Thursday, 22 May 2008

Boobies on the Galapogas Islands

What a way to finish my trip. The Galapogas Islands is one of the best places i have visited. I know this sounds cheesy but the Galapogas i would have to say is 'teeming with wildlife'. All the animals are really friendly and let you get quite close to them. We had beautiful 30 degrees weather throughout the 5 full days i was there and i pretty much saw most of the animals and marine life that these volcanic islands had to offer. With 2 friends travelling with me, we decided not to take a 5 day guided tour as we all were trying to make this part of our holiday cheaper as it is quite expensive as well as we would be paying for activities that we would not be interested in. The way we did it was fantastic, we got to see what we wanted to see and with the help of the hostel we were staying in, we got to see as much as possible in the time we had left. We joined day tours as well as do our own thing and explored the islands of Bartolome, Floreana and fully explored the island of Santa Cruz, where we enjoyed bay and land tours. We were lucky enough on our last day where we had a boat to ourselves and our guide and captain took us anywhere we wanted to go.

Frolicking with Sea Lions
This was one of the best experiences i have had ever had. We swam in a small lagoon where around 30 or so sea lions live. They are just as curious as you are and so they all come over to have a look and play. With my snorkel, we twisted and turned, did back flips and played. They swam so close to me that i touched a couple of them feeling their leathery tail. At one stage i was swimming with 6 of them, watching them catch fish, pose in weird positions as if to say "can you do that?" and see them jump in and out of the water like dolphins. I was having so much fun that i didn't want to leave and when we did make our way out, they would all make attempts to show off one last time by following the boat and making noises telling us to come back... or to 'F' off.

Animals, animals and animals
Everyday we went off in search of animals that we hadn't seen yet. I was lucky to see countless sea lions, sea iguanas (i swam with a couple), blue footed boobie birds and many other types of Avery, giant 150 year old tortoises (one tried to eat my shorts as i was taking a photo of another one), i swam with sea turtles, sting rays, witnessed pelicans trying to steal the fish off the local fishermen back at the port, bright red crabs that are everywhere even running across my foot which freaked me out and every type of fish. Sharks too where i saw a white tipped shark and Galapogas shark (both harmless). There is a place called Gordon Rocks on the island of Santa Cruz where if you have a diving certificate you can dive with hundreds of hammerhead sharks! Speaking to the people who had gone had said is was the best experience that they had ever had. That's something I'm going to have to do for next time. As well as seeing a lot of the fauna, we also visited lava caves, huge craters climbing to the top and trekking in thongs (flip-flops) across sharp and jagged lava rocks to get to lagoons. The Galapogas Islands is as good as everyone sais it is and i cannot recommend it more.

Quito... The centre of the world
With my one day to spend in the capital of Ecuador , i decided to visit the Equator. Before GPS systems, Quito was the only place in the world where a French expedition could measure the Latitude 00.00'00". Taking a cheap 2hour bus ride to get there due to me staying on the other side of this huge city, i finally got to the museum where you can complete many experiments to prove that it is the Equator line. We spun water on the north and south sides seeing which way the water spins and then placing the water trough directly on the line and watching the water flow straight down with the help of a leaf. We balanced an egg on a nail head, did physical strength tests where on the line, forces pull you down and learnt and played with many others things which turned out to be a fascinating day. Also while i was there, i joined a short 2 hour tour that went to the summit of another active volcano. I didn't climb this one, yet it wasn't all that high as Quito is already 2800m above sea level. What made this volcano interesting is that there are many inhabitants living inside the crater and they have been doing so for thousands of years. Recently the government installed a road in case of an emergency for them to get out as recent measures of this volcano shows rumblings that it could blow anytime soon.

Well that's the end of what has been an unforgettable trip that I'm always going to remember. I have countless memories and stories that i haven't had time to mention in my blogs. I'm excited to go home and i have 2 days of plane flights and waiting in airports. Thank-you for reading as i have loved sharing my stories and can't wait to catch up with everyone and to hear what's been going on.