Last week was my big adventure in the Galapagos. I went with my friend Amanda from college and it was a most interesting experience. We landed in Galapagos at the smallest airport I have ever been to. It had one landing strip and everything was outside, covered by a tin roof. We got off the plane and were met by hotness and humidity, it felt great! Our first day was a little rocky as Amanda thought she had Dengue Fever (she just got back from 2 ½ years in Uganda). Her bones ached, her stomach hurt, and she had a fever. She spent most of the first day sleeping back at our hostal, while I went out to explore the surrounding area. I went on quite the lengthy walk to get to an absolutely beautiful beach – white, smooth sand and such blue water! As I was walking (and looking out into the water) I almost tripped on a huge land iguana. After getting back in town, I went to the pharmacy to get Amanda some pills. You don’t need a prescription for anything here in Ecuador. So I had 3 different pharmacists come to try and help me figure out which pill Amanda needed. I left with four different pills after about a 45 minute discussion. The next day Amanda was still not feeling well so we went to the local hospital. We cut the line of about 40 Ecuadorian women and their children and were ushered into the emergency area. As acting translator, I went into the room with Amanda and the doctor told me to look down her throat and observe some weird white bumps while Amanda gagged. She was diagnosed with a bacterial infection. We went back to the pharmacy I visited the nice before, returned our old pills in plastic bags, and were given new ones to help her.
We left for our cruise that day. There were 13 other people on our boat – Australians, Italians, English, Canadian, and Columbians. Our fellow passengers were an interesting lot who made the trip even that more memorable. It was a rather small boat which made for some very interesting travel at night. There was a lot of rocking and pitching back and forth. Being on the top bunk, I held on so I wouldn’t fall out during the night. We got to visit about 5 different islands; all of them offering us a new animal to see. We learned about and saw the Galapagos turtle, sea lions, the blue- footed, red-footed, and masked boobies, the frigate bird, finches, albatross, lava lizards, a whale, and sharks. Every day we got to snorkel and it was amazing what you could see underwater. We swam with the sea lions and sea turtles, saw some huge sting rays, and tons of fish.
I went down into a lava tube cave and got to explore the inside which was pitch black. Our first full day on the boat we visited an area called Post Office Bay. According to the old whalers’ tradition, a letter would be left without a stamp to be taken by the next person passing through who was traveling to the destination of the letter. They have continued with this tradition and now tourists write postcards to be hand delivered to other tourists. I found a postcard addressed to Smithtown which I will take back to NY with me.
It was truly amazing to be able to stand right beside all these animals and sit along the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.