animalia, aventura, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, happy happy, natural wonder, South America

catchin’ some rays…spotted eagle rays

Bec / 17/05/2013

Breakfast is one of my favourite meals of the day. Especially so when it’s eggs, bread, copious amounts of tea and coffee and all served looking over the water with great company. Following a good breakfast with a wriggly wetsuit fitting is probably less on my list of favourite things to do but since the water was about 16-19 degrees C, I struggled on.

It’s a small world and Galapagos is popular so I shouldn’t have been so surprised to pass a fellow member of the Tucan tour as we met on the dock on my way to board Undertake I. We weren’t entirely sure if it was a deliberate omission of the letter “r” or if there was something lost in translation. It’s still a strange name for a boat if you ask me. She was our three-engined transport for the trip and apart from some interesting times going to the loo in high speed and seas, she was a good ride. Especially when the Oreo cookies came out after snorkeling sessions 😉

Isla de Lobos and Cerro Brujo gave us a special experience with the fearless sea lions following us as we traced up the shoreline while snorkeling to check out fish, Sally Lightfoot crabs, frigate birds, pelicans and blue-footed boobies. The sea lions are like playful, but bashful puppies, zooming ever so close before darting away before you could even think of reaching out to high-five a flipper. I was reminded of my up close and personal encounter with them in Argentina and how they came so much closer to hold and nibble my hands.

Leon Dormido – sleeping lion – or Kicker Rock looks like a giant boot with a block behind it but it’s actually a mountain of compressed ash from a volcanic eruption that has ended up barely off the coast. The open water rises and rolls a few metres, visible in the waves climbing and descending the face of the sheer walls towering out of the ocean. The channel created by the two formations is about 18-20 metres deep, about the same wide and full of life.

JP and I did two passes through, spotting tiny jellyfish and schools of damsel fish swimming up from the bottom to feed so we were greeted with the sight of their mouths chomping towards us rather than the familiar view of a school of fish from the side. It was quite another thing to spot several Galapagos sharks, reef sharks and one precious hammerhead. The cold water had already taken our breath away so we felt quite safe in their company.

Another major highlight was the graceful glide-by of dozens of spotted eagle rays. So peaceful and calm they look like they are flying and while they make it look easy, it’s a job to keep up with them. They were magnificent and the whole experience was a mesmorising major highlight.

As we emerged out the other side and clambered aboard the Undertake I, we sounded like a bunch of kids babbling about what cool things we had seen, showing off photos and chattering our teeth in the cold. We changed and JP and I enjoyed cruising back to port while sunbathing on the bow, admiring the brilliant scenery and calm waters.

We couldn’t be denied a drink that day to toast our fortune of sightseeing with snorkels and the sumptuous BBQ dinner to end all BBQ dinners is still talked about today.












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