tirsdag 27. desember 2016

The Galápagos Islands

  Isle Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora

  This place is amazeballs! So, after an amazing time in Cusco, the next place to check out was The Galápagos Islands 906 km west of mainland Ecuador. So what is special about these islands? Well it was here Charles Darwin did most of his work on the theory of evolution, strangly enough, there are a lot of religious people here xD So, you have to pay hm was it 25 dollars? by cash on the airport in Quito where they "scan" your luggaeg before heading into the national park that is the Galápagos.
 When you land you also need to have a 100dollar cash for the entrance fee, before you start the process of getting to city center. You have to take a bus from the airport down to the water, a boat to cross over to another bus taking you to the city center, or taxis.

Guess I should mention I stayed in Puerto Ayora on Isle Santa Cruz. A cozy town with a lot of diving obviously which is one of the main reasons I went here. So what did I do here, well, I did a cruise where we visited all the closeby islands, did some walk abouts and snorkling every day. After this I went for a 8 day dive trip from Puerto Ayora and upwards, to the northern isle called Isla Darwin.
Went diving with seals, penguins, hammerhead sharks, silk sharks, octopuses and dolphins, amazing!
The nature is fantastic and I hope I can convey some of that through the pictures :)
Ps. stay away from the Ceviche, I got the shits for a day when I was on a cruise, not cool :p

So yeah The Galápagos is quite remote so here I'm flying in obviously, and the place is littered with small islands like the one you see here.

So, after arrival I went for a walk downtown for some exploration, the town itself is really small and you can pretty much see it all in 15 minutes. I does have some nifty stuff to see, for instance this "garden" with cermamics-

Getting into the towncenter, statue of  Lonesome George. The last of his species, but he got laid alot trying to save the land tortoises :)

Darwin finches at the local burger joint!

I obviously had to check out Darwin research station when I got here, so statues of him etc, and a lot of land tortoises!

Some special iguanas living on the islands.

An army of tortoises :)

A 20 min walk from the city center is Tortuga Bay where you'll see marine iguanas, adatped to their environment, native to and only found in the Galápagos! They dive into the water to eat food there and spew out salt through its nostrils.

Some interesting sand figurines on the beach!

 So out on the cruise around the islands there was a lot of stuff to see, so here goes!

Red sand etc. on most of the islands, because of the minerals.

On almost every island there were animals of different kinds, seals, crabs, birds, penguins etc :)
A birds nest in a cactus.

These islands where made from volcanic activity, hence why they look so alien, this is all made of lava.

Blue boobies, they are called this because of their feet!

Quite the exotic views!

Skeleton of a stranded whale.

The vegitation is slowly growing on the isles, also on the lava isles.

 Smile and wave boys, smile and wave!

Penguin hunting for food in the shallows!

So for the dive trip, it was 8 days, 6 days of diving, 4 dives a day, 2000dollars + 350dollars for equipment rental. On the boat we were only eight divers plus the dive guide, on a boat meant for 16, so I got a cabin for myself! One of the other passangers was in fact on of the top ten wild life photographers in the world, Tui De Roy. This is one fantastic and interesting lady! Lead expeditions to Antartica and leads tours in Galápagos, also, she has some Norwegian family! Below is one of the several thousand pictures she has taken!

Picture by Tui De Roy.

So, when we first got in the water she dropped her camera and didn't see so I picked it up and became a underwater paparazzi for a few minutes. A tad more expensive than my GoPro!

Some people make smoke rings, I make air rings!


  A close up!

 A stone fish, one of the most poisonous fish in the world, hurts like hell apparently if you touch them, potentially lethal...

 Me chilling at Darwin's arch!

 Into the deep blue :)

 A Lion King moment going on here :)

The wildlife photographer chilling out!

Me filming close by hammerheads sharks!

One of our guides was saying that she really wanted to see a sea horse, so I managed to find this shy guy on our last dive!

There's a lot of interesting animals down here, for instance a fish with legs walking/swimming around.

So, when filming a seal playing with us, this turtle came around not giving a fuck.

Upon our return to the surface we had a lot of silke sharks waiting for us, being all curious, so yeah, they swim quite close to us as can be seen in the video.

So, these seals came down to us at around 15 meters, playing with us doing all sorts of moves, check it out :)

So, a school of hammerhead sharks swimming by, they are quite shy!

Some of the dolphins that followed us while we were diving and riding boats.
Not my footage, one of the dive guides.

So these pictures are from Darwin

Blue boobies, being curious at what we're doing here :)

My first manta ray caught on camera and actually seen with my own eyes!

Back in town in the evening seals are everywhere by the marina, and at the fish marked the birds and seals are begging for scraps!

One of the last things I did here was go out so some tortoise sanctuaries, on the way we stopped and looked at some massive sink holes.

They might look small, but no. They are in fact quite huge!

My new home away from home!

These tunnels were made by surging lava, quite large!


So yeah, as you can see, this is quite the amazing space, especially if you're a diver, I would REALLY recommend anyone going here to have their scuba license, with the NITROX course as well, especially if you are going on a live aboard, for the day trips a PADI open water is ok. However for the live aboard I think they wanted a minimum of 25 dives. Anyhow, this place is fantastic.

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