- Posted October 18, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Galapagos Islands: Natural treasures
The Galapagos Islands
- nsaidi, CNN iReport producer
I visited the Galapagos Islands in July 2011. Arriving at the pier to board the boat, the first thing I noticed was a sea lion lounging on a nearby bench, unconcerned with the flurry of activity going on around him. Everyone stopped to snap a picture thinking that we were so lucky to stumble upon such a perfectly posed creature. But that would only be the first of many such encounters. That afternoon, we spent the day lying with sea lions on the beach. At one time, while I was sitting in the sand, a baby sea lion even came up to me thinking I was it's mother. Of course, you're not allowed to touch the animals and should usually stay around six feet away from them when possible. Of course, it's not always possible as sometimes the animals and birds crowd the paths.
While you must stay on the paths at all times, there is no need to wander off because you can see almost any animal or bird from the path. I witnessed the mating dance of the blue footed boobie, saw an albatross soar through the air, and watched giant tortoises crawl across the ground. By the end of the trip, I was almost tired of seeing so many marine iguanas. They littered the ground like rocks. At times, you had to step over them to continue down the path.
But as exciting as being on land is, there is a whole different world under the sea. Swimming with penguins, sting rays, and colorful fish is just the start of the journey. While on my vacation, I got to swim surrounded by giant sea turtles. They look like stones covered in moss lying at the bottom of the ocean until they rise to the surface for air.
I also spotted a few sharks. And speaking of sharks, at night, the ship we were on would anchor and turn on the back flood lights, which attracted flying fish, which in turn, attracted sharks. At any one time, there could be forty sharks swimming around the boat.
Overall, it was truly a magical vacation. The guides are friendly and knowledgeable. Every moment is packed with adventure. I highly recommend it.