The Galapagos: A 4 day cruise and the Equator
I am utterly disappointed. I feel misled...bamboozled... hoodwinked! No, I wasn't
scammed out of money or my passport. It's much worse than that! As
you know, I am a young, fit, single, red-blooded, heterosexual American
male. So when I read the guide books and their description about the Galapagos Islands white, red and
black sand beaches where one can frolic on with hundreds of boobies,
its not hard to understand my excitement to visit such a Valhalla. But alas, no one told
me the "Boobies" that they speak of are simple sea birds!
In all honesty, the Blue-footed Boobies are nothing to write home
about until you see them fly and dive. It was something straight from
a Discovery channel program. They have bright blue, red, or white
feet (I only saw the blue and the white) and while bright blue webbed feet is an unusual
color for a birds foot (in my limited experience on this planet), I was unimpressed. That is until I saw a flock of 100 of
them flying with 50 or so pelicans. The Boobies fly along the coast
and simultaneously turn and dive into the water in search of food.
It was amazing to watch this feeding frenzy over and over again. It
is one of the highlights of my trip so far.
Another highlight was snorkeling on my own from the tour boat...everyone
else wanted to sleep or read a book. I grabbed my snorkel gear, jumped in the water and swam to a nearby reef. I first encountered amazing colored fish, which
made the excursion immediately worthwhile. Then, along came a sea
turtle swimming slowly though the water, unafraid of my presence, and apeared somewhat curious of my presence.
We swim together for a little while, until a sea lion swims within inches of my mask at a very high rate of speed. At first, I was scared by how close and how fast the sea lion approached. But soon I realized the sea lion was just being playful. It would continue to come up to about 2 inches from my mask and then dart under me.
He did this over and over for about 15 minutes. And just as quickly as she appeared, she was gone. I continued swimming
until I spotted a big fish headed my way...you guessed it, a white
tipped shark, about 6 feet long and scary looking. I'm petrified.
The shark passes without attacking me; I swim back to the boat as
quickly as I can, and wake the guide up just to make sure that the
white tipped sharks don't attack people. He said nothing would attack
me as long as I don't corner anything...so, I was safe Mom.
White-Tipped Shark in the Galapagos.
Those are my top two Galapagos experiences. There are several more memories of the 12 people who I spent 4 days with on the cruise. There was an older German lady who nicknamed me "sunshine". An English couple that was sea sick the entire trip. A Scottish guy and an Australian girl that were 8 months into thier own around the world trip. A smooth Spanish guy named Felix that always was the first to the roof of the boat with a glass of wine to watch the sunset as we cruised from island to island. An older Ecuadorian guy who spent most of his time talking to the kitchen staff. Two English sisters who were on taking a vacation with each other, one lived in Costa Rica and the other in Israel and decided to meet in the Galapagos. There were two other English girls who spent most of thier time reading books and I didn't get to know them too well.
Of course there were many more natural sights too, such as the massive Galapagos Turtles which are only found on the Galapagos.The Sally Lightfoot Crabs that speckle the black volcanic coastline. And how could I forget the sight of seeing an hours-old baby seal. And the massive black clumps of Marine Iguanas that look like the volcanic rocks until they hiss at you when you get too close. The bright yellow solo Land Iguanna lying below the Red Ballon throat of the Frigate bird.
Some of the most relaxing time was spent at sunset on top of the roof of the boat as we cruised from one island to another, drinking wine, watching the firgate birds catch the wind currents behind the boat to glide for hours without flapping thier wings. This is going to be a trip of a lifetime.
This afternoon I went to the equator and watch water go down the drain
clockwise in the southern hemisphere, counterclockwise in the northern
hemisphere and straight down on the equator. It was cool, in a very
nerdy way. See the movies here
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