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Published: August 2nd 2006
playful sea lion (lobo)
they would follow us whilst we were diving
18th July- 26th july
The Galapagos...The land of Darwin, the place where the concept of evolution was formulated. This was definitely a dream finally realised, and it lived up to all my expectations!
My flight landed on the island of Baltra, then 2 buses and a boat trip later, finally arrived at Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. This was to be our base for the next 8 days. Visted the islands of Santa Cruz, Baltra, North Seymour, Isabella, Floreana ,and Gordon Rocks.
These were the islands that Charles Darwin had developed his theroy of evolution. Once all joined, volcanic activity and rising water after the ice age caused these islands to separate and the animals that lived on them to exist in isolation. Over time, different climates on the various islands combined with different environments led to differences in characteristics. As those animals with particular survival charactersitics survived until the next generation...thus giving rise to the theory of ¨survival of the fittest¨
e.g Iguanas. There are the large and less populated land iguanas, and the more commonly found marine iguanas that are smaller and have a flat tail more suitable for swimming. This enabled
them to migrate to other islands when the water levels were low between the islands. this is also why they can be found more commonly in more islands!
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
This was to be our base for the 8 day Galapagos experience. Containing an abundance of hostels, restaurants, souvenir shops, bars and clubs...it definitely was touristy. But it was also where we met alot of great people, and partied during the nights...yes even in the Galapagos! We visited the highlands where the large turtle population existed in its natural environment. I have never seen turtles this big before. Previously facing extinction, preservation methods have meant that these turtles can once survive to their potential age of 250 years! what a life! We also visited the Charles Darwin research centre, where research continues and breeding of turtles and Iguanas still continues. We had decided to designate one rest day, where we headed to Turtle Bay. This is as good as paradise gets for the Galapagos- turquoise blue seas, mangroves at the border, and locals and tourists enjoying the tranquility of the place. It was also a great place for surfing...but we just couldnt find one!!!
was also a great place for partyin...each day of the week. Be it ¨Cafe y limon¨or ¨bongo¨, there is always something for everyone. we met some great people and partied away most nights! my salsa is also getting better!!! natural lebanese hips baby!
the boat trip to the isalnd was nauseating. where are those damn antiemetics when u need them! Isabella island is said to be the most beautiful of the Galapagos islands. Consisting of several volcanos, and abundant with animal life, it lived up to its reputation. even from afar you can appreciate the volcanic terrain that had spread from previous eruptions. Visited a lake with Pink Flamingos.
The following day, on horseback, we visited the nearby Volcano Negra (Black Volcano). containing the 2nd largest crater in the world! almost 9km radius, it was rugged and huge. It had last erupted in 2005! obviously the whole thing doesnt erupt, just parts of it. You could even appreciate the darkness of the recent eruption, in comparison to the lighter older remains. Visited nearby pockets of islands filled with marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and blue footed boobies (yes, i still laugh every time i hear
these birds got very close...
i was just afraid they were gonna shit on me!
that!). You can see sharks circling the surrounding water.
That afternoon was spent snorkeling in the nearby bay, where corals attracted colourful fish, and the fish attracted the sea lions. We were entertained by 2 baby sea lions that would play with us and swerve all around us!
Known as one of the best duve sites in the Gallapagos, it is also the place to come face to face with the hammerhead sharks. Headed out with our divemaster Macaroon. The dive site consisted of 2 main large rocks around which coral existed. Dived with Claudio, Freddie and an arrogant Israeli guy!
There were downward and strong side currents. Meant to be a dive for experienced divers, my friend Claudio lied saying he had dived around 15 times instead of his actual 2 previous diving experiences! Kinda of worrying when he had forgotten to equalise on the descent or kept being dragged away!
We swam with graceful Galapagos turtles, chased Hammerhead Sharks, numerous beautiful fish....i love diving!
NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND
Just above Baltra, this island was filled with animals!
*huge land iguanas that would just come up to you and walk over
your feet! Large, orange hues on their scaly outer, they could live much longer that their marine relative
*Fragad birds- this was a beautiful bird. You could see the full cycle of this animals development. The male, famous for its large red ballon-like feature over the neck, would inflate it, lay on bushes in an open area, shake about and make noise in attempt to get the attention of the females flying above. Once the female chooses a male, they become a couple for life. They then enter the honeymoon stage where they build a nest. They lay eggs, often two. One normally hatches earlier than the other, and usually spends its early life dominating the nest, often displacing its younger ¨sibling¨out of the nest circle, where it becomes neglected and left to die.
*Cacti- had also been involved in evolutionary change whereby they had become taller and sprouted their leaves higher in an attempt to survive the onslaught from the low lyingland animals.
2 dive sites- Point Comorone, Champion
The first dive site was filled with Galapagos sharks, white tipped sharks, turtles, numerous colourful fish and sting rays. We
would spend half the time staking out the shark hide outs, and then swim after them!! kinda sounds crazy, but they´re harmless animals...at least so far!!!
Champion consisted of a large reef wall that held much the same kinds of fish. but we also came across the sea eel, and numerous seal lions...they make for great pictures!
I urge you all tomake this trip at some point in your life. Be sure to come with a sense of adventure, and preferably diving experience- the animal life under the sea is even more interesting than on the land!
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