I’m a sucker for animals. You might have noticed my penchant for dogs, particularly street dogs and mutts. George says that my ultimate dog is from the pound, has three legs, an eye patch and an immediate need for $10,000 of medical expenses. That sounds about right.
My favorite vacations usually include an encounter with wildlife. Costa Rica (especially the night tour!), Kangaroo Island, Komodo Island and Bali are in my heart as great places to visit–primarily due to the animals.
Here in the mountains of Ecuador the only wildlife I’ve encountered are in the Zoo. I’ve been there twice. So far.
So, naturally, I was keen to go to the Galapagos.
Truly, there isn’t much to say about the trip, other than it was over-the-top fantastic. So this post will be mainly pictures.
The animals are not afraid or shy. You can stand just a few feet away from them and they just carry on as usual. I saw birds sitting on eggs and coddling their young. Sea Turtles, Giant Tortoises, Iguana, Pelicans, and Fish. So many fish. Three days of snorkeling—it was like diving into National Geographic Magazine.
Mom came with us, she was a trooper. She couldn’t do everything, but the staff was very accommodating, coming up with alternate plans for the more difficult excursions.
We met some nice people. OK, two nice people. David and Ferran from the UK. That’s the great thing about travel: you meet people you otherwise would never know.
So, enjoy the pictures. Remember, click on any photo to enlarge. To see all of my Galapagos pictures and videos, click here. Feel free to like and share. Here are some pics:
You actually looked at all the pictures! Here’s a bonus for making it this far—
THERE’S ONE ON EVERY TRIP
If you’ve followed me around the world, you know I call people out from time to time. On every trip, whether it’s a two-hour tour or a 116 day cruise, there is always at least one annoying person. I usually pick them out pretty quickly. I try and avoid them, but at some point there is always an encounter, and then post that encounter here. It’s where the humor lives.
Galapagos was no exception. However, this time, there is a rub. You know the theory Six Degrees of Separation? I was horrified to learn we know someone in common! What do I do? I wouldn’t want it to get back to him that I dissed him, but I can’t help it! This guy was particularly annoying, and I really want to tell you about it. Here is the deal: This person might be a friend of yours, or a friend of a friend. I won’t use his name or picture, but someday one of you might figure it out. Shhhhh. While I do have a biting sense of humor and a tongue sharp enough to open clams, I wouldn’t really want to hurt someone’s feelings. So mum’s the word, OK?
As I said, there is always someone. You know the person, they have to monopolize the tour guide, challenge his knowledge, constantly make special requests, or otherwise take over and become the center of attention.
On the Galapagos trip there was a group of six, and one of them was worse than the rest. Every night there would be a briefing in the lounge where the next day’s activities are reviewed. On the first night, and every night after that, he was late. And then would proceed to ask questions that were previously answered. He’d interrupt the speaker, usually cutting him off mid-sentence. For example, he would obnoxiously blurt out something like “What TIME are we meeting? You didn’t say the TIME!!” while all around the room eyes rolled. This was constant. He would also share with the group, again in the middle of the Naturalists’ presentation, tidbits of other trips he had taken during the course of his life. Or he would try and correct the guide. Or ask a random question. All in the tone of an assistant principal supervising detention: “I’ll put a small, red X next to your name in my roll-book.”
Most trips started in the Zodiac, which held about 16 people. We did everything we could to not be on a Zodiac with them, or we would be stuck with them for the duration as they talked through explanations, interrupted lectures, and remained fairly omnipresent throughout the excursion. They touched the animals, even though they were told it’s strictly forbidden. Likewise, against regulations, they pocketed seashells and minerals. It just got tiring after a while. You’d be proud of me, though. I didn’t say a word.
They were pushy, too. While we all waited patiently in line (on-line?) for the lunch buffet, they walked behind the serving line and had the staff fill their plates. Another time they were all sitting at an outdoor table, but decided the next table was better, so they went over and moved other people’s stuff off. When the original occupants returned moments later, the only table available was the dirty table this group just vacated!
On the last night we were all taking pictures of the sunset and moon rise at the bow of the ship. Many people were taking family shots with the sun or moon behind them. While I was waiting for a couple to capture that perfect moment before I passed, two of them shoved me a bit and said they wanted to get though. I said, holding my ground, “We all are trying to get through, but we’re patiently waiting for them to take their picture”. One of them loudly harrumphed behind me as I held firm.
Of the six, one guy and his wife were actually very nice. Maybe they all were. I wouldn’t know, I did my best to avoid them. He was how we discovered our mutual connection.
So, if one of your friends mentions that they met us on a Galapagos Trip, smile knowingly to yourself while you say out loud: “Oh, yes, they mentioned that! I’m so glad you met!” Then call me IMMEDIATELY. We need to talk. And remember: mum’s the word.
©Kyle Merker 2015