Galapagos Islands – In search of Charles Darwin’s footprints

During my visit to Bolivia in 2007, I spoke to other travelers who had visited other countries in South America – with a tour or on their own. My fascination with Latin America grew and grew – by the time I was returning to North America, I decided that Peru and Ecuador will highlight my spring of 2008.

My life at work was getting more and more stressful and challenging, what with tight deadlines and we were under staffed, as usual. The days of working long hours on the Atlantis resort in Dubai was behind me but other projects in Dubai and Morocco were stretching me thin. I was burning out – again.

With the little down time I had, I did what little research I could about Peru and Galapagos. In the end, I gave up on the logistics and signed up for 2 tours that would take care of everything for me. All I had to do, aside from forking over my savings, was book my international flights and some extra days of hotel stays.

I booked myself a 7-day tour of the Galapagos islands and a 4-day hike on the Inca Trail.

The Galapagos islands (Archipiélago de Colón) is where Charles Darwin gathered his specimens and made countless observations of the local wildlife which led to his thoughts of evolution. Nowadays, the islands and the surrounding waters are listed as an UNESCO world heritage site and became the first National Park in Ecuador.

During this tour, I knew that we will be island ‘hopping’ and living aboard a small vessel. I was told to pack medication for motion sickness but this was the time when I wanted to be all holistic and off of western medicine. So I only packed the acupressure tensor bands for the wrist which works on an acupressure point that would relief nausea if I was to experience such discomfort. I also assumed that I would not have much issues as I have been on the Star ferry many times while living or visiting Hong Kong. There was also 2 nights in which I slept in a docked boat in the San Francisco harbor a few years prior. So yes, I was a bit cocky and confident.

We spent the first night on the boat, docked at the harbor in Baltra. The dinner was delicious, shared conversation at the table with new travel mates on the tour – just when the dinner was done, I did NOT feel well!! Oh Gawd! I ran as fast as I could to the railings of the boat and shared my slightly digested dinner with the sealife. Besides being embarrassed and horrified – my mind was racing – how will I survive for the next few days?! These bands on my wrist are not doing their job!!

Thankfully, we were docked and the captain ran ashore and banged on the door of the local pharmacy. Luckily, the pharmacist lives upstairs! For the remainder of the trip, I took the motion sickness pill religiously and without hesitation! By the second day, the Captain would give me the ‘eye’ and I would pop the pill before he start the engine! In subsequent trips, I have played with eating crystalized ginger and lower dosage of the general motion sickness pill – just never went back to the acupressure wrist bands.

Galapagos islands was a real treat for me, there’s so much nature to enjoy; hiking, birding, snorkeling, swimming, etc. Just maintain proper distance to the wildlife, keep to the designated paths and all is well – actually awesome! There are a significant number of species which are endemic to the Galapagos islands. Back then the famous Lonesome George, the Giant Galapagos tortoise was still alive, living at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island.

The extra amazing thing was that I was there during mating season and the “early birds” already had eggs or babies. It was serious excitement! Then of course the penguins and seals added more excitement. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the day when I make a return trip and see a few more islands!

Pelican on Welcome sign at Galapagos islands Ecuador

Pelican on Welcome sign at Galapagos islands, Ecuador

Giant Tortoise battle for food Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Giant Tortoise battle for food Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Marine Iguana Galapagos Islands Ecuador

Marine Iguana Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Survival of the fittest - Sally Lightfoot Crab eats baby sea turtle Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Survival of the fittest – Sally Lightfoot Crab eats baby sea turtle Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos fur seal pup Ecuador

Galapagos fur seal pup at Ecuador

Blue footed Boobies doing the mating dance Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Blue footed Boobies doing the mating dance Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Sunset at Galapagos islands Ecuador

Sunset over Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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