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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : The very endemic Galapagos

Duration of the stopover : 7 days

Interview on the radio « Le Mouv » about the Galapagos, click here to listen (in french)

After 8 days of sailing, we step on land for the first time in this TransPacific. We stop first in the island of San Cristobal in the Archipelagos of the Galapagos. We are about at 1000 kilometers of the south american coast but we are geopoliticaly still in this continent. Indeed, the Galapagos Island belong to Ecuador since 1832.

Today, those islands are a National Park protected by the Unesco.

Indeed, the Galapagos islands are volcanic in origin. Those islands have an incredible and unique fauna and flora. You may have heard of the giant tortoise. This is surely on of the endemic species that is the most famous and this archipelagos, but you can of course find others that will make your stay unforgettable ! This inspired the famous « Theory of the Evolution » written by Charles Darwin, that went and studied the Galapagos Islands since 1835.

The giant turtle of the Galapagos, that can live up to 175 years old

Surrounded by a unique natural scenery
Since the moment we approach the land by the sea, the show is already starting. Indeed, dozens of giant Sea Turtles are swimming around our boat. They are absolutely huge, almost as big as the Giant Tortoises.

I havz the opportunity to snorkel with those ones. I feel a magical feeling when I realize that this prehistorical species doesn't mind me being there. I have indeed a huge surprise when I arrive face to face with one of them because I wouldn't have thought that those tortoises were coming so close to the coast.

The show goes on and we still haven't step on land. The Sea Lions have invaded the Bay of Puerto Baquerizo, where we are anchoring. Indeed, they are lying on the other boats, sunbathing. Some days later, some of them will even invite themselves on our sailing boat !

But still, we haven't seen anything. Yes, we are now on land. The Sea Lions are definitely taking care to welcome us. We thought we could be surprise to see them on the Bay, but we hadn't seen anything. They are everywhere, absolutely everywhere. On the streets, under the trees, on the beaches, on the benches, on the kid's playgrounds...

The Sea Lions on the waterfront in Puerto Baquerizo

On top of being easy to spot, you can also hear them. They are yelling all day and all night some sounds that look like huge Sea Lions burps. This is also what makes the place unique.

A Sea Lion on a public bench

Everywhere, noisy, but still I can stop myself to like them. I think this is a chance to be able to observe those animals as if they were feeling at home everywhere they go. I very much enjoyed this moment with the Sea Lions.

I can't stop myself to like them

Still on the Waterfront, but on the Island of Santa Cruz, the fish market attracts many birds and pelicans

Back on the Island of San Cristobal. I go on one of thos volcanic beaches. Indeed, the Galapagos are volcanic in origin. Those rocks along the ocean can tell us this fact.

The volcanic rocks on some beaches in San Cristobal

While walking in the middle of those rocks, I have the feeling that some things are moving. Some signals are telling me that the rocks are inhabited by Marine Iguanas. I look closer and I can spot this endemic species. Those Marine Iguanas look as prehistoricals as the tortoises. Some real little dragons !

The Marine Iguanas in the Galapagos

The vegetation is getting wider as we go towards the interior of the island. The top of San Cristobal is quite high, being after all a volcanic cone. Nevertheless, the vegetation is also quite wide on the rest of the island.

There is a wide variety in the flora in the Galapagos, here some cactus

Still, at every tree corners, you can expect to face a different kind of animal species, sometimes unique... Usually unique in fact !

This time, I am surprised by a canary...

And hundred of meters later, I find myself in front of another Giant Tortoise ! Those ones are absolutely superbs and seem to not be able to stop growing and getting older, as if they were.. timeless.

With the Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos

Timeless...

 

The local population in the middle of unique natural assets

Fortunately, the ecuadorian government is behaving responsibly. If you chose to take illegaly some species, vegetals or anything coming from those Islands, you expose yourself to at least huge fines. Every part of the Galapagos are situated on a National Park, which is helping to protect them.

The education of the population seems to work very well and allows them to participate in saving the heritage of those Islands.

From the simple act to throw its trashes into the bins to some more complicated methods to help to reproduct the endangered species, the Ecuadorian government is working a lot to keep their islands unique as long as possible.

Recycling is part of the daily task of the locals in the Galapagos

You have to pay a tax of 100 US Dollars when you enter the Galapagos. This allows to reduce and control the entrances on the Islands. Also, this helps to protect the Park.

We arrived by sailing boat and we had one agent that helped us for the paperwork. Carmela also introduced us brilliantly to her island. It is very easy to find yourself surrounded by great people and to feel safe in the Galapagos. The locals are hospitables, welcoming and ready to help you.

Having diner in the restaurant with Carmela and her children

Our stay is already ending in the Galapagos because it only was a stopover in our TransPacific on the way to New Zealand. However, the flora and the flauna were absolutely unbelievable. After the savanas in Kenya and Tanzania, I haven't been that amazed that much by watching the fauna until the Galapagos.

We are back on the ocean for our longest leg because our next destination will be the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, at more than 3000 nautical miles from here. We will be sailing in the same time as Laura Decker on her sailboat for this part of the journey (she will leave two days after us and arrive one day before!)

The sailing boat of Laura Decker (this young dutch girl of 14 years old touring the world solo) in the Galapagos


See you very soon in French Polynesia,

Jeremy



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