Day One in the Galapagos

14 Nov

We spent our first afternoon in the Galapagos dining al fresco at our hotel, wandering through the dry forest, visiting the Darwin Centre and snorkeling in a small bay with a couple laid back turtles.

The sea lions here are hysterical. They’re ubiquitous, raucous, smelly and their favourite past times include sleeping in places you need to sit or walk, lying around barking or fighting each other. We were lucky enough to see a 2-day-old baby sea lion hanging out among the juvenile male sea lions, who nearly trampled the little guy in one of their many wrestling matches. The baby tried his best to hop around, but mostly stayed in one spot crying and craning his neck looking for his mom.

The following day, we were out on the ocean in our kayaks by 8:30 am, heading North along the coast of San Cristobal Island. We saw an array of birds along the coast and were privy to the mating ritual of two sea turtles, who probably didn’t appreciate us surrounding them in our kayaks as they did the nasty.

After kayaking, we didn’t hit the shore, but boarded a boat that took us up an inlet to a great snorkeling spot where we swam with sea turtles, sea lions, and saw tons of amazing sea life, like angel fish, sting rays and one disgruntled octopus. We boarded our boat for lunch and sped over to a secluded beach (aside from many sleeping sea lions…they’re literally everywhere). We got pretty intimate with a marine iguana that was sunning himself on the shore. He looked like a mini dinosaur and I’m not sure that he moved even an inch the whole time we were there. Our guide said they like to soak up the sun, get nice and hot, then head back toward water. In that way, we’re kind of similar – because after exploring the beach, soaking up the sun, we hopped back on the boat and went to our next snorkeling spot: Kicker Rock. Kicker Rock is two enormous rock formations, called tufts, that shoot straight up out of the water. Between them is where we were headed to snorkel.

It was there that we all entered the water with mild trepidation, knowing that there could be sharks below. And there were. Lots of them. But when the first person yelled, “Shark!” I was surprisingly calm, as were the rest of our group members. As we passed through the narrow channel that bisects the towering rocks that shoot straight up out of the water, several sharks circled below us. One of our two guides, Pedro, was slapping the water to pretend he was an injured seal, getting the sharks’ attention and coaxing them to come investigate us. It felt very National Geographic. Once we saw the second one, Luc went diving underwater towards it to get a better shot and ended up getting a pretty sweet video, which I’ll try to figure out how to post on here. I’m planning on writing about our swim with the sharks for a BCBusiness travel story, so I don’t want to use all my material, but it was a pretty amazing experience.

That evening we wandered the quaint boardwalk outside our hotel in San Cristobal and had a couple drinks with the four other people from our tour group. Tomorrow morning we board an eight-passenger plane for Santa Cruz Island, the biggest of the Galapagos Islands.

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One Response to “Day One in the Galapagos”

  1. linda rai 14/11/2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Kayaking and swimming with turtles and sharks!! talk about ‘ up close and personal’ with nature! weather must be warm and suitable for ocean swimming….
    stay safe! love Auntie Linda :)

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