They are everywhere. The naturalists would stop us in our tracks and say, “There are some boobies.” Then Audrey would point and tell me to “Look at those boobies.” Even the kids were able to spot boobies on the beach from up on the bluff. There are small boobies, medium-sized boobies, and really big boobies. No matter what size, it was quite the experience to see so many. I loved these islands.
Visiting the Galapagos is not cheap — even with a 50% discount — so I was initially hesitant and wondered if we would get the value. From the moment we boarded the Santa Cruz II on our 6-day trip, I realized our money was well spent. I may need to delay Colin’s college for a few years but he sure learned a lot these past few days.
Charles Darwin landed on the Galapagos in 1835 and realized this was the place to understand evolution. It wasn’t just the strongest who would survive but the ones who could most adapt. And, many creatures have adjusted to their surroundings. For example, the Marine Iguanas are able to drink sea water and desalinate the liquid by sneezing out the salt. Goats, after being introduced to one of the islands, also had to adapt to salt water when no fresh water could be found. (Watch Colin’s interview about Darwin).
Of all the places I’ve been, this is the most protected. While the government didn’t get the exact location of the equator correct, it did figure out how to protect this archipelago. It’s highly restrictive on what you can bring, where you can go, and the size of your group. And while the regulations are tight and fines hefty, it’s well worth it.
You can be within a few feet (2 meters legally) of an animal and they won’t run, fly, or swim away. It seems they are just intrigued with you as you are of them. We were within 6 feet of a baby sea lion nursing off its mother and even closer to another as she swam right up to us wanting to play. The turtles also swam so close we could almost touch them. They weren’t even afraid. Most of the animals realize that we are not predators so they let us walk by. (Watch Decker’s interview about the animals – The boys are making educational videos for their school so this one is a little longer).
No Decisions Necessary
Along with the animals, it was nice to have our entire week planned. We didn’t have to decide where we would eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, what we would do, or where we would go. The Chef decided, the Excursion Director decided, the Captain decided. When traveling for long periods, decision fatigue is a challenge. So, even though we were exhausted from the many daily excursions, there was a component that was relaxing.
Do Our Kids Get It?
Do our kids understand how good they have it? Do they understand how extraordinary this trip is? Do they realize that they are seeing animals in the wild that most people only see in a zoo? I ask that question most days as sometimes I wonder if they think this is normal. We had two Killer Whales swim about 15 feet from our Zodiac. Later in the afternoon we went snorkeling and were surrounded by sea turtles when a sea lion zoomed by. Maybe I will learn the answer in the years to come.
- Watching two Orcas swim just 15 feet off our Zodiak
- Standing just a few feet from Iguanas, Penguins, and Turtles
- Swimming with the sea lions and sea turtles
- Watching a Blue-Footed Boobie nesting with her chicks a few feet off our path
- Seeing a Pink Flamingo — albeit a long way off (Decker)
- Meeting other kids and hanging out watching movies (Colin & Decker)
- Eating at the buffet
- Getting off the ship
After I made a joke about the Blue-Footed Boobie my mom said that “only the immature” make those kind of jokes. Well, in a few weeks we’ll be at Lake Titicaca and…. Maybe I’ll become more mature after 50. Maybe not.
- Days on Road – 74
- Countries – 5
- Flight (Miles) – 9,774
- Flight (Hours) – 29′ 34″
- Bus (Hours) – 44′ 15″
- Items Lost – 5