We sailed the whole night. When I open the curtains to look out of my cabin, I’m a bit surprised. I see an empty island, barren and flat. Is this part of the famous Galapagos Islands? But as soon as we step out of our dinghy and onto land, the island comes alive. Iguanas crawl to the sea, sea lions play tag in the surf and a colony of blue footed boobies fiercely guards their nests.
It’s only the first day of our eight day cruise through the Galapagos and we’re already enchanted. This is truly a magnificent place. We decided to book a cruise on a small yacht, the Golondrina, which only has room for sixteen travelers and six crew members. The boat is small, but has everything you could wish for: cozy cabins, private bathrooms, a nice sun deck and the best possible crew. The crew members all grew up on the Galapagos and they’re incredibly proud of the islands. Our lovely guide provides excellent information about everything: landscapes, history, animals, always accompanied by his now famous words ‘It’s an endemic of a species on Galapagos’. He also has a funny way to pronounce ‘snorkel’, it sounds like ‘snurkjel’. We still pronounce it that way!
Life on the Golondrina follows a strict program: we get up at seven and have a huge breakfast. We visit one of the islands and explore. The good thing about Golondrina is that’s it’s so small. When we go on land, there’s only seventeen of us, so we keep the disturbance for the animals to a minimum (we also saw huge cruise ships, with about ninety people going of board). Then we go for a ‘snurkjel’, afterwards we have lunch. After lunch, we sail to another island or landing place. We snorkel again, then we go on land for more exploring. At seven, we have dinner and at eight, we’re in bed. Tired as hell! And then we sail through the night, before anchoring again in the early morning.
Sea lions wink at you
Every night we sail and the waves are sometimes pretty big. We’re often rocking and rolling in our bunk beds, but more often we sleep like babies. And if we don’t, we forget about that immediately. Because every morning there’s a new island. Where prehistoric iguanas lazily shuffle by, where birds with blue feet sit next to you and where sleepy baby sea lions wink at you sweetly. Every day a new island, sometimes with white beaches and a turquoise sea, and sometimes with a rough volcanic landscape. The junglelike highlands of the island Santa Cruz look like they came out of a Jurassic Park movie.
Under water, the magic continues. We play with acrobatic sea lions, we swim through schools of colorful fish and watch in awe how a whole family of sea turtles is searching for food. And the most spectacular sight: we follow ten spotted eagle rays, floating ahead in formation. It’s simply magical!