On our last day, what was there to do?… Wake up at 7am and go walk Española island, the first one Charley Darwin stepped off his Beagle on, that’s what. On a 3-hour hike, we witnessed the beauty and majesty of Blue and Red-Footed Boobies, Albatrosses, Finches, frigates, Mocking Birds, Hawks and visiting from the Caribbean, Pink Flamingos… Sebastien, as you can see above, sadly didn’t make it, he will be missed. It was all a delight, if a tad bittersweet delight for we knew we would quite literally sail into the sunset that night and disembark early the next morning, leaving not only our animal friends but also the human ones, Suzanne, Bill, Karen, Liam, Jim, Helen, Carmen, Mehdi, and on the staff Francisco, José, Lelis, Victor, Viviana and Sabina, with a special thought for Cathy, of course… The sense that “we’re all in this together” always tends to creep up when you’re in a place nobody can escape but all these wonderful people were so kind and generous with our children who tend to be, unlike their parents, very warm, friendly and forthcoming, to the point where Gina and I wondered if some of them might think they are adopted, that they truly made us feel at home.










We came back to the Isabela 2 and politely declined the afternoon’s small boat tour to wrap around the island in order to consume a(nother) bottle of Sauvignon and some dark chocolate smuggled on board. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the sun deck, perfectly happy to attempt to catalog, analyze and, most importantly realize what we had just been through, coming to the Galapagos, a place we have all heard about since third grade and finally understand, in situ, why it has fascinated us so all these years. The children didn’t decline however and went by themselves with our new gaggle of caring cruise friends, the first time their mother had let them out of her sight with an ocean between them. They too would get their first shot at awareness as they went parent-free and saw the island on their own terms.


As the sun slowly set over Kicker Rock, and Sebastien fast turned into a dashing young Hemingway, we said goodbye to one particularly spectacular chapter of the Bouvarez Relocation Programme…




Right before Sebastien sang us out…


The next morning, as we disembarked, we said one last goodbye to one last sea lion, perhaps dreaming about all the fun we had had together, simply napping on a human park bench, as one does, just beautiful…


And as we lept into a deserved hug for Cathy, our incredibly knowledgeable and justifiably severe shepherd through this expedition, we finally understood that only a person with her discipline could, not only have the patience to guide our bumbling curiosity, but crucially so, render a terribly important service to human kind, that of first gatekeeper to a more intelligent world for people wanting to know more than just where they came from but why they came from there… Thank you Cathy!


2 Comments Leave a reply

  1. Karen Stewart
    Permalink to comment#

    Thanks Stefan! It was an amazing & educational adventure that we’ll always remember with fondness. We thought the Crew and Naturalists did a great job. We’re missing that coffee machine and bedtime chocolate! So glad we got to meet you on this trip.

    • stefan
      Permalink to comment#

      Thank you for reading Karen, it was wonderful to meet you as well! How was the Amazon?

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