I feel like I'm saying this a lot, but first of all, sorry for the absence! I's been a rough few weeks for all. However, I'm definitely ready to to get back on track with this blog.
And what's better for that than a mascot?
Probably the most well-known animal in the Galapagos Islands (or, if you wanna be specific the Archipelagos of Columbus) is the Galapagos Land Turtle.
Now, I've heard some interesting misconceptions about these animals. Some people think they have a beard-- don't ask me why. Others think they're ten feet tall. Though none of these rumors are true, these animals are still pretty cool.
And yes, they do look slightly terrifying.
So big a full-grown man could ride on their shell, these turtles eat mostly leaves, if you couldn't tell. When pirates used to come and visit the islands, they would roll these big babies onto their ship and keep them alive until they got hungry. Horrible, I know. Especially when you think that these turtles can live to be more than one-hundred fifty years old.
The tortoises live so long that they only just reach sexual maturity at age twenty-five. Now, compare that to a cat, who reaches maturity at around six months, and you'll understand why these animals are so special.
To see these 'special animals', you can take a boat to Santa Cruz island, where some of the conservatories for these animals are held. Our cruise ship, the Galapagos Explorer II, had this trip included in our package.
What's fascinating about these conservatories is that you can see little baby tortoises that could fit in the palm of you hand tottering around, and full-grown tortoises slowly meandering around. One pair even got into a violent fight when we visited. If you think these turtle's can't move fast, then you're dead wrong.
Be warned-- Santa Cruz is much more lush than the other Galapagos islands. The ants there are horrible, so make sure to wear boots. However, it is very misty, green, and beautiful.
While I'm not sure if you can see the tortoises in the wild, the conservatories provide an adequate substitute. Though these special reasons do not have a beard, I have to say, there's a valid reason that they're the mascots of Galapagos.
Just look at that face!
Beaches. Crystal white sand, aqua water and craggy black rocks.
Now, the beaches in Galapagos may not have waving palm trees, but they're definitely a one-of-a-kind paradise.
When I fist visited Galapagos, I was disappointed with the beaches. They were either very rocky with crashing waves, or tiny with muddy brown sand. Not something you would see on a postcard. However, once we really started visiting the islands, the white-sand glory began to unfold itself.
Punta Cormorant is one such beach. Long, beautiful, and with silky white sand, it is the epitome of heaven. The rocks poking out from the sea, behind the turquoise waves, do nothing to take away from its beauty. Even better, we saw Magnificent Frigatebirds coasting along the shore. The males of this species have a little red sack hanging from their neck that they inflate and deflate, just like a big red balloon! Flying above us, they provided spectacular entertainment as they dove and swooped around our heads.
Cerro Brujo, shown above, was another beautiful beach. The snorkeling here wasn't very good-- the water was foggy with sand and algae and the currents moved swiftly-- but it had the largest number of napping seals I'd ever seen.
The seals would lay on the beach, sunning themselves and blinking lazily. They wouldn't even react if the blue waves lapped at their fins. They just snorted and turned themselves a little farther so the water wouldn't hit as them hard. My brother, being as he is, even laid down next to one of the seals. It didn't seem to mind, and I'm pretty sure they both fell asleep.
As well as seals, this beach provided a great view of Kicker Rock, which to me looks like a sleeping lion. The naturalist called it Mufasa. And the sand, oh, it was so soft and squeaky.
QUICK REMINDER: BRING A WETSUIT, THOUGH PRETTY THE WATER WAS FREEZING.
In Galapagos there were other beaches, but these two, Cerro Bujo and Punta Cormorant, were the most stunning. It was these beaches that made me realize how beautiful Galapagos was. Though they didn't have waving palm trees and flowering hibiscus, these gorgeous coastlines had a raw, natural beauty all to their own.
And that, folks, is another reason you should visit Galapagos!
I'm Sylvie, someone who thrives on Vitamin Sea! With a love for exploring, writing, and reading, this blog is where I share my travelling tips and adventures.