Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
In a year when the demand for travel returned so strongly, I am beyond grateful for my team, who have all remained incredibly focused and committed, such that we have been able to handle the much increased demand for our services. It remains our mission to provide above and beyond personal service and we truly care about every single itinerary that we work on with our clients. Thank you Kendall, Shanna, Kanise, Sarah, Kristin and Tori.
Many thanks also to all our returning clients this year and the many referrals you have brought our way. We are so appreciative when we are recommended to potential new clients.
You may have noticed that we did not have a blog last week, and that is the first one missed in over 7 years. Between our autoresponder deciding a password needed to be reset and myself completely without data ot wifi for 5 full days while traveling, it was impossible to produce. But my trip was so good and so enthralling that you will still get a double dose of the Galapagos Islands today and next week. Much like the African safaris I have enjoyed in the last few years, Galapagos lends itself to spectacular photographic opportunities, so these blog articles will be loaded with extra pics.
I can also tell you that 5 days without connection to my usual world was invigorating and everyone should try it!
Top 5 - The Galapagos Islands part 1
1. The Ship
While it is possible to enjoy the Galapagos by land only, most agree that the best way to visit and explore is by sea. Our choice was the 16-passenger max catamaran Reina Silvia Voyager operated by G Adventures, one of our favorite adventure category suppliers. I'd classify the ship and service as premium level, with the luxury being the small group size and the fact that you have stops on the itinerary that bigger ships are not allowed to visit. At times we were the only people on islands inhabited by amazing wildlife and no humans.
2. Sea Lions
97% of the Galapagos Islands land mass has been declared a national park, and the surrounding waters are a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Both the park and the marine reserve are protected by Ecuador and are virtually uninhabited. The remaining 3% of land areas, outside of the national park, are home to roughly 30,000 people.
The Galapagos Sea Lion is found around the coastline of all the islands and is featured above and below. It is safe to be as close as 6 feet to these creatures with the proviso of being extra wary of a mother if the pup is nearby. I did not take photos underwater so am missing giving you the full insight of what it is like to swim with these creatures. This occured on several of our snorkeling trips.
3. Giant Tortoises (above and below)
Providing a living guide to evolution and how an environment can shape generations to come, there are an amazing 13 sub-species of the Giant Tortoise just within these islands. The clearest difference coming on Santa Cruz island which is lush and tortoises just need short necks to eat their food, mainly grass. Compare with the less humid and drier islands where foliage is higher up on bushes, and here the Tortoises have necks roughly 12 inches longer.
4. Galapagos Marine Iguanas
Next up are Galapagos marine iguanas, creatures that adapted and evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to be able to swim and feed under water on the plentiful algae in the nutrient rich Ocean that surrounds the Galapagos. Fascinating creatures and willing to totally ignore humans even when you almost step on them! They are very well camoflaged against the rocks.
5. Blue-Footed Boobies
Viewing the near mythical and beautifully named Blue-Footed Boobies is on most Galapagos visitors lists as a must-see and you won't be disappointed. What I was not expecting is their amazing hunting/dive-bombing prowess. Spend a few minutes on your cruise ship balcony when anchored near a Boobie hunting ground and you will hear the plops in the water as they enter diving for fish as if competing in an Olympics diving competition.
Lots more species and photos from Galapagos next week.
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I love travel and I love travel planning just as much and I am proud to be building a team as passionate about exploring the world as myself. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts. We provide a bespoke service, imagining and creating itineraries for independent minded families and groups.
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