playing with seals
Ecuador Travel Blog› entry 9 of 9 › view all entries
i am in love! and just had one of the best 10mins of my life......!
i had such an amazing dive in the galapagos amd I love these islands. Out at Gordon Rocks dive site which is an eroded volcano crater in the middle of the ocean. We roll out of the boat into waves and disappear under water. About 30m down. a couple of minutes in we see the first 2 sharks - white tip reef sharks. then head across the sandy bottom, littered with starfish and stop. Coming towards me is one hammerhead shark. Followed by another 8! i hold onto a rock - trying not too look like food and checking that the rest of the group is behind me. They are 2.5m long and look scary. They disappear into the blue and as they do eagle rays come the other way. I love the way they swim/fly in the water and i get so close, just watching, as the strong current ensures they swim very slowly past.
And snorkelling, swimming - no PLAYING - with sealions! we jumped in and immediately the sealions come over to us.
Other trips we would snorkel through the water and watch the penguins paddle or streak past - sooo fast! see stingrays search for food on the bottom, turtles swim past (and i held onto a large ones shoulders for a short ride - yes i know it is bad but he hardly noticed!). Swam through dense schools of blue and yellow, or silver fish, explored nooks and crannies, saw sharks.
One a boat trip we stopped and saw a huge bait ball of sardines being fed on by albatrosses, bluefooted boobies, and frigate birds above and heaps of dolphins, galapagos sharks and seals feeding on them from below. I was dying to jump in the water, but smart enough not to jump in the water during a feeding frenzy. But it felt like this is one of the places in the world that is truly like what you see on the Discovery Channel and Blue Planet.
Stefan and I headed to another couple of islands to explore and see the different sights. The Galapagos is comprised of one of the most diverse ecosystems and geography in the world. Each island is different with different species of animals and was where Darwin first formed his theory of evolution. So an amazing place. Some were barren and covered in black volcanic lava, others were green and lush, or the volcano would be almost perpetually covered in cloud. We would see sea lions everywhere - some really large colonies, a few penguins on rocks or swimming through the sea, birds, iguanas.... everytime you went out the door or stuck you head underwater.
Tne island was covered in Frigate birds that were in mating season and you would see a bubble of red - the blown up chest of a black frigate bird trying to attract a mate.
Everywhere we went we saw iguanas. Black ones that were hard to distinguish from the volcanic rock, even though there were dozens of them. Fat black and yellow land iguanas. Red green and black marine iguanas. And we could get so close - warning avoid them when they spray water from their nose.
The giant tortoises were cool.... and so so slooooowww. Well, 3km in 24 hours is not fast. We were seeing tortoises up to 4ft long. There was a different type of tortoise on most of the islands.
We didnt even have to leave town to play with the animals. The little wooden fishing boats would come in and the fishermen cleaned their fish at the dock. Sometimes there would be a seal waiting just like a puppy at their ankles which i fed too. And then I was holding up a fish to feed the pelicans, holding it a little while waiting for a photo, and a frigate swooped in and took the fish, biting my fingersª - karma for teasing the pelicans i guess.
We stayed in Isabella for a few days as well and this is how i imagined the Galapagos. Sand streets, little homes, iguanas climbong the wall of the hostel, volleyball on the beach, and the mangroves and snorkelling islands so close, surfing off the pier.
I loved it. And go now before it gets even more expensive - most of the budget boats are upgrading so no more budget boats soon.
Then to Quito. Great town. Surprisingly modern and cosmopolitan. I really like the old section, with so many old churchs aspiring upwards, plazas, old pastel colour homes reaching up the sides of the valleys, and a hill with an angel statue to watch over the city. La Basilica is an old intricate concrete structure, still unfinished and a bit scarily with concrete designs fallen and smashed on the pathways below (just to make Stefan, Luke and I feel safer up high). The gargoyles are blue footed boobies, seals, iguanas or dolphins.
I am not sure (especially the next day) whether the discovery of the $5 all you can drink was a good thing or not. It was the beginning of a few crazy nights! Full of 18 year old gap year students, dancing and me making a general fool of myself. And then celebrating my last night ere. I celebrate 1 year exactly and the last night before I fly on the same night, good to have Matt from the Huaraz hike here and a whole other bunch of new friends.
I needed time to relax. In the last year i have stayed 2 places for 3 weeks, but most of my time I was packing my bag every couple of days. Moving fast - there is so much to see and I never had that much time to spare. So i relax on the beach, Canoa, a little fishing village, for a few days, meet a great crew of people to cook and party with and definitely do not spend enough time in the water. Its a nice little town with a wide stratch of beach, sand streets, coconut juice sold from carts, fishermen always fixing their nets, frisbee or football on the beach, fishermen pushing their boats down the sand beaches and racing out through the waves, surfers, veggies sold from the back of trucks, the closest bank 1/2 hour away and a really realxed friendly feel (sometimes too friendly from the latino hombres).