|The most basic of co-habitation|
Many visitors find the most practical way to see this diverse life is from a boat, and there are cruise ships that accommodate from 10 -100 passengers. Our trip, however, was a land-based trip, meaning that we slept on land but spent most of our days on or in the water. We traveled with Row Adventures (Remote Odysseys Worldwide) who provided us with a simultaneously rugged and comfortable trip with a small group of 6 adults and our very able guide, Henry. We departed from the city of Guayaquil, and then stayed for two nights at a Galápagos National Park campsite on San Cristóbal Island, three nights at the lovely Casa Marita on Isabela Island, and two more nights at the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn on Santa Cruz Island.
|The first few nights were spent here!|
Those reef sharks were about 10 feet below us but didn't frighten me. If our trusted guide, Henry, felt we were safe there, that was good enough for me. It was a thrill, for sure, but I enjoyed swimming with these huge sea turtles just as much! Watch carefully as our guide gets a high-five.
On land, we were repeatedly accompanied by sea lions, large and small. They are apparently friendly, seem to have no fear of humans, and are all over the place! They came in large numbers and in all sizes on every beach. 'Some sleeping, some playful, and some nursing. We learned that sea lions reproduce annually for about 25 years and have a gestation period similar to humans, so imagine those mama sea lions busy with every stage of parenting for that length of time!
|My new friend!|
|We need that line to our anchor -- no chewing!|
We watched them swim, as well, and Clay even snorkeled with sea lions at Isla Lobos.
And, of course, there are the famous giant tortoises, distinct from sea turtles in that they live on land. Yes, there were gigantic tortoises in the wild who seemed to enjoy climbing over each other and simply appreciate some peace and quiet. I was inspired by their calm demeanor, and their slow and quiet lifestyle: something to aspire to!
Last, but not least, there were the flying species who were too numerous to count. We saw birds in all sizes and colors: herons, egrets, warblers, flamingoes, and Darwin's famous finches (of course!), and the most famous Galápagos bird of all, the blue-footed boobie.
It was an amazing and challenging vacation. With so much to do and so much to see, we could not waste a moment. We returned to Guayaquil to fly home, and now I can spend some time like my buddy below, dreaming of the lives of creatures that can only be found in this rarest of places like nowhere else on earth!