Here in the Galapagos there are a lot of elements that take your breath away… the spectacular sunsets, the clear blue-green water, the remoteness of the island, the friendliness of the people.. but none of those even come close to the straight gnarly things that happen with the animals.
The animals here coexist not only with each other but also with the humans. What I mean by this is that the animals live their life exactly how they want to live it regardless of who is around. This in turn leads to the most epic moments in animals daily life that one could imagine.
Let’s start with the iguanas. They hang out everywhere, and they are totally scary looking. They look exactly like I imagine dinosaurs looked back in the day… oh and did I mention they’re terrifying and blend in to the rocks… so you can’t see them until they are literally 2 feet away… super fun.
Our first day here was crazy, starting with the crazy iguanas on the street, we turn a corner and there’s a huge sea lion just taking a nap on a park bench with lobsters and pelicans all hanging out just feet away from one another.
Then, we catch up to a couple days ago where we bike to the “Wall of Tears”, long story short .. Isabela used to be a penal colony and the prisoners on the island were made to build a wall out of lava rocks as a means of torture. The wall still exists today and is terribly eerie because it is said that you can still hear the cries of the prisoners from the wall. Anyways, back to the animals… we are causally biking along the path and what do we see….none other than the well known Galapagos Giant Tortoise chilling right in the middle of the street. Tortoises don’t move that fast so next thing you know we are feet away from Mr. Turtle .. and after billions of photos we continue on our way to the wall.
This leads us to yesterday, were we go snorkeling at a lagoon called Concha de Perla literally 20 steps away from the main port, Puerto Villamil. We have to literally step OVER the sea lions on the path to get to the end of the dock. Once we are at the end of the path there is OF COURSE another iguana smack dab in the middle of the dock, sunbathing. We put on our wetsuits and jump into the unknown. What do we see you ask?! 5 GIANT sea turtles, a starfish and 3 manta rays.
That brings us to today… Los Túneles … we jump on a boat for about 45 minutes to an area with different caves/tunnels of lava rocks. The place doesn’t look like much when you pull up but hey it’s obviously a big deal for a reason, right?! We get in our snorkel gear and jump in! We start out causally only seeing 2 Black Seahorses (but wait.. who just sees seahorses….I think I’ve only seen them in The Little Mermaid)
Then, we continue to go under some tunnels and turn left and right and before you know it we are face to face with a… 7 foot White Tip SHARK. I’m not kidding, only 5 feet away and he was just swimming, like really scary sharks do, towards us.
Like good snorkelers we stay calm and continue to the next cave. The cave is pitch black and you can faintly make out the outline of… another couple of sharks (play the JAWS theme song in your head for this next part). Then my friends, as the snorkeling guide pulls you (literally pulls your body) closer into the cave…the light hits the cave just right and WAH LA… 7-9 sharks, chilling waiting for their next snack. It was unreal.
So now that I’m pretty terrified and freezing, we decide to continue on… we turn yet another few corners to see swimming in the faint distant, a lovely sea turtle and as we follow the sea turtle he leads us to a whole group of sea turtles swimming around us.. so close that one actually came below me and something touches my wetsuit, as I’m looking down thinking it’s a fellow snorkeler I see a huge turtle looking back at me.
We decide to go back to the boat and go find some Blue Footed Boobies because they are adorable. And we hang out with them for awhile.
And that my friends is called EL PARAÍSO DE LOS ANIMALES.