Gettin' our nature on- Guide to Galapagos Round 2

Brittany Hagan

Posted on November 19 2017

Here we go, ding ding ding! Round 2 folks. It's impossible to cover such an amazing place in one blog... so here's the second one. 

 

One may think that the Galapagos is the most bio diverse places in the world. I wouldn't say that's true. There are about 15 ("the BIG 15") species of animals you will see in the Galapagos. The important thing to understand is that the islands are home to some of the highest levels of endemism (species found nowhere else on earth) anywhere on the planet. About 80% of the land birds you will see, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants are endemic.

 

I think this is amazing, because you literally can't see these animals anywhere else in the world. It's like an exclusive club, and makes you feel really busy and important, like you're in a gang of secret explorers. 

 

Here are some shots of these incredible animals. 

 

This one is my favorite species. It's a red breasted Ryan...

Ryan

Incredible specimen, isn't he?

Sea Lion

The most adorable sea lion laying on a bench waiting for the ferry.

Sea Lion Galapagos 

He made a friend! The sea lions on Santa Cruz island.

 

 

These guys were the coolest- absolutely huge prehistoric looking tortoises!

Galapagos Tortoise

 

These land iguanas just came out of nowhere, you kind of have to watch where you walk in the Galapagos. Likely an iguana underfoot everywhere you go.

Galapagos Iguana

 The eeriest part of the wildlife there were the sharks. When we were there (this is not a normal occurrence) but there were about 100 sharks swimming along side and in back of our ship. Every night, we would head out the the deck after dinner, and you could hear them, their fins skimming the top of the water. They and the sea lions would tag team trying to catch as many fish as possible. 

Our favorite incredible morbid activity was seeing the flying fish skimming across the top of the water, then all of a sudden they would run smack dab into the ship, obviously fall to their death unfortunately and the sharks and sea lions would swarm and race to the snack. It was crazy to see so many sharks in one pace. 

 

Snorkeling is some of the best in the world. It's not because there are incredible reefs, although there are some- but it's because you can get up close and personal to all the animals. I highly recommend a full face snorkeling mask if you're going to do it, because your mouth doesn't get all soggy and salty snorkeling all day.

Snorkeling Galapagos 

 

There are so many cool little places to explore. One of my favorite memories was breaking off from the group and swimming into this little estuary super shallow area that literally looked like a fish tank. We just kept going back and back into it with it's pure white sandy bottom, little crevices, and intrigued animals, all the while holding hands. I will never forget that.

Holding Hands Snorkeling

 

It is a magical place to go with a partner, to see this place many people never get to see in their lifetime- experiencing the sights, smells, sounds of this last frontier together was incredible.

We had some fun on one of the "3 hour tours" and brought Gilligan and Mary Ann outfits. It's ok if we're the only ones that got it. 

Gilligans Island Outfit

 

Gilligans Island Galapagos Island 

 Here are the islands that we went to:

Santa Cruz (only one with people that we went besides flying into Baltra)

Isabela

Floreana

Baltra

Fernandina

San Cristobal

One of the coolest parts of the Galapagos is Post Office Bay on the island of Floreana. Not only was is the site of the famous Galapagos Affair, but there is the neatest little tradition there.

Hundreds of years ago, whaling ships would come through the Galapagos to hunt. The ships would spend years at a time catching whales and processing them for their oil. Only when the ships held full barrels of whale oil would they return to port.
 
The Galapagos Islands were a common stopping point for the whalers, as there they could grab some water and food. Unfortunately, the food they picked up happened to be the great Giant Tortoises, which would  become extinct on Floreana Island.
 
The whalers were homesick, but communication was a problem in the middle of nowhere. They came up with a solution: they left letters in a certain place on Floreana, and when other ships stopped there on their way back to England, the US or wherever their home port was, they would pick up all the letters destined for that place and deliver them. In some cases, letters would take years to deliver!
The place on Floreana where the letters were left became known as Post Office Bay, and now there is a little mailbox there to pick up or drop off letters/post cards. 
The visitors to the island keep the system going. Every year, thousands of Galapagos tourists drop off letters in Post Office Bay. Other visitors headed close to an addressee will pick up the letters and take them home.
Post Card Bay Galapagos
We picked up one for a family in Miami that we will deliver to them some day when we're down there. Ryan and I both wrote letters. I wrote a letter to my future kids because I'm hoping they share our travel bug and craving for adventure, and if they do, I want them to know how I felt thinking about them before they were even born. I cried signing "love, mom". It was an emotional letter writing session thinking about where we are now together, and what we're hoping to create in our children years from now. 
It was an incredible gift of a trip and I will never forget it.


 

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