Sea lions hanging out on someone’s panga.

I was super excited to visit the Galapagos Islands. I felt almost rewarded after the experience of having to go through my evolution class in college and reading The Evolution of the Species by Charles Darwin. Now, before I lose you reader, please know I will not reproduce the entire excruciating details of that said publication and will mostly be talking as a tourist having fun in a magnificent environment with beautiful animals and birds.

Beach time at San Cristobal.

When we arrived at San Cristobel island we were immediately delighted at the sight of sea lions making themselves at home basically anywhere; on the steps and the platforms to the boats, on the streets, on boats (if you leave it too close and too long near the land), etc. Our guides told us you can’t touch the animals here so some of them get used to that and feel free and comfortable. Sometimes that means you have to leave them be as they take up space on the boat you are riding on at the moment.

The crazy stairs we climbed on Genovese.

Our cruise ship was very comfortable and had 22 guest rooms. My parents and I got the rooms in the stern and there was plenty of room. An early wake up found us in the northern hemisphere anchored in the Great Darwin Bay at the island of Genovese where we took a 1.5 mile walk across some hard terrain of lava rocks. Here we saw a lot of red footed and Nazca boobies. Lots of other species of birds were nesting everywhere. There were frigates, hawks, swallow-tail gulls, mockingbirds and finches. The Prince Philip Stairs where we caught our zodiac was a scary 90 ft decent and not for the clumsy types.

Playing with the seals.

In the afternoon we took a short beach walk on the other side and then went for a snorkel. It was a very busy and physical itinerary. The snorkeling gave us views of colorful fish, barnacles, and a very rare eel. The most fun thing I liked on these snorkels were the sea lions. They would swim around you and play, coming up close to you then spinning away at the last second.

Marine iguana getting warm.

Our next stop, back down in the southern hemisphere, was to Santiago, an old pirate stop. We started off up some rocky stairs avoiding the baby sea lion and his mama on the rocks and took a long stroll through the paths in the island seeing a ton of lizards and birds. And also along the shoreline where the sea lions would climb up (how I’m not sure) into cozy spots to sleep. We had to watch our step because the marine iguanas were everywhere. They look like prehistoric scary predators but in reality were algae-eating, slow moving, sun-soaking, and fascinating to observe. All of the animals would co-exist and sleep near each other including Sally Lightfoot crabs who had beautiful red markings. The terrain was very interesting and full of lava formations, low trees, and random rock formations.

Our days normally consisted of walks, rides in the pangas (zodiacs) along the coast lines, and swims. Next post covers some more back and forth across the equator and around the islands.

They look like killers but they just hang out in a “mess.”

Cool rock formations where pirates used to store their riches.

Can you spot the sea lion and guess how he got there?

Pelicans were everywhere and beautiful in flight.

Sally Lightfoot crabs crawled all over the rocks, other animals, etc. Black as babies, they get colorful as adults.

Lizards (or salamanders?) scurried across our path. The females had red heads and the males would do push ups to try to get their attention.

Red-footed booby bird.

The red-footed booby has a beautiful blue face.


Male frigate. His pouch is deflated–time to eat.

Tons of birds fly around on Genevosa.


This guy stands on one leg.

Sleeping in the sun on an abandoned boat, because we can.

A rare glimpse at an eel while snorkeling.

Our ship the Isabella II.

Swimming with my new friends.