They´re nothing short of awesome, though I will put my hand up and say that I´m here in the off season and there´s a lot of grizzle (grey drizzle), making the light a bit flat for photos. I´ve also realised that I´m near the Equator and not the tropics, so my idyll of tropical island sunbathing hasn´t materialised either (Jo W - being a geography expert, you should have pointed out my packing optimism!!)
. However, there is more wildlife than you can shake a stick at. Within a 10m stretch on Isabela island 2 days ago, I saw about 20 white tipped reef sharks, a stingray about 4ft wide, several giant sea turtles, many sealions, crabs and marine iguanas, plus all kinds of pelicans, penguins and lava lizards. I´ve also seen the hilarious-named blue footed boobies, which are spectacular. Quite why their feet are blue is an evolutionary mystery to me. I¨ve seen frigate birds, iguanas you could club someone with, plus giant tortoises that actually weigh a ton in the wild. It´s all amazing and I´ve taken about 700 photos, which I´ll post a selection of. The landscape is not easy, as the islands are volcanic, so I´ve been on a 20km trek over lava boulders to look at the world´s biggest crater and some active puffing mini craters too. I even went mountain biking (again) on the highlands, and have been scuba diving to swim with penguins, sealions and sea turtles. There are so many crabs, iguanas and sealions, that you actually become blase about them - stepping over sealions like they´re some drunk tramp you need to get past.
Helen Smith won´t be surprised to hear I´ve got some comedy sunburn marks too. Weird red patches on the backs of my ankles, plus the obligatory ear-top crispiness. The humidity has been tough in places, sweating in a raincoat. Needless to say, my hair is having a nightmare and it´s turned into some weirdy 1920s demi-wave frizz mop effort. It´s not a good look, but then I have already quickly figured out that I don´t want an Ecuadorian boyfriend. That Galapagos species is certainly not worthy of a photograph...
I´ve got Gormanitis. Yep, clumsy doofus here walked into a tree. Not once, but twice. Yes, two different trees, on the same day. That´s pretty good going, and now I think my IQ has dropped to only about 170 (kidding). On top of that, I´ve spent a lot of time on boats, sailing from San Cristobal, to Floreana, to Isabela and now I´m on Santa Cruz. It feels like the whole room is moving, kind of like a hangover but without the nasty headache (which i got from the tree collision anyway) and without the awfulness of waking up the next day and having all your friends laugh at your capers from the previous night out. But enough about that. I´m in the Galapagos Islands!