I have been offline and unplugged for the last week in the Galapagos Islands. Before kicking off this adventure last November, I longed to reach the Galapagos. I put this longing at the back of my mind though, as I knew I had a lot to look forward to before making it to this small chain of islands, some 1,000 km off mainland Ecuador. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that my time here could be as incredible as it has been. I know I say this a lot but I will, hand on heart, be back!
As you may have read in my previous post, I was very much looking forward to getting back to the ocean after an extended time in the Bolivian and Peruvian highlands. While I knew of the Galapagos’ reputation for wildlife, I hadn’t really stopped to consider the impact that coming into such close contact with this wildlife might have on me.
While all of my friends and family have been working this last week, I found myself laying on deserted beaches with sea lion colonies, snorkelling with sea turtles, reef sharks, hammerheads and manta rays, and hiking through remote islands and photographing birds, iguanas and the famous giant Galapagos tortoise.
There were a couple of close encounters with some overprotective sea lions, whose pups I inadvertently walked too close to, but on the whole the animals couldn’t care less if I was there or not. Sea turtles and rays effortlessly glided by as I kicked and scrambled to keep up, sea lions waddled their way up the sand, sometimes stopping by to sniff my leg briefly before continuing on their way. Everywhere you look in the Galapagos, Mother Nature is in full view. From plants and animals who have somehow adapted to their surroundings to the cycle of life, where animals die only to feed and sustain others. One thing that the last week has taught me is that I am only a small drop in one giant ocean. The Galapagos was a humbling experience.
My attempt at trying to summarise a week spent living amongst some of the world’s most unique species of animals into a few concise paragraphs, with a few photos thrown in, seems a little inadequate. Nevertheless, I hope that it in some way conveys the sheer joy that the last week has brought me.