Galapagos 2014 part 1

I had played around with the thought of going to the Galapagos Islands all year and in november it was realized. Why go? Because of all the amazing animals, including sea lions on all islands!

San Cristobal
I flew from Quito (the capital of Ecuador which is on the west coast of south america) to San Cristobal. San Cristobal has the 2nd biggest population in the Galapagos. It turns out that there's a fair amount of people on these islands.

 Benches are not for people in Galapagos. The sea lions are making the best of having to share with humans.

 I often wondered how the sea lions managed to get to their napping places..
 View over the main city.
Isla Lobos. Lobo means wolf in spanish. Lobo marino means sea lion.
 There were sea lions everywhere! Often you would just hear a sneeze or cough and realize there is a sea lion napping under the bush right beside you.
 Ah, my favorite kind of sea lion. It happens when they just come out of the water, all dark because the fur is wet. They walk up the beach a bit and then just collapse into the sand. They then get up and walk a bit more, now all white on the belly : )
 Blue Footed Boobie. It was the end of the dry season, which is why theres little green on the trees. A the first rain about christmas time, it will all turn green again.

Sea lion pup.

 Kicker Island or Leon Dormido. It's a famous diving spot of the coast of San Cristobal. We went in the channels between the rocks and it was amazing. There were so many animals: sea turtles, sea lions, sharks, hammerhead sharks and lot's of fish!
 This is a male sea lion. Looks pretty much like a drunk..
 The slides were originally build for human kids but they don't really get a chance to use them.

 They are sweet, no?
 Lucky sea lion pup..
 Not so lucky sea lion pup...
 Marine Iguana. I love their faces, like old dragons. Despite their looks they are very calm, about a meter long and only eat algaes.
Dead iguana. They have some interesting teeth.
 Look out point. Its supposed to be Darwin.

 Fishermen repairing their boat.
 Dead crab.
Swimming with sea lions! One of my favorite things. The young ones are very curious. If you start swirling around, diving up and down, they'll follow and start playing around you.
 This one was playing with a rock. I tried to pick it up and throw it, expecting the sea lion to get and bring it back... that did not work.


Yoga Retreat
After 4 days on San Cristobal, I took the speed boat to Santa Cruz to join a yoga retreat with Rocky Heron. We basically did yoga morning and evening and adventure in the day time. It was great!
Galapagos is right on the equator which means the sun really BURN here. Even the locals put on sun screen! I have never seen that before when traveling to other tropical places. Everyday was battle not to get burned. Cloudy days became the good days fast.
 We stayed at Semilla Verde in the highlands on Santa Cruz. It is 20 mins from the coast but a totally different climate. Here is was all forest and green, often rain.
The hotel was also a coffee plantation and had a lot of wild tortoises "running" around.
 Our yoga studio with a great view : )
 Now they did not try and escape if you got near them, instead they "hissed" at you, sounding pretty much like Darth Vader.
 It was lobster season. Here we checking how fresh they are. Apparently you just tickle their eyes and check if they move...
Food, lots of food.
 This is a nearby tortoise farm. This one is looking quite intrigue at the duck infront of it.

 So the trick is to just sneak up behind them. They don't see or hear well so they basically don't know you're there : )
Inside a tortoise... it was actually quite spacious.

Tortuga Bay
On the way to Tortuga Bay. These cacti have learned to grow big stems, otherwise they would get eaten by land iguanas and tortoises.
Lava lizard. They were all over the islands.
 Amazing beach. Super soft white sand and turqouise water.
 Kayaking along the mangrooves.
 The sea turtles poped up all around us.
 Marine iguana coming a shore.
They spent a lot of time re-heating in the sun. Here they have reached the 2nd stage: halfway upright. Stage 1 is just flat on the ground. 3rd stage is moving.
 This is my little yoga groupe. Doing yoga poses in amazing/weird places is a big part of doing yoga ; )
 Almost all yoga poses look better on a tropical beach.

Santa Fe Island
 We went to Santa Fe as a daytrip, 2 hours by boat each way to get there.
 Me, trying to blend in.

 This sea lion actually looked impressed for a few seconds, then he just collapsed and started napping.

 Land Iguana. They get bigger than the marine ones but still harmless.
 Underwater yoga.
 So we were told Santa Fe was THE place to snorkle with sea lions but we didn't see any in the water. There were plenty one the rocks. After a while we saw why. A big galapagos shark was patroling the area, looking for a little snack. It was around 2.5 meter long which feels pretty big when you're out there in the water and it swims right by you. By the end of the week it had also grown substantially in our memories : )
 The coast line of many of the islands looked like this.
Frigate birds, circling over our boat.

 Another daytrip. This time further west, towards the younger islands. It is all volcanic islands.
 Nothing green insight..
At the top. Bartolome has this famous look out point.
The view.
 Marine Iguana re-charging.
 This one was wating for us at the boat, feeling the spot was more his than ours.
 Snorkeling time! I'm actually showing a marine iguana...
 Pinguins!!! They have these small tropical pinguins at the islands. They are super fast. Thev sea lions seems slow compared to them.
 Uh and finally more sea lions : )
The other people in my yoga group had made fun of me because of my enthusiasm for swimming with sea lions BUT only until they tried it themselves. After that, they were equally enthusiastic : )
A marien iguana "grassing".They live of the algae on the rocks.