Finally, the Ecuador 8 caught a flight from Quito to the Galapagos Islands to spend four days exploring the unique flora and fauna found in the Columbus Archipelago. We were immediately greeted by a friendly sea lion just relaxing on the dock where were were set to get on board a panga to our ship. First, we visited the Highlands Tortoise Reserve on the island of Santa Cruz. Here, we got to see the Galapagos Giant Tortoises. These guys are super chill and basically just relax all day long. Maybe that’s the secret to a long life!
The next Island we visited was Genovesa. Here, we saw red-footed, blue-footed, and Nazca boobies. We also saw short eared owls, and tropic birds. We learned that Nazca boobies lay two eggs. One egg will hatch first, then the other will hatch 10 days later. The first baby boobie will try to kill the younger one, and the parents will not attempt to stop it. The second egg is basically just a back up in case something were to happen to the first egg.
We visited Dragon Hill island on Santa Cruz, where we spotted many land iguanas and marine iguanas out and about. On this island, the cactus trees grow very tall so that they are not eaten by iguanas which is very strange. Also on this island we spotted flamingos and lava herons.
Another island we visited was Santa Fe, which I thought was the most beautiful. Here, we saw black tipped sharks hunting for baby sea lions. The male sea lions swim around the rocks to scare the sharks away. The male sea lions will fight the sharks if they invade their territory.
My most favorite part of the Galapagos was the snorkeling– we got to go three times! We went deep water snorkeling twice and beach snorkeling once. I got to see 5 white tipped reef sharks while snorkeling! You could swim right next to them– I was so happy that I got to swim with sharks! Another woman on our boat saw a hammerhead shark, but I’m glad I didn’t see it because I would be afraid of being in the water with a hammerhead. I was just fine with my reef sharks. We also got to swim right next to sea lions! This was pretty scary because the male sea lions are huge and will swim right by you! They have very occasionally attacked people in the past, but they were not aggressive towards us at all. It was exhilarating and amazing! We also saw green sea turtles, eagle rays, and sting rays while snorkeling. In addition to all these crazy animals we saw a ton of different fish species, from big iridescent parrot fish (my favorite) to small black fish with blue spots that shone like LED lights. I literally could not have asked for better snorkeling experiences in the Galapagos.