Even if you’re not competitive by nature, when you are egged on by a cheeky sea lion in the Galapagos Islands Summer Davis discovers that you have no choice but to take up the challenge and be thankful that you’ve put in the hard yards in the pool…
“Swirling under a cyclone of bubbles, a spirited sea lion stares sweetly into your snorkel mask, its puppy dog eyes pleading to play with you. Almost twice your size, you freeze with fear, then realise this hefty mammal means no harm as it dives down in circles below you. Let the games begin!
Unthreatened by man, the animals of the Galapagos Islands don’t fear human interaction. Hammerhead sharks cruise carelessly around scuba divers, proud frigate birds pose for photographers and marine and land iguanas lie motionless on the warm rocks and paths of the islands’ explorers.
Off the coast of Ecuador, the 150-plus islands of the Galapagos archipelago are home to hundreds of unique species of finches, migratory birds, giant tortoises, marine mammals, fish and the only penguins north of the equator. Humans inhabit only a few islands, and small 16-passenger boats receive special permission to access certain islands at specific times, allowing minimal human interruption of nature’s way.
To witness wildlife in this natural zoo you can head off on an island hike, climb an active volcano, go on a bird watching expedition or underwater exploration. You could stumble upon a pair of waved albatross mid-mating dance or a flock of flamingoes flying across a lagoon. Sport your snorkel gear and spot a white-tipped reef shark, swim with a turtle, or skim above a family of rays. And just in case you come across a cocky sea lion, my advice is prepare with a few pre-trip laps of the pool, because it’s so much fun to try to keep up with this playful creature as long as you can.
Whether under the water, on land or sailing off into the horizon, Galapagos adventures are one-of-a-kind and a wonder of the world not to be missed!”
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* photo by Derek Rogers – Intrepid Photography Competition