Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
34Trip End Apr 08, 2008
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Back to the boat, dinner, conversation....I'm thrilled to be here. Very happy to have chosen a small boat...it's really intimate...people connect easily. The tiniest rooms in the world...somehow the cocoon-like feeling and the constant rocking of the boat is making me incredibly sleepy...enough excitement for one day...
It's day four of my Galapagos adventure. A recap... The boat is fine...miniscule cabins, but - who needs space inside? There are two that have windows in them....don't know how they were appropriated but I'm trying hard not to feel irritated about not being in one. I've got a great rooommate, a young woman from the UK...she's flexible and really a pleasure to be around. The rest of the people are good folks...quite a variety. Now about the guide...this old guy who looks like he's morphing into a tortoise....honestly....and his English is poor, and when you're a guide for an English speaking audience, that's kind of important. He's classed as a Naturalist II, which apparently means that if you have any knowledge of the islands at all and need a job, you're hired. The beauty of this place can be appreciated without a guide, but a good guide can really enhance any experience...however I think we're on our own here. Just found out he's leaving tomorrow, on day five, and we're getting a new one...YAYYYYY!
So the way this trip works is that you live on the boat and generally travel during the nights to the next island. You go for hikes to see the wildlife and then you get to snorkel, generally twice a day if you choose. The snorkeling is my favorite actually. I mean it's totally cool to see the volcanic landscapes and the seals and sea lions flapping about within inches of you....and then of course, there's the blue footed boobies and the red footed boobies....and a zillion other types of birds. But snorkeling you get to swim with sea turtles, stingrays, wildly colorful sea stars, fish of colors beyond the imagining, and then there are the seals. It's very cool - and slightly intimidating - to have them torpedo by you in the water and play around with you, their sleek bodies spinning around, shooting up and down in the water. They kind of give you a jolt at first cause they're big and they come out of nowhere and are fast. It's a thrill to be in the water with all this wildlife.
So that's the best part of the experience for me. And the food is great...I'm eating too much...it seems that when that dinner bell rings, I can't be there fast enough. And mostly I'm able to hold all my food down...I only had one episode of seasickness...on the second day. I ate some weird dessert against my better judgment and sure enough, as I rolled about in the shower deep in my below water cabin, the dessert resurfaced. It was all I could do to wash the soap off and lay down. But once I lay down, I'm fine...the rocking is actually soothing...and the engine noise that is generated from right below my cabin... well that's ok too.
In fact, this morning, I was awakened to the smell of burning rubber and then the engine stops. When a deafening, rumbling noise that you've gotten used to stops, it wakes you up. I hear an Ay, Yay, Yay! from Bolivar, the theoretical Naturalist II...its before 6 AM...I jump out of bed because if there's going to be an electrical fire, I'm going to be the first in the water. Well sure enough, everybody is scurrying around...I'm trying to stay out of the way but get some info at the same time.....best I can tell -and my limited Spanish is carrying me here - is that a bunch of fish got jammed into some flywheel of the engine and something burned out. No need to evacuate ...the crew scurries around...pieces together this and that...we tie up to a nearby boat and they help us out...the whole process is pretty interesting...seeing the crew in action....i'm feeling pretty confident in them at the moment...our day continues as though nothing out of the ordinary happened.
One big thrill today was following these dolphins...I'm hanging out on the deck and all of a sudden, lots of dolphins out a ways. We drop everything....hop in a small boat and cruise over there....and they're leaping and frolicking in the water surrounding the boat. And there's this playful seal who thinks s/he is a dolphin frolicking with them...mimicking their leaps and swimming right amongst them....there must have be 20 or 25 of them....again inches away...close enough to touch. A spontaneous thrill ....