Friday, May 6, 2016

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Part 3: Lava, Dolphin Diving, Sea Lion Snorkeling

So I know I'm 3 months late, but Charlie Puth seriously sings like an angel. I may have had "One Call Away" on repeat for days. Moving on.

And so continues the third installment of my Galapagos Islands adventures!  I thought this would be the last one, but alas, I started writing it and it is already so, so, so long - so I'm going to have to do a PART IV. GASP.  I can't help that the Galapagos are so happening!!!  Anyhow, enjoy.

Cliffnotes of Day 4:
  • Sailed to the Eastern shore of Isla Santiago to an area called Pinnacle Rock, where we took our nature walk on some baller lava fields.  The lava formations were from a volcanic eruption over 115 years ago (where the lava reached temp of over 1,700 degrees Celsius!)

    How crazy-looking are these lava fields!

    These formations are called rope formations, because the lava twisted and cooled into rope-like strands. Also, new shoes.

    This is Filip looking into a formation called an oven - where pressure built up over time and lava exploded out in tiny mini-volcanoes

    Sitting in a giant lava crack

    Lava fields group shot, check.

    Just call me the crab whisperer

    • After our lava walk, we super-snorkeled (a term our guide uses for when we snorkel directly from the boat; vs. going from the beach) around the edges of the lava fields.  Of note: the cutest, happiest sea lion swimming with us in the water, AND WE SAW A PENGUIN. He kind of poked his head up and then zipped by quickly, so only some of us saw him, but it was adorable.  There were also some sharks, which are still cool but we've honestly seen so many of them by now. AND MY FAVE PART: four of us happened upon a giant sea turtle. It was perfect because there was no one else around, and he was super chill and was swimming in the coolest, most laid-back way - he didn't even care that we were there. In fact, he swam with the four of us all the way back to the boat, which took about 15 minutes. It felt like we were four turtles, just casually swimming together. I know that sounds weird. But it was pure, pure magic. 
    This is what a Galapagos penguin looks like.
    But when they're zipping by you in the water, they just look like a flash of black.

    • In the afternoon, five of us chose to go diving, while the others chilled on the boat and a couple others snorkeled.  Ayelen, Andrés, Josh, Luci and I organized for a dive master to come to our boat and take us diving at a spot called North Seymour Island. 
    • First side note, I don't know why scuba certification is for life, because I seriously forget every single thing I've ever learned after about a month. Doesn't matter how many times I've been, if it's been over a month, I might as well not be certified. I'm pretty sure everyone on the boat was eyeing each other warily as I tried to twist my octopus (the thing with all the air tubes and cords) onto my air tank the completely wrong direction. Oh, would have just led to a tiny consequence of not having air underwater, you know.
    • Second side note, our poor dive master was trying to give us a safety briefing before our dive - when nearby, we saw DOLPHINS leaping out of the water. It was so exciting that Luci and I inadvertently let out a scream every time another one jumped. We'd calm down, the dive master would continue his safety talk, and then another dolphin would leap through the air in the distance, and we'd accidentally scream again. I was literally dizzy with excitement - it was seriously, seriously majestic. Also, I can't repeat a single thing the dive master said re:safety.

    I'm sure you needed this visual

    • Onto the actual diving itself, our first dive was meh. But the SECOND DIVE - it was amazing - we saw so many moray eels poking out of caves, HUGE eagle rays swimming by, the largest stingray I've ever seen in my life (like the size of a triple XXXL pizza), and gorgeous neon fish. There was even a moment where I was happily swimming along, and a shark comes darting out of a cave, right in front of me, chasing a fish. Amazing. Nature is amazing.

    Sunset, Night 4. 

    So many ridiculous colors

    Cliffnotes of Day 5:
    • Sailed back to Santa Cruz to Puerto Ayora, the main city where Nadine and I had started our Galapagos journey.  Our morning adventure consisted of driving out to visit giant tortoises in the wild!

    Ah, Puerto Ayora
    Arriving in Puerto Ayora - sea lions on the dock!
    And here is a giant tortoise! These can grow to be over 500lbs with meter-long shells. This one is taking a mud bath, which they often do to get rid of mites, since they can't exactly scratch themselves.

    William, our guide, posed this photo

    This turtle had a shell with scalloped edges. #fancy

    Josh and I are wearing actual giant tortoise shells #turtlesinahalfshell

    Nadine and I got matching Galapagos turtle bracelets. My wrist is clearly just a weensy bit more cluttered.

    • In the afternoon, we sailed out to another island called Isla Santa Cruz for our afternoon snorkel.  I can't figure out more adjectives to use than magical, amazing, majestic, life-changing, incredible, etc. - so I'm going to apply them all to this snorkel. WE SNORKELED WITH SEA LIONS. And not just snorkeled and looked at them - sea lions are incredibly playful, especially juvenile ones, so they interact with you and want to play with you. They twirl and dive and barrel roll towards you and swim circles around you. You could have easily reached out and given one a hug (which coincidentally, may or may not be my ultimate sea lion dream). It was seriously one of the best things ever, in the history of the entire world.

    In the afternoon, after magic sea lion snorkeling, we went to another part of Santa Cruz for our evening nature walk. There were sea lions all over the beach we landed on!

    Does this baby sea lion look or not look exactly like a panda?

    Sea lion mom and pup

    A fat baby sea lion with multiple rolls #favorite

    I got too close to this baby sea lion and he freaked out, so I freaked out, and this is both of us running away from each other

    Continuing on our nature walk: this land iguana is native to Santa Cruz - they are so lazy they literally wait under cactus trees and wait for the fruit to fall so they can eat it.

    The land iguana and the sea lion are basically in the same pose

    A magical dusky sunset (SUNSET #5) on Santa Cruz

    Ending the day with a sea lion selfie

    Ok for serious this time, the last and final (and best) installment of the Galapagos comes tomorrow!  

    No comments:

    Post a Comment