Galapagos In-Brief – Western Islands
Sea Star Journey
Recently I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the enchanted Galapagos Islands. While I had seen the gorgeous wildlife photos and read about Charles Darwin, I hadn’t fully integrated what it would be like to go there, in person, and explore the archipelago. The day I left, a friend said to me, jokingly, “have a good time in the Galapagos. I hope you come back more evolved.” Very funny, I thought. But like most intrepid travelers, a part of me was hoping the experience would change me in some way.
My most striking memory from the trip was the meditative feeling of swimming alongside sea turtles in warm, sun-kissed water the color of jade and turquoise. For me, the sea turtles captured the spirit of the Galapagos. Always in motion, the animals moved at a pace that enabled you to see and interact with them like nowhere else on Earth.
Photo By © Matt Roy
My trip aboard the Galapagos Sea Star Journey felt the same. Our days were filled with activities, all expertly crafted to expose us to diverse Galapagos wildlife while adhering to the strict Galapagos National Park regulations. Although our time was occupied from the moment we woke up until the end of the day, our skilled naturalist guide shepherded us from one excursion to the next, so that we could relax, fearless like the animals, and remain present in each experience.
Although many travelers look forward to visiting the Galapagos for extraordinary wildlife encounters, I was equally impressed by the dramatic and diverse landscapes of the archipelago – from the lush jungle and textured lava of Sierra Negra Volcano, to the rugged cliffs of Tagus Cove.
While the Galapagos National Park remains a remarkably unique destination that can only be known by experiencing it firsthand, I returned from my trip to the enchanted isles with a Galapagos state of mind that I can carry with me wherever I go. Fear prevents us from looking around and being truly present in our environment. Being among animals who had no fear of humans filled me with a sense of childlike wonder.
If the Galapagos taught me anything, it’s to allow ourselves to trust and be trusted, seek solace and truth in the present moment, and go with the flow.
Perhaps I ‘evolved’ on my trip after all.
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