an iguana fell upon my head and two blue footed boobies began whistling their cry of distress for others to come to my aid. Am I dreaming, I wondered? Then, when I saw a sea lion trying to climb a light pole, I pinched myself and asked the waiter what he put into my cerveza. “Senora,” he said, “welcome to the Galapagos Islands.”
The Galapagos Islands are incredible! Only 0.02% of the world’s population have visited these islands. What a privilege to be included in that number! We started our journey by flying from Quito onto the tiny island of Baltra. Isla Baltra or “The Rock” served as a US Military base in World War II. After taking a bus, ferry, and a bus, we arrived at Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) to board the Amigo Yacht, our home for the next 5 days. The Amigo is a 16 passenger, semi-dated, cruising vessel that took us safely to 5 islands.
As we set out to explore the Galapagos Islands, we were prepared to go on long walks and find the animals that make this place incredible. We have visited National Parks before, and know that if you are quiet and keep your eyes open you may see some wildlife. Before visiting the first island, our guide instructed us to stay 1-2 meters from the animals. We hoped to get that close! During our first walk on the island we realized that life is a little different here. In the Galapagos you have to step over the animals, and someone needs to tell the animals to stay at least 1-2 meters from the humans! When we arrived onto land from our panga (dingy boat), we had to step over a sea lion on the small foot path. Next, our guide put his arm out to the right and there were 15 land iguanas 5 feet from us. They did not budge and if anything a few of them came closer to see why we were there. Yep, this is different.
The “Blue Footed Bobbie” is a bird we could not wait to discover. Partly to put a face to the endless Boobie jokes and also because of their famed presence on the islands. We did not see any Blue Footed Boobies on the first day and thought that they must be hard to find. All we had to do was set foot on Espanola Island and before we knew it we were being charged by a pair of Blue Footed Boobies coming down the trail. We even had a few baby sea lions try to determine if we were their mothers‘. Wow! This is one reason why the Galapagos islands are special, you get to experience nature as a participant rather than spectator.
The Galapagos Islands are unforgettable and we hope that one day you too get to visit them!
Below is a link to our pictures and we have listed many of the species we observed by island location.
Galapagos Endemic Species viewed by location:
Santa Cruz Island
South Plaza Island
Galapagos Land Iguana
Santa Fe Island
Bull Sharks (cancelled our snorkeling because they tend to be very aggressive)
Santa Fe Land Iguana
Espanola Island (Punta Suarez and Gardner Bay)
Blue Footed Boobies
Espanola Marine Iguanas
Sea Lion Babies frolicking
Swimming Sea Lions
North Seymore Island
Blue Footed Boobies
San Cristobal Island
View our pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/kelloffj/GalapagosOctober2008?authkey=8fz-S1yQ2_c#
We are off to Peru! Wish us luck (Well, Jen at least) with the high altitude hiking at Machu Picchu!
Jen, Ryan and Joe