Galapagos, One Spectacular Place on Earth
I just came back from what was supposed to be a week in the Galapagos Islands, but after not one but two changes of my return ticket, a whole 12 days was spent in this wild life paradise. All of a sudden mainland Ecuador seems a bit boring and dull, after spending 12 days in of the most remarkable places on this planet.
The history of this extraordinary archipelago was one of the main inspirations to a young Charles Darwin, that would 20 years after he visited the islands, result in one of the most important scientific breakthroughs known to man kind – The Theory of Evolution through Natural Selection. The abundance of wild life and species not present anywhere else on this planet makes Galapagos a truly unique place to visit. One day I visited the Center of Interpretation (the history of Galapagos) on island San Cristobal, where I (not for the first time:P) read the fascinating story of the young Charles Darwin sailing around the world on the ship HMS Beagle, studying and collecting detailed notes about the wild life he came across. He did not process his notes until many years later, when he finally started so see too many similarities between species, for the chance to originate.
Because the animals that found their way to this relatively new volcanic archipelago did not have any natural enemies such as predators, they simply didn’t need to be afraid of other species. Every day I walked around among Sea Lions, thousands of big Marine Iguanas, giant Galapagos Tortoises (land turtles that can weigh up to 250 kg and live for more than 150 years), Blue Footed Boobies, Flamingos and a crowd of other animals. As a male mildly interesting in photography, you can solve the Sudoku and get that this was a paradise for me! Coming this close to wild animals is extremely rare and the feeling of breathing beside our fellow animals is not to be taken for granted, but to gratefully embrace the special moment given to you.
Island Isabella is the biggest of the islands and also a favorite spot among many people. Other than great snorkeling with turtles, white tipped reef sharks, sting rays, sea lions etc. the half-day trip to the very small and nearby island Tintoreras is well worth its $20!
Isabella also offers great surfing for people like myself, who loves the life on a surf board. One day two Germans and me took a boat with some locals out to a great reef break 20 minutes boat ride from the port. The waves were incredible and never have I surfed a reef break with walls of water like this:)
On the main island Santa Cruz there’s a national park area called El Chato, where I had one of my life’s most spectacular wild life experiences. This high land national park is the Mexico City for the incredible Galapagos Tortoises. These huge land turtles walks around eating grass, chilling out and mating. And to watch them from their own backyard is unreal. Definitely a place everyone going to Galapagos must pay a visit to.
Last but maybe the most amazing experience of my paradise trip to Galapagos is the dive trip on my next last day. With the great dive company Macarron Diving, I went up before the rooster crows, had my morning drug (coffee) and off we flew with the dive boat. On the way out it seemed to be happy hour, seeing two pairs of turtles mating in the ocean, made us in the boat slightly jealous but happy to see that even turtles need their morning glory:)
Diving at the well known dive site Mosquera, they told us that we might see Hammerhead sharks. Knowing that diving is a lottery we kind of counted on not seeing any. But boy, how wrong a man can be. The first thing that showed up when we descended was nothing else but a big Hammerhead shark:) The first dive was insane, with probably 10 Hammerheads, a school of 15 Manta Rays, Galapagos Sharks, sea lions, Eagle Rays and shit loads of fish in all flavours. The second dive offered approximately 5 Hammerheads, but this time, we saw a school of probably 30 Eagle Rays! It feels magical to see so many of these graceful animals swim butter smooth from under the surface. To see Hammerheads is something extremely special, but to not only see Hammerheads, but also schools of Manta Rays, Eagly Rays, Stone Scorpion Fish and being completely surrounded by humongous schools of silvery fish during the same dive – That is a dive that will be hard-beaten:)
As usual I will provide some scenes from Galapagos, and more will come when the time comes.
On the beautiful island of Isabella the great Hostel Caleta Iguana shows why it got its name. Julia and Mauritz just came back from a nice morning surf:)
From island San Cristobal I went for a dive trip to the dive site Kickers Rock, Johnson and Dave are relaxing on the boat between our two dives. We saw approximately 30 Galapagos Sharks swimming above us, heaps of turtles, a big Eagle Ray and much more.
When the fishermen unloads the day’s catch our hungry and extremely not-shy friends, the pelicans, make sure they’re in for a bite.
The central beach on San Cristobal is a favorite spot for the lazy sea lions. Watch out for the males as they can become a bit grouchy when coming to close to them or their family..
Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re not. I was walking around in Puerto Ayora on island Santa Cruz when I saw this beautiful hotel just by the little port. The weather was smiling at me, and I felt the good spirits where with me. So in I walked, asked the reception if it was fine if I took some photos. They could say nothing but yes to the friendly man standing in front of them. Next day I went back and asked to speak to the owner, another request they reluctantly obeyed. The owner was very pleased with my visit and simply could not resist the sweet taste of photographic awesomeness presented before his gasping eye balls.