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What does Trafficated mean?


Written by: Daryl

Photos by: Daryl, Joar, and Scuba Iguana


'Survival' in Galapagos

     With the Capitania at Academy Bay giving our boat a visa stay of 15 days, instead of the anticipated 10, it was time to enjoy some the many adventures that Galapagos has to offer.  And although we had been given personal visas for 90 days, once the boat visa expired we had to leave.  Our first stop in Puerto Ayora was going to be the Darwin Research Centre.  Here scientists and volunteers conduct many biological and ecological studies on the islands as well as provide a great interaction between the visitors and their clients,…the animals!  It is quite amazing to being able to get so close to ancient land tortoises and witness them eating, fighting, and moving at a pace that resembles the people in the Caribbean, ‘Carib-Time.’  The most famous of these tortoises is Lonesome George, the last of his species that was wiped out by American fishermen on Pinta Isla years ago.  Since his discovery, they have been trying to get George to mate with many female tortoises of similar species in order to continue his blood line.  But, George is playing hard to get and when you are able to live to an age of 150 you can take your time when being finicky.  Maybe the research centre should be working on some Tortoise Viagra for George to help speed things up.

     Along with the great nature on land, Galapagos is also famous for the plentiful marine life in the water.  It has been rated as one of the world's best dive sites for scuba, even though the temperature of the water can drop to a shivering 16 degrees Celsius this time of the year thanks to a wintry current from Australia.  But, when you have an opportunity to swim with seal lions you easily forget about the frigid water temperature.  Luckily for us, coming from Canada and Norway, a water temperature of 16 degrees C is just a typical warm summer’s swim! 

     Being in the water with 30 sea lions was an unbelievable experience.  They were all around us, checking us out and taunting us to play tag with them by swimming between our legs and trying to nibble at our flippers and sometimes fingers.  When you would swim away from them, about half would follow beside you.  Then, when you would turn around, they would easily change their direction, making sure that they kept their eyes on you in case you decide to make a move a touch one, which was next to impossible.  One time when I surfaced for a short time-out, about 10 seal lions popped their heads out of the water and stared at me with their sad eyes as if to say ‘Don’t leave.  Stay and play.’   And even though I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes, I had to go back down and accept their tag challenge one more time.  (There is some great video footage of the sea lions on the video page.)

     Scuba diving in Galapagos is incredible as every dive is unique in it's own way with so many species of marine life to see.  It is impossible to describe the feeling when you can freely sink 15 meters to the bottom of the ocean and then look up to see a school of 20 hammerhead sharks floating with the current above you.  I would like to say breathtaking but when you are that far below the surface, you don’t really want your breath to be taken.   Ja Ja(Spanish laughter)

     One day, Joar and Kjell had a great idea of renting scooters and tour around the hilly volcanic island of Santa Cruz.  The tour quickly became a challenge when we found out they didn’t have any motorized scooters to rent us and we had to switch to leg powered mountain bikes.  We were told by the rental agent that a taxi will take us, and the bikes, 30 km out of Puerto Ayora where he will drop us off at the top of a hill and we can have a nice ‘downhill’ ride back into town.  Of course the language barrier with taxis is always a problem in foreign countries and we ended up being dropped off 30 km out of town at the ‘bottom’ of a hill which we had to bike 'up' first before descending down another into town.  It was all good, and we enjoyed a nice ride in the country stopping to see many wild tortoises, lava tunnels and local inhabitants who greeted us with plenty of smiles and gladly posed for photos. The ride was great for Joar and I who enjoy biking, not so great for Kjell who hadn’t been on a bike in a few years.  But, the Galapagos is famous for helping Charles Darwin with his beliefs on adapting, and after a few minutes I witnessed Kjell lighting his smoke with one hand while keeping balanced with the other without any problems.








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