The Galapagos: volcanoes, snorkel, blue-footed boobies, adventures

TEMP ORARY November 14, 2012 0
The Galapagos: volcanoes, snorkel, blue-footed boobies, adventures

After one crazy full-body sunburn, a minor cold, and a wild (too wild?) Halloween bash, I can say, “I survived the Galapagos Islands.” My trip to the islands of Baltra, Santa Cruz and Isabela consisted of more than those three aforementioned things, of course, and fortunately the other components weren’t so dismal. There were also volcanoes, sea lions, sharks, tortoises, penguins, blue-footed boobies, iguanas and all sorts of other natural goodies to enjoy. And we feasted like royalty.
Of all the creatures, I must say I was most enamored by the sea lions. They were either flopped on the sand, lazily soaking up the rays or darting in and out of the waves having an absolute ball. At one point, we humans were boating from island to island, and we came upon a sea lion carnival – we boated right on up to it. They were so majestic swimming around like gleeful, finned children in crystal blue water. Not being a group to pass up a party, my friends and I hopped overboard and began snorkeling amongst the festivities! They swam right up to and around us – without a single ounce of fear; they lived only to play! Where else on earth can you get such an experience?
We also snorkeled with sea turtles, sharks, (horrifyingly huge) rays and a wide array of fish. While these weren’t as playful as the sea lions (they didn’t even seem to notice we were there, in fact), it still felt like I had stepped into an Animal Planet program – or Finding Nemo – and I loved it.
The sharks and stingrays did freak me out. I was a novice snorkeler, so I was preoccupied readjusting my mask almost all of the time. It always seemed to happen that when I would plop my face back in the water, I would be floating mere feet above some seemingly murderous creature – like a shark, for example.
Large tortoises covered the islands. What weird animals. They all had the faces of old men, and moved at a similar speed. We even met one old champ that, according to our guide, was one hundred and twenty-five years old! Can you believe it? And all they do, for all those years, is fart around, eat or drink if they feel like it (they can go an entire year without doing either) and try to reproduce. This can be a hard process, you see, because they are such slow, frumpy things. Our guide said that a tortoise sex session takes at least ten hours, because it’s kind of a try-until-you-hit-the-bulls-eye type of thing, so I guess it’s a good thing they live so long.
We spent one of our days hiking to Sierra Negra, a volcano located on Isla Isabela. The trek was a whopping 6.5-hour out-and-back voyage, and I wasn’t feeling my best. Ferocious sunburn from the previous day (oh, the pains of being a beach-loving, pale white girl) stung with every step. A stupid sore throat had also struck and then transformed into an irritating sinus headache. Despite my discomfort, however, I kept the pace with the rest of my group and made it to the volcano. It was amazing. We walked through the lava’s destruction from a past eruption; all was dried lava, no vegetation whatsoever. It honestly felt as if I were walking on Mars. Plus, we climbed up to behold an absolutely awe-inspiring view. The entirety of Isabela lay before us, and all the clouds got out of the way for us to see. Needless to say, I was happy I had pulled myself out of bed to experience it.
Our trip ended with a bang. My sunburn’s intensity had faded, along with my headache. We celebrated Halloween, our last night on the islands, by eating lobster for dinner and partying it up at a hostel just down the beach. A bonfire lit up the place, and live music collaborated with the sound of the waves for the perfect party setting. I dressed as Rudolph (an easily-packed costume) and proceeded to enjoy the evening immensely. It was a truly wonderful way to conclude my vacation in paradise.

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