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GALAPAGOS (PART TWO)

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GALAPAGOS (PART TWO)

GALAPAGOS (PART TWO)

Woken up at 7am by Cathy who apparently never sleeps, we were summoned to breakfast by 7:30 and out we would go by 8:30. Where? I don’t remember, all I can tell you is that my family and I were, for the first time in our sheltered lives, fitted with wetsuits, thrown in a dinghy and were soon being splashed around by the turquoise waters of Floreana and onto a beach for some “practice.”

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Practice, not a big fan, that sounds like work… Dipped in, we paddled around well enough, exploring the crevices of this wonderful place when Sebastien called me over, he had seen something! On the way, Gina came out of the water, a glaze of both terror and wonder in her eyes, claiming she had “just seen one,” that it was bigger than her and that OMG OMG OMG! Diving back in, I couldn’t wait to see this thing. Sure enough, around a corner in all of its glory, was a giant turtle, just like the ones whose space we were invading yesterday, now was giving us our change.

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Being in the presence of these creatures on land is one thing, under water quite another. Not being a naturalist myself, yet, there is no way I could foresee the shelled beast’s behavior… Does it snap? Does it bite? Does it wrestle? Here I was with Sebastien, amazed at the fact that we were alone, about 100 meters off the beach, communing with Nemo’s turtle! What a handy way to test my LifeProof Fre water case, if not now, when?

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Actually, we had nothing to worry about, she was too busy feasting on a tasting menu of delicious red and green algae served off the rock to even notice us. Cathy had warned us, sternly, not to touch the animals, that our oils, creams and general filth might throw the delicate balance of the islands off course and because we did not want to anger Cathy any more than necessary, we obeyed. But it was tough, very tough not to get tactile with this gentle fellow, so curious about the feel of its shell, about how it might react to my soft and considerate petting, the way my wife has assured me with suspicious enthusiasm brings her to heights of unsurpassed pleasure. Which is neither here nor there.

Swimming with this cool turtle made me exit my body, especially since I felt like I was flying above his, a feeling I had no idea would be soon surpassed as we were about to be overwhelmed by a dozen over-zealous sea lions who came over and were as curious about us as we were both initially petrified and eventually excited to see.

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Again, you don’t know, well at least I don’t know what a sea lion can do, why there are little playful ones who get so close so as to nimble on your flippers and giant placid ones, watching from the sidelines, probably waiting for the right moment to chew off your head if you get too close.

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I’ve seen too many movies not to assume that while you’re being distracted by the ones in front, your back is unprotected and probably where you should be looking, which leads to rather schizophrenic underwater behavior, especially to your fellow travelers.

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Anyhoo, there we were now in a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL cove when what I can only describe as an impromptu family reunion took place all around us and the kids, not mine, the sea lions’, found quite the audience to show off to. Cirque Du Soleilling all around us, they went up, down, upside down and seemingly inside out, turning our heads every which way, slapping Zoel in the chest in a sloppy attempt at a low five, chasing after Sebastien for his delicious feet, and playing with us as if we were beach balls! The more we stayed, the more of them appeared, having understandably called their friends and cousins through subsonic whistles, we were now absolutely surrounded by our slippery playmates and as we all looked at each other above the surface once in a while, checking we weren’t dreaming, we realized this was the experience of a lifetime… An experience I was so busy filming that I completely forgot to snap a few stills, my apologies. The movie will probably be ready by the end of November, I’ve got a few countries to catch up on..

And the day wasn’t over! With growing admiration for Cathy’s incredible time management skills, who rightfully told us on the first day that this was no pleasure cruise, up the hill we went for some hiking, and to meet more of the inhabitants that shined a light into ole Charley Darwin’s mind…

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After so much seen, it was high time to get back to the boat, but not before an extraordinary sunset on the beaches of the islands we had all started to fall in love with…

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Once back, we were greeted by two wonderful sights, a full moon glistening on the sea…

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And Sebastien dressing for dinner…

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2 Comments Leave a reply

  1. Karen Stewart
    Permalink to comment#

    Great pics! The turtles were BIG, the sea lions playful, but the water was a little too cold for this Florida gal.

    Reply
  2. Gary
    Permalink to comment#

    Amazing! I have swam with Sea Turtles in the Virgin Isles but NEVER with Sea Lions. So cool.

    Reply

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