Brad had the Galapogos Islands on his top ten list for years, so naturally when we began planning our year long journey the Galapogos Islands was part of our plan. I of course wanted to visit the Galapogos Islands but it wasn’t on my list mainly because it is so remote. To me it seemed out of reach.
We decided on a long visit to the islands versus a few days or a week, and I am really glad we decided to go. Brad arranged a 15 day yacht trip which included visits to all of the islands which are allowed by the park service.
The Galapogos Islands have two seasons, wet and dry. Our visit was during the dry season which is also the colder time of year. The southern ocean currents flow north during this time so the water is colder and has more nutrients. This means more fish which makes for really nice snorkeling plus cooler temputures for walking and hiking.
Every island is different and the animals are also very different on many of the islands. The main thing that is surprising and delightful is the way the animals deal with human visitors. Mainly they are often in the trails and it is the visitors responsibility to get around them. The many birds, sea lions, lizards, tortoises, and iguanas seem pretty unconcerned about humans and will simply continue resting on the trail as you sneak by.
During our visit we saw many newborn sea lion pups which was a big treat. They are super cute and they make nice baby sea lion noises, plus it was fun to see them nurse or play with other new born pups. We even saw a very newborn pup and its mother. She was still bloody and the birds were fighting over the placenta. It was truly a once in a life time experience.
Sadly we only were able to enjoy the stars on one night since it was often cloudy or foggy. But the one night we did get a glimpse was really nice. Our on board naturalist had a laser pointer and was able to show us many of the constalltions. That was a real treat. From the equator the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross are visible but they weren’t out when we were outside. For the time of year we would have to get up quite early in the morning to see both. But since I have seen the Big Dipper a lot I am planning to focus on the Southern Cross in the coming weeks as we wander around South America.
Most of the islands are not inhabited by humans so the wild life really has the run of the islands. Our yacht had many “birders” on board which is apparently one of the big reasons people come to the islands. I didn’t know this. In fact I did little research prior to our visit due to all kinds of reasons. The bird people were very enthusiastic about every variety of bird we saw. I liked the Pelicans and the Penguins, but we also saw many other birds including frigates, finches, albatrosses, gulls and flamingos and many many more. Even hawks and owls. It was pretty fun to be with people who know all about the birds and can tell you about their habits. The mocking birds were fun and very aggressive. Many of the islands have no water so they seek water from visitors. Of course it is not allowed to interfere with the wildlife so we didn’t give them water from our bottles but that didn’t stop them from begging. They would squawk and land on back packs and heads and arms. Whatever they thought would work. It was delightful to watch them in action.