Galapagos!

February 2, 2020

Sunrise first morning in Galapagos

Written after our first day in the Galapagos.

I’m lying on the bed in our air-conditioned room, taking a few minutes to write. We have been here less than 24 hours, and already I am loving these islands.

We have just returned from a walk over lava at Sullivan’s Bay, which, as our guide Paola said, was mostly about landscape, but we also saw penguins: the first a juvénile perched alone in a rocky cove, and later many swimming near the rocks where we landed and the sandy beach from which we returned.

Galapagos penguin

The lava was varied, with some organic-looking curving swirls and balls, and rope-like twisted forms.

Other bits were jagged and sharp, and cracked with sometimes deep fissures, oxidized red. Large and small red cinder cones from older eruptions loomed in the background.

We were transported between boat and shore via Zodiacs.

The water is crystal clear and turquoise blue.

I awoke before 6 this morning to see a glowing sky behind mountains. I grabbed the camera, and dashed out in my Mexican dress. In just minutes the sky had faded.

Some of us sat on the sun deck as the sun rose. A frigate bird perched on the roof, and sharks circled in the water with surgeon fish. I tried doing some yoga stretches, and realized how stiff and out of shape I am.

We will meet shortly to learn about the Galapagos finches. There are other boats anchored here. An Xploration catamaran and a much larger Silver Sea cruise ship. Kent tells me that several others have since come. We are still quite close to the main island of Santa Cruz, which our guide Paola’s home.

Yesterday

I snapped pictures of a few islands as we flew over them, including the airport and Mosquera Island — a interesting spit Of sand and black rock, where we were to walk later.

After Paola met us at the airport, we took a bus to a pier, then Zodiac to our ship Galaxy, where we were given our cabins, and served lunch.

After a bit of rest, the first expedition was a snorkel trip. I think we were all a bit nervous. I know it has been several years since Kent and I have snorkeled. We first had to find masks and fins that fit, and I had to struggle to get into my bathing suit.

But once in the water, it all comeback to me. There was a bit of swell as we swam along a rocky edge. I saw surgeon fish, parrot fish, and a Moorish Idol. And many others. Kent spied a shark, and others a spotted eagle ray. I relaxed among the beauty of the fish, but eventually., as the sunlight came at lower angles and clouds also loomed, I was ready to get out, and managed to navigate the ladder into the boat without too much difficulty after removing my fins in the water.

Getting fins for first snorkel

We were greeted in the Zodiacs with outdoor towels, and back on the ship, with hot sweet tea.

Our first challenge successfully completed!

A bit later, dressed in dry clothes, we walked on Mosquera Island, after a wet landing in surging waves that made it even later than we’d expected. I had a plastic bag over camera with big lens.

We saw many sea lions, pelicans, and black iguanas, all of which seemed quite unafraid.

Wet landing and departure

The sun was dipping low as we braved rough seas again, back to the boat. I was so tired at dinner, I could hardly stay awake.

I slept long and soundly, rocked in the cradle of the sea.

Author: Linnea Hendrickson

I am a retired librarian who walked my first camino to Santiago de Compostela in 2010, all alone from Le Puy-en-Velay to Finisterre. I've since returned to Spain, France, Portugal, or Italy at least every other year and continued to walk the many ways to Santiago.

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