Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"Don´t step on the Albatross"

Those immortal words were indeed muttered to me just days ago when we were on our 8 day Galapagos Islands cruise.
But the phrase could well have been, "Dont step on the giant turtle, blue footed booby, the 170 kg Sea Lion, the 15 iguanas right next to your foot, and don´t put your finger too close to the white tipped shark"For the Galapagos Sea lion it is quite normal to sleep under the wheel of a bus, for the Blue footy booby the best place to nest is in the middle of a walking track, and for the giant tortoise why not lay your eggs when the tourists have just arrived on the beach. In fact the Galapagos Islands are actually the Earth about 3 billion years ago. They are volcanic Islands quite recently formed, (there are over 2000 visible craters on the Islands). The slow transformation of lava into soil is remarkable and the fact that the animals have evolved witout a fear of humans is astonishing. It is for this reason they have become one of South America´s top, albeit expensive, tourist attractions.
So Kate, myself and Jason and Jonathon( two of Kate´s friends from OZ, booked our very own pirate ship( along with 8 others) and set sail around the archipelago. It was one of those trips where the water was bluey green, the fish were plentiful for snorkeling, and the Islands amazing.
It was indeed a paradise, although I wouldn´t of wanted to be shipwrecked there. For me the highlights were the Albatrosses soaring off the cliffs, swimming with extremely playful sea lions,
getting the fright of my life when swimming off the boat and noticing a large shark underneath me, and seeing the incredible lava formations.
Now we´re back in Quito and tomorrow we head towards the central highlands of Ecuador, which will be very cold but also very beautiful.

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