Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Three Weeks of 'Wows'

I left  Ecuador, ‘The Republic of the Equator’, yesterday.  And I’m at South Beach, Miami, now for a three-night stay.  But that doesn’t mean I’m done talking about the Galapagos; I think I’ll be doing that for quite awhile.

No question, those islands have some of the strangest wildlife on the planet.  It seems like there’s something amazing about every animal there.  I want to tell you about two creatures that are not the prettiest.  In fact, they both look kind of dark, and maybe even sinister.  But the story of their adaptation is truly fascinating.

It’s believed that iguanas were originally only on land.  But today, black-colored marine iguanas swim and dive to feed on marine algae.   And they stay underwater for extended periods of time.  They’re crusty with salt, and expel it from their noses.  And dark-feathered flightless cormorant birds gave up flying to become swimmers and divers.   They feed on sea life, and have under-developed wings that are only used for balance.

What a great time we had during our seven days afloat.  We snorkeled every day except one.  We also hiked the islands, and viewed them from the water, cruising the shoreline in inflatable dinghies.  Our 88-foot power catamaran, the Archipell II, was fairly basic, but comfortable.  There were 12 of us, and a crew of nine.  The food was excellent, and our barman – Fabricio – was there to greet us when we returned to the boat, offering snacks and ice tea.  He even surprised us with hot chocolate after one snorkeling outing, when the water turned a bit cold.

At our last dinner together we talked about the ‘wows’ of our three-week trip.  Everyone had a favorite.  From the Andes and Machu Picchu  .  .  .  to the Amazon rain forest  .  .  .  and, finally, the ‘enchanted isles’ of the Galapagos.  It was three adventures in one trip, visiting three absolute wonders.  And the wows never stopped!

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