The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galapagos Islands

I needn’t bother introducing the Galapagos Islands. Some bloke named Darwin beat me to it. Then Vonnegut. Then Attenborough. I suspect even Billy Connolly might have triked across them at some point. But even when you have an expectation of the Galapagos Islands, they can overwhelm you.

You come expecting critters, and it’s absurdly simple to find them. The islands are almost sinking under their weight, and when you swim in their seas you just about have to shunt the playful sea lions aside to get a glimpse of the turtles and sharks. But what I hadn’t expected was that even boat travel in the Galapagos is like a jaunt on a safari vehicle.

Dolphin riding ahead of the Queen Beatriz

A lot of time is spent between islands in this archipelago, but the animal life doesn’t really get the concept of ‘between’. Every crossing brings a random scene from nature: a pair of sea turtles locked in embrace, Galapagos sea lions slumbering on anchored boats, manta rays leaping like popcorn from the sea. Blue-footed boobies plunge into the water, spearing breakfast. A large shark glides through the light cast by our ship one night. Dolphins regularly play in the bow wave of our catamaran. Look away for a minute and I’m convinced I’ve missed some great moment in the Galapagos tale.

Overhead, frigate birds hitch rides in the currents generated by our boat. At times we tow a cloud of them, as they use our thermal to cross between islands. You begin to wonder how the frigate birds ever got around before boats arrived.

Frigate birds hitching a ride with a boat

Frigate birds hitching a ride

It’s constant and it’s brilliant, a place where people aren’t just incidental, they’re utilised. We’re no longer the top species, just the chauffeur.

Adventure before Avarice travelled through the Galapagos with Peregrine Adventures.

* If you’re enjoying this blog, head across also to Adventure before Avarice’s Facebook page for a world of adventure news and happenings.

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