Sea Lions rule the bay

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


The Galapagos – a place so enriched with wildlife, it is hard to imagine some of these beautiful creatures are still endangered.

The Galapagos – takes you back in time, to a prehistoric world, a world filled with giant tortoises and iguanas. There are many ways I can describe these islands and for me and I am sure for everyone that has visited or will be visiting a complete privilege, an all enthralling experience each and every day.

I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Galapagos, with 5 days being on a small cruise boat, Aida Maria, exploring the south islands with 14 other just as excitable passengers.

My first few days on Santa Cruz island were like being part of a cartoon – a magical land where everything seems perfect. I walked along the pure white sand of Turtle Bay while watching deep black marine iguanas merge from the sea, returning just a slight tilting of the head in acknowledgment that you were there. There were plenty of them along with bright red crabs scattered on the rocks, peering and watching you warily as you passed.

If time had stood still, this is where I would want to be! I know it sounds surreal and I will admit I asked myself the same question was everything truly happening, was I actually gazing out at the sunset over the ocean while spotting elegant manta-rays somersaulting out the water at intermittent occasions.

The boat I stayed on was great and the bonus was I had a small cabin to myself with bathroom. There was enough space on deck to enjoy the views and something I am not used too – mounds and mounds of food. My only excuse for eating it all was I needed to keep my energy up for my next excursion – which for me generally meant racing around in the water with my camera trying to capture all the fish I could see.

My route took me around the south islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Española and Floreana. Each offered something new and more of the same beautiful creatures.

The sea lions ruled the bay – on every island they were irresistibly cute: dreaming contently in the sun, playing in the surf and swimming around you while you snorkelled.

While I wasn’t in or on the water, I was walking around the islands visiting both marine and land iguanas, seeing the famous blue footed boobies – you guessed it the ones with the bright blue feet and watching the albatross waddle to the cliff edge to take off into the sky.

On my last full day sailing I got a chance to snorkel in an amazing place – Devils Crown. The water was crystal clear and I got to experience snorkelling with black tip reef sharks (plenty of them just lurking below you), marble rays, turtles, tropical fish and sea lions all the time while admiring the stunning rock bottom covered in electric blue and orange starfish.

´Can I stay longer?` was my first thought when it was time to leave this place. A place I hope to one day return. A place I will hope will stay as enriched and magical for all who visit.


 

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