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Published: November 19th 2009
The harbour when we arrived amazed us with these guys 5 feet away from us....it got better.
Lima to Guayaquil
There’s not much we can say about the Galapagos that would do it justice, but we’ll try. We took a bus from Lima to the border between Peru and Equador, and met a guy who was going to get us across the border. He was arranged by our travel lady. We met him with only one small problem, he didn’t speak any English! However we made our way to the checkpoint, got our passports stamped and walked across the border! There’s a small village called Huaquillas which is half in Peru, and half in Equador. We walked across the border which was a bit scary as there was a market and there were people everywhere, and they were all staring at us, and I can’t blame them we were the only white people we saw! We went to the mini bus station and caught a bus to Guayaquil where we caught the plane to the Galapagos. Guayaquil was a little scary as well because there were police or security on every block, some with batons, some with hand guns, some with machine guns or rifles and again we were the only foreigners we saw. One really
Jetty full of sea lions
We actually had to step around sea lions to get onto our dingy!
cool aspect of Guayaquil was that there was a little park and there were green iguana’s everywhere!! On the grass, in the trees and a few in the water! This was just a normal park like you’d see in any city, walkways grass lawns and trees. It was pretty cool! However, we had a whole week in the Galapagos ahead…so let’s get to it.
We arrived in the Galapagos to a nice warm 28c at the airport on San Cristobal Island. The Galapagos are made up of a number of Islands, about half have some sort of population of people living on them, but only a few have what could be recognised as towns or villages. Others have been clearly set aside as nature preserves. The Galapagos are probably most famous for Charles Darwin’s arrival on the HMS Beagle, a survey ship that had set sail from England. It came across the Galapagos and Darwin noticed that many of birds varied slightly from island to island. He famously noticed that the finches had different beaks adapted to different food types, short for seeds, long for insects and many variations in between.
So it was going to
be interesting to see if I could notice the same, however first we had to get there. We were picked up by our guide Enrique who was a fantastic guide. He took us to the port where we were greeted by 3 or 4 sea lions just sitting there ignoring the people going by. Wow! He did point out that we’d be sick of sea lions by the end of the trip, although that didn’t quite happen they did become as common as crows! Then we got to the jetty where we were picked up (and had to literally step around Sea Lions to get on the boat). Our cabin was below deck and about as wide as a the bunk beds with about 2 feet extra to get in and out of them and access the toilet at the end of the room. We dropped out stuff off and were off to a beach where we went snorkelling and saw sea turtles, a huge school of fish, and plenty of other funky fish. There was also a small group of sea lions which we were able to get about 5 feet away from and get photo’s.
7 days are a blur to be honest. We did so many fantastic things it’s hard to recount them all in detail that would do them justice. Basically our days consisted of a snorkel trip and or an island trip with the animals obviously the focus of each trip. Each trip also had some common animals such as the frigate birds, crabs, sea lions and sea iguanas and turtles which showed up on each of the islands pretty much. Then there were the more unique animals that only existed on some of the islands or one particular island. The giant tortoises, flamingos, land iguanas, and the boobie birds were pretty unique and only showed up on certain islands.
We were able to swim with white tipped reef sharks, I swam with a Galapagos shark although to be honest more of a “I swam in the water while a Galapagos shark was there” which freaked Pen out because we saw this shark swim up to the shallows cruising around and I was swimming out to see what it was! The reef sharks though we were standing literally 2 feet away, or swimming by them and they more or less ignored
Enrique ambling up to get us some coconuts
us, unless they got spooked and swam away. The sea turtles were awesome, and we also got to swim with sea lions as well. Another highlight for me was jumping, flipping and diving off the roof of the boat which was about 30 feet high.
The water was blue and warm, the beaches sandy and white, and the animals virtually unphased by people. If you like animals, like wildlife I can’t recommend the Galapagos enough.
My only concern was how sustainable the tourism is. The majority of what I saw made me feel relatively confident that the authorities are doing what they can to conserve the area, but then again there are tell tale signs of abuse, rubbish in the water, building on areas that are sensitive, introduction of invasive species (rats, goats, plants), environmental constraints (fresh water) and the constant stream of tourists.
There are also a couple of video's we'll try and upload, hopefully they'll work. One of Scott jumping off the roof of the boat, one of Scott swimming with a sea lion (who looked liked he was going to nibble Scott's toes) and one of Scott beside a reef shark.
Monkey boy Lescak not very successfully attempting to harvest coconuts...
said and done, hopefully the photo’s are worth thousands of words as I’m not sure I can say enough about the Galapagos. So enjoy the pics! South America was an amazing trip all round, but the Galapagos really were something unique and special unto themselves. Now, it’s back to the grind….trying to find jobs, and become responsible adults.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the blog, because that is essentially it! We may pop up some random photo’s at some point…but not for a while.
Ciao for now,
Scott and Pen
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