Galapagos – The Second Half

Above Darwin Lake
Above Darwin Lake

By Deb

Our time on the Galapagos Archipelago was fantastic, yet words will probably do little to explain the magic of being there. The setting is stark and unforgiving, yet the life that survives there is placid and phenomenally beautiful.  It was surreal to be able to watch the wildlife from such proximity that we would have to move away from them to maintain the required 6 foot distance.  They do not run away from humans, but rather seemed intrigued by us, especially the sea lions which will swim up to you and bite your fins to try to get you to chase them.

Inquisitive Sea Lion
Inquisitive Sea Lion

For centuries, the only animals which inhabited the Galapagos are those which could swim or fly there on their own (i.e. sea lions, penguins, frigate birds, etc.), those which were able to survive a 2-week trip on a vegetation raft blown out to sea (i.e. iguanas, tortoises) or carried by a strong off-shore wind (i.e. finches, mocking birds).  Until humans began visiting the islands a couple hundred years ago, there were no mammals at all – they were too fragile to survive the journey out to the islands.  Even now, the largest animals on the islands are giant tortoises and iguanas, both of which are vegetarians.

Newborn Baby Fur Seal
Newborn Baby Fur Seal

We had originally planned on staying on land and only doing day-tours out the other islands but were able to score a last-minute deal on an 8-day boat trip through the western islands.  Now, if you know us, we are not “cruise” people, but, wow, what a fantastic experience!  Our initial trepidation about being out of place on the boat were quickly relieved when we met the other folks – a varied group of 12 others – many of whom were just like us.  There were a few younger back-packer types as well as a number of folks our age an older but we all love travel and the outdoors.  The only thing missing were other kids, but Lucia and Mac were their usual charming selves and made quick friends with all.

Kids on Panga with Other Guests
Kids on a Panga with Other Guests

Despite our initial trepidation, we are very glad that we did a boat trip.  Yes, it sort of blew our Ecuador budget a bit, but we were able to see much more than we would have doing only day-trips.  Because the evenings were spent traveling between distant locations, we would wake up in a new place ready for a new adventure.  Each day held at least two different locales, usually quite different from each other, with different activities.  The morning may be hiking through a lava field or up a volcano then the afternoon snorkeling with sea iguanas or sea turtles.  The video below highlights only some of what we saw.  A note of disclaimer – the quality of the photos and video is pretty low so it is a bit blurry and jerky.  Although I tend to have high expectations for anything that I “publish”, it would take me another 8-10 hours of internet time to upload at a higher quality so I have decided that this is “good enough” to give you an idea of what the experience was like.  If you want to see better quality photos, please visit our SmugMug site shindellsrtw.smugmug.com

6 responses to Galapagos – The Second Half

  1. Stephanie DeBoor says:

    I love your adventures. The pictures and video from the Galapagos are amazing. I’m adding it to my bucket list. I so enjoy your blog and pics. So jealous of your adventure.

    News from Reno:
    The DeBoor twins arrived. On Thursday night October 3rd, via urgent C-section. Sarah was preeclamptic. Ax Johnathan was born at 2004, 5lbs 1 oz, Stella Riot arrived at 2005, 5lbs 8 oz, both 17 inches long. Ax had a bit of a thermoregulation issue so spent time “on the beach” warming under the unnatural light. The went home 12 hours apart, but both are doing well. Their mom and dad are a bit sleep deprived, but loving every minute of new parenthood. And me…spoiling has commenced and I’m enjoying every minute I spend with them. I’ve already babysat twice so Adam and Sarah could have alone time. Not sure who was more nervous, the parents or Nanny Sprinkles (my new moniker). Anyway, here’s a little peek. Safe travels to all. Sd

  2. Beth Albanese says:

    LOVED this! But especially enjoyed the mammalian pictures at the end of the Shindells! How did Lucia do on the cruise? No seasick, I hope. 🙂

    • dshindell says:

      No seasickness for any of us! It was a bit rough a couple nights, but we consistently medicated and not one of us were even queasy!

  3. sharonjimenez@comcast.net says:

    What a wonderful experience.  I know the children are having one of the best experiences they will ever have.  The girls had their first dance and it was very sucessful – they had a great time.  I just returned from Albuquerque and the balloon festival and Durango – it is so beautiful.  Take care and have a wonderful time.  Love, Sharon

  4. Gary and Judy Schumer says:

    So glad to hear that you are having marvelous adventures and that you took the boat trip to the islands. Brings back great memories of a marvelous time and education. Looking forward to hearing more.
    Judy and Gary

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