A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Where Animals Rule


On the public pier in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island, we encountered a slight bump in the road.

At least a half dozen sea lions were blocking our way, lounging on the steps we needed to descend to board the dinghy that would take us to the Cruz del Sur, our home for the next week.

When it became apparent the sea lions weren’t quite ready to give up their resting spot, Hanzel, our naturalist guide, led us to another dock where we were able to board our dinghy.


To travel to the Galapagos is to travel to a alternate universe where sea lions, marine iguanas, giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies rule, and where they have found a way to live in harmony.

After centuries on islands with no natural predators, Galapagos wildlife is ridiculously tame.


Seventeenth and eighteenth century sailors were amused by the animals’ “stupidity.”  They never had to hunt for food on the Galapagos; they simply went ashore and grabbed what they wanted, as if visiting a precursor to the modern supermarket.

The animals never fought back or fled.  They knew no danger.

Today their main annoyance is hundreds of pesky humans constantly pointing a camera their way.  Paparazzi in Patagonia clothing.


Our friends, the Gugel-McPhersons (Gail, David, Cam & Meg) joined us on a nearly flawless GAP Adventures family cruise to these other-worldly islands.

Over the course of eight days we visited nine unique islands.  Each has at least two – and sometimes three – names: An English name, a Spanish name and an Ecuadorian name.

In a sense, the history of the islands is written on its maps.

Once we made it aboard the Cruz del Sur (a.k.a. the GAP Adventurer II), we began the overnight journey to Ilsa Espanola (a.k.a Hood Island), our first destination.

The next morning when we went ashore we were were greeted by hundreds of sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and Sally Lightfoot crabs.  We weren’t in Silver Spring anymore.


Soon our days took on a familiar pattern.

Up early for breakfast and shore excursion with Hanzel.  We’d spend two to three hours exploring an island, following well-marked paths.  (Ninety-seven percent of the Galapagos are now protected areas and cannot be entered without a certified guide.)

After our morning excursion it was back to the boat for lunch.

Most afternoons we would go snorkeling, often followed by a  second shore excursion before coming back to the boat for dinner.  At night the captain moved us to our next destination.

On our next to last day we visited the tiny, often-photographed island of Bartolome.  There we hiked to the top of the island for a commanding view of two golden crescent beaches, Pinnacle Rock and a submerged volcanic crater.


Later Hanzel, a remarkable Ecuadorian who in the 1980s completed U.S. Navy Seal training and was sent into El Salvador with U.S. troops, led us on a snorkeling adventure around Pinnacle Rock.

“It’s the best place to snorkel in Galapagos,” he told us.  He was right.


During our ninety minutes in the water, we swam with three white-tipped sharks, two sea turtles, a half dozen sea lions, a family of penguins and thousands of fish of every size, color and description.

As we where preparing to return to the Cruz del Sur, our friend David said, “You know, the only thing we haven’t seen this week is a unicorn.”

Our Galapagos pictures are posted here.



1 Cameron { 08.18.08 at 8:52 pm }

Yay Im famous

2 ST { 08.19.08 at 8:55 am }

in my next life i want to be a blue-footed boobie. or maybe a ruby-throated thunder wing. or maybe . . . . oh i can’t decide. but i definitely want to go to the galapagos when i die.

3 Trevor { 08.19.08 at 1:03 pm }

Did you happen to visit Post Office beach? I believe that is what it is called. I have read about it in several sailing books and am curious if it is still in use.

4 Theresa { 08.19.08 at 2:34 pm }

Looks fantastic! I can’t wait to get there. It’s definitely one of the places I am most looking forward to visiting.

5 Craig { 08.19.08 at 3:15 pm }

Trevor – we did visit Post Office Bay and it is still in use… in fact, we picked up two post cards to deliver in New Zealand and Australia!

6 Sarah { 08.19.08 at 4:14 pm }

Your pictures are fantastic! Glad you guys are having fun so far.

7 molly { 08.20.08 at 1:01 pm }

lucky people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Creative Commons License