Gallaping Galapagos

Sally Lightfoot Crabs

Well as the start of the New Year, in my full adventurous spirit I’m off again. This time searching for “endless summer.”  Bound for South America looking for the thing that’s calling me there.  I can’t really explain it cos words can’t really describe what I’m looking for.  Perhaps, it’s that feeling, a sense of being that you would understand as you start to awaken, let nature shape you & know that the universe is unfolding for you.  Giving you signs & allowing you to trust your heart rather than what others think you aught to be doing. Travelling shapes you in every way.  I was born with the quest of adventure.  It’s more about the journey rather than the usual I bought the T-shirt to say that I’ve been there as my label to prove to the world that I been there or watch it unfold on the telly if it was a National Geographic, BBC or Discovery Channel special.  It’s more about setting foot off the beaten path and to discover what is unfolding for me.  It’s more like to take that moment, breath & say WOW I can’t believe my eyes.  I’ve been quite homesick lately over finding that place that speaks to me.  But sometimes you just need some down time to work on other things that need some watering to blossom into something that would be lost if you didn’t take that moment. As Lao-Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Boat Parts
Yet again, I find myself on the National Geographic Endeavour sailing around the Galapagos Islands.  As super women that I am known from time to time from working on these ships, I already know what’s going on.  But I’m not here to work, that’s right not working, the office is closed, closed, closed! I’m actually here to enjoy myself. I deserve it. Happiness is our birthright. However, I might find myself selling another Panama, Baja or Southeast Alaska cruise too & being helpful at times as a staff member.  But it’s more for the adventure.  Yes, there’s a positive here.  So let it unfold & be blessed to be listing to the ebb & flow of the waves & the marine life. Working for me will be building my travel portfolio with those long editing hours, which every true photographer knows about.  There’s something special about these islands that does leave a lasting impression on you, opening you more about the environment with the beauty of the world that exists outside of your comfort zone.  Yes, our environment is in danger with species becoming existent along with our ecosystem in every which way you turn.  Time to take action NOW before you keep on continuing the cycle for future generations.  Yes, we do have the power to change the world.  As Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
As quoted in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Galapagos”:
How many Galapagos Islands were there a million years ago? There were thirteen big ones, seventeen small ones, and three hundred and eighteen tiny, ones, some nothing more than rocks rising only a meter or tow above the surface of the ocean.
There are now fourteen big ones, seven small ones, and three hundred and twenty-sixty tiny ones.  Quite a lot of volcanic activity still goes on.  I made a joke: The gods are still angry. 
And the northernmost of the islands, so all alone, so far from the rest, is still Santa Rosalia. 
These islands are something special to be sailing around. Charles Darwin called the islands home while sailing on board the Beagle & doing countless naturalizing projects in the area.  They are the only non-tropical ones at the Equator.  Tortoises live to be in the hundreds & it’s basically a photographer’s mecca with the wildlife better than a National Geographic documentary. If you love wildlife, marine life & nature it’s heaven.  You’re up close & personal in it, but remember you’re in the animals’ home.  Have some respect please!
After appropriately four hours of sleep after the flight from Miami to Guayaquil.  A new expedition began with a flight from the mainland to Baltra.  Funny, how small the runway is each time I land here.  Just another one of those gravel strips I tend to find from time to time in the “third world” & not to forget to exit the plane via the steps.  After clearing immigrations to the national park, I was greeted warm & welcoming from the staff.  Funny, some things never change & it was the same like the last time I was here.  Some staff were familiar from my last holiday here & of course their fun outlook says something too.  However, something’s never change & of course I got the pissed taken out of me from a familiar face.  Antonio who I enjoyed going snorkeling with to look for sharks, “Sharks, sharks, sharks”, told me to go wait in the banos for ten minutes until the bus got here.  Of course that didn’t happen.  I took a “quick” walk around the airport.  Yes, the airport in Baltra reminds me of the one in Fiji of Ko Samui cos it’s basically open air with a roof on top, nothing too special, but just tropical you could say.  A quick trip via the bus to the dock to board a zodiac as your taxi to the, The Endeavour, which will be home for the next week, seals were waiting on the rocks to wave good bye and wish you safe travels.  Love it, there’s wildlife everywhere you turn. 
Dead Puffer Fish
As I approach the landing to the ship, which was on one of the sides, I say hello to Cindy the Expedition Leader and the funny thing is that I recognize some familiar faces of the staff and crew are the same as from my pervious expedition.  It was rather a nice feeling to know some of them & of course I’ll get to meet new ones.  You never know whom you’ll bump into down the line either.  As my luck has it, this time I get to be enjoying a photo trip for my bonus for competing another contract with Lindblad.  That’s right I actually can have the time to take part in the thing I love to do.  It wasn’t that I didn’t take advantage of every photo opportunity I had last time, but this time I can attend the lectures rather than seeing if I could squeeze in ten minutes or so before I got back to work in Baja & Alaska. I’ve been asked so many times from people I know, “why are you hear?” & I just reply that I’m escaping New England winter for a bit & to work on a portfolio.   It’s going to be another busy week at sea, but I’m used to it from time to time.
Turtle Lovin'
The afternoon was spend waiting for supplies and sailing around until we drop anchor to visit a beach called “Las Bachas”, where it gets its name from a poor pronunciation of the English word “barges”. It’s fairly an easy peasy trail with a few rocky segments over lava being home to some marine iguanas shore, land & lagoon birds.  Flamingos can sometimes be found here.  I recall seeing some here around the lagoon back in July.  Also, one must be careful cos we are in the animals home not ours & on this particular spot you can find tracks of the East Pacific green sea turtles which come to the beach at night to nest & hatch their eggs & release back to the sea for survival.  The beach has black lava & not to forget one of my favorites the Sally Lightfoot Crabs. I found out while walking the beach that Sally Lightfoot crabs got their name from a dance & that you can tell the sexes of them by their colors.  All black crabs are juveniles, more yellow in color are males & the deep red ones are females.  They were all over the black lava.  Also, I saw some flamingos in a lagoon.  They turn pink from eating brine and the more they eat the pinker they get.  Something with the genetic make up of the carotene.  Oh yes, how can you forget about the “turtle love” going on in the ocean today.  Yes, I spotted sea turtles matting.  Oh happy days…Overall a cool mild relaxing day afternoon at the beach.  Got to love a little swim action after a good walk.  Apparently the guests have figure out that I’m a go to gurl & being answering their questions already.  I’m like a “staff in training” these days by a wee bit of naturalizing, photography tips & the big one to remind them to sign back in from being at shore. 

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