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Big Small Journey Off on the adventure of my lifetime: 5 glorious months of sun and snow in South America, then the UK for further fun and frolicking.

Gorgeous gorgeous Galapagos

ECUADOR | Monday, 16 June 2008 | Views [796]

The place is soooo pretty. Last time I wrote I had just done some diving and seen Isabela, after that I boarded the Eden yacht (first class, very fancy and comfortable). The food was really good, fruits, juices, meats, seafood, pasta, rice, and all sorts of Western accompaniments. Table service! First night we just got to know each other a bit, and went to bed early.

Day 1: Breakfast at 6:45, in a boat by 7:30 to James Bay (on Santiago/James island). Here we walked along the coast for a couple of hours, looking at the sea lions, marine iguanas, crabs, and lots of birds. The guide was very interesting, has millions of stories and seems to know everything about the animals and plants. We weren't allowed to touch the animals but could get as close as 1 metre. Afterwards we snorkled alongs the bay. There were MILLIONS of fish, big ones and small ones, colourful ones and ones that blended in with the water, occasionally flashing silver in the sun. The highlight was definitely swimming with a young sea lion. It was so curious about me, and me about him. We swam around each other, chased fish, dived, flipped water at each other. It was sooooo awesome. I also swam next to a fully mature bull sea lion. It was over 2m long and scared the crap out of me when I saw it gliding besides me. That must've been the dominant male in the area.

Had lunch back on the boat, then everyone found a spot for siesta. Later, we went for another walk and snorkle at a different bay. This time there were lots of people, and I avoided them. Swam with a sea lion and penguins for a little bit but they left the water, being hasselled by dozens of tourists. I went looking for sharks and turtles but didn't find any. The visibility wasn't very good, but did see a massive manta ray. It was circular in shape, will have to find the specific name for it.

In the afternoon, we walked up Bartolome island, which is a relatively young volcano that has almost nothing living on it. Beautiful sunset view.

Day 2: Another early morning dingy ride and walk, this time at Genovesa island. We had sailed for many hours during the night to get to one of the most far North Eastern islands in the archipelo. We saw lots of birds, including the red footed boobies, and frigates who don't fish themselves, but hassel other birds, throwing and attacking them until they throw up, then the frigates eat up the half digested fish. Nasty little things, but the males have very pretty red breast. It't bright red and blows up like a balloon. They hang around nice bushes until females fly past, then they spread their wings, shake about and make a gobbly sound, a bit like a turkey. That's their mating dance. We also saw Galapagos fur sea lions, they weren't friendly as the common sea lions.

We snorkelled again looking for hammerheads, or any old sharks, but the visibility was so poor we didn't see anything. I did get stung by blue bottle jellyfish though.

After lunch, we watched a movie, Trade (my choice). Later we went for another walk on Genovesa, seeing HEAPS of the frigates and boobies. Then went for a snorkel. Saw some huge parrotfish but that was about all.

In the evening, watched a bit of Superbad, had dinner, and I laid out on the top deck, looking at the stars, and waiting to cross the ecuator back into the southern hemisphere. The moon was very bright, and there were some pretty birds flying with the boat, fishing in the illuminated water.

Day 3: Up at 5:40am, went for a dingy ride around Black Turtle Cove, near Baltra island. We were looking for turtles, sharks and rays, but the visibility was poor again. We did find turtles, some tiger rays, and saw 2 sharks frollicking in the shallows, but no as many as we should've. It was a lovely sunrise though, the ocean as calm as a baby pool.

We got shipped to the airport where I managed to move myself to an earlier flight, and now I'm back in Quito, all is arranged for the jungle trip leaving tonight!

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