Bienvenidos mi amigos,
This island is called Waterfalls of the Sea, and is just one of the many wonders that makes up The Galapagos, 700 Nautical Miles off the coast of Ecuador far out in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, and just south of the Equator.
Yes Boatblog ® fanos, this latest edition comes to you live from The Galapagos.
Now we know what you’re thinking. “Weren’t they in the Caribbean last week? How have they got all that distance, including going through the Panama Canal, in just a couple of weeks?”
Quite simple really. We left Domini in St Maarten, and got a plane. OK – so technically it’s cheating, but what happened is this. Our good friends Stuart & Ann Letton of Time Bandit…
…are sailing round the world. They’d just gone through the Panama Canal and arrived in The Galapagos, and they very kindly invited us over. Well it would be rude not to say no.
So here we are on Santa Cruz…
..exploring the caves caused by the lava flows.
It’s a long way down.
And even further back up.
We met some of the locals. They’re friendly enough, but they’re a bit slow.
Obviously it’s quite hard to get this close to the giant tortoises, so we had to make use of a specially designed ShellCam ©
That’s actually a real tortoise shell, but surprise surprise!
It’s Stuart inside!
The tortoises live to over 150 years old, (which makes Ju about 26 in tortoise years). That is of course assuming they don’t get run over.
They really are enormous.
The number of animals that are unique to these islands is quite remarkable. These are marine iguanas. As in iguanas that go swimming in the sea.
There are weird looking jumping crabs,
..and sealions everywhere.
We even caught a brief glimpse of that rarest of all creatures.
A David Attenborough.
Next we went snorkelling.
It’s quite impossible to describe the sheer number of fish, and the amazing colours. It’s like swimming in an aquarium.
It’s a bit of a shock when you see your first shark and can’t get the Jaws theme out of your head.
There are Galapagos sharks (of course!), which are close relatives of the tiger shark, white tipped reef sharks, and hammerheads swimming in vast numbers around the islands, and once you’ve got over the thought that you might be lunch, you appreciate just how incredible these animals are.
It seemed a bit mean, but on the way back we had a go at fishing. Now with this many fish in the water, even Ju should be able to catch something.
It was quite a struggle bringing it in. The fish put up quite a fight, and it took about ten minutes to haul it in. Ju was exhausted by the struggle, and convinced he’d hooked a record breaking tuna. He was quite surprised when it was finally brought on board.
Still, it’s the biggest (only) fish he’s ever caught. And couldn’t be fresher. On the table within five minutes of being pulled onto the boat.
The snorkelling just gave us a taste for more, so the next day we decided to go diving.
And this time the Superheroes were down with the Hammerheads!
Dum dum dum dum dum dum.
They are the most majestic of animals.
There are giant rays…
…and they come in all shapes and colours.
Some just lurk on the bottom, waiting for the unwary diver.
Look at his eyes. The starfish are pretty.
Apparently you shouldn’t call them starfish, because they’re not really fish. You should call them Sea Stars. (Not a lot of people know that. Here at the Boatblog ® we seek to inform as well as entertain.)
The next day, we set sail (well, technically we put the motor on, but you know what I mean) for the largest of the Galapagos Islands…
This is the island that is most like how you probably imagine the Galapagos to be. This is the high street of the main town.
…and this is the pub.
You have to step over the locals who spend all day lying around, sleeping off the effects of the night before.
…and it’s not ducks in the village pond.
It’s all totally unspoilt.
..which makes things like shopping much more fun than going down to Tesco’s.
You go to the farm, point to you what you want, and the farmer cuts it down for you there and then. And who cares if you don’t get points on your loyalty card?
It’s the same with the fishmonger. It comes straight off the boat…
…and the pelicans get the scraps.
We went to a place called The Tuneles. (Not to be confused with The Tuneless, one of Ju’s old bands). It’s Spanish for Tunnels. Really they’re underwater arches, but apparently it got mixed up in the translation.
Again, the amount of wildlife was extraordinary, and you could get right up close. This is the famous Blue Footed Booby lolloping over to see what’s going on.
And there’s not many places in the world you can swim with penguins without a wet suit.
The rays fly round in schools…
…and the turtles are bigger than Ju.
And now in a brand new feature for The Boatblog ®, a little game called, “Find the Fauna!”
Can you see it?
And for round 2, have you idea what this?
If you said a pair of sharks, go to the bottom of the class. It is in fact a Manta Ray.
And finally, how many marine iguanas can you see in this photo?
Answers on a postcard please. Anyone with a correct answer gets to take the crew of Domini out for a slap up meal.
And this week’s caption competition.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Boatblog ® without an Arty Farty Prize, and in this Pacific Edition we have a number of contenders. First up is Stuart’s, “Flippers!”
(Correction – that should of course read “Fins!” Sorry Stuart)
Next we have Lyn’s “Gate!”
And Ju’s entry is “Pelican!”
It’s hard to believe we were only there for a week, and quite impossible to describe how incredible this place is. The pictures don’t do it justice. The Galapagos are islands of superlatives. So get out your David Attenborough box set, brush up your Spanish and come and see them for yourselves.
Muchas Gracias Stuart y Ann.
Ju & Lyn
Whoops – almost forgot the obligatory sunset. Our first over The Pacific.