We’ve never kept a ‘bucket’ list of places to visit before we die. But if we had, the Galapagos Islands would surely have been on it. Somehow, even living in mainland Ecuador for nine months back in 2010, Tom and I didn’t manage to visit these equatorial Pacific Islands. We’ve been attracted, meanwhile, by Darwin’s Origin of Species, by episodes of Planet Earth, and by countless magazine stories and photos documenting the precious endemic species of the Galapagos and the ongoing efforts to manage tourism.
It seems we waited for the right moment. Although we’re feeling the additional seven years’ wear and tear on our bodies, we met up with Galakiwi Tours this spring for an active 11-day tour that included land and water exploration and the Galapagos’ special stash of endemic species. We got to stretch our bodies and expand our minds, all at once, with the help of expert local guides. Listen to my interview with our Galapagos guide, Pablo Valladares, below.
This type of travel wasn’t so accessible to people like us a couple decades ago. Through the fortnight, we stayed on all four of the populated islands. During the days, we usually embarked on at least two excursions, biking, hiking, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), kayaking, and otherwise sticking our faces in all kinds of places, usually with camera in hand.
Our visit was with a select group of bloggers and videographers. Galakiwi Tours had a dual mission: to prepare a PR video for their own company, and to participate in an episode of “Facing Waves,” a television show out of Toronto, Canada. (We’d never heard of it either.) So Tom and I had agreed in advance to be filmed.
For the most part the activities while we visited were the same as any Galakiwi guests would experience, with the exception of having to back up and kayak/swim/SUP in the appropriate direction a second or third time for the cameras.
Our fellow bloggers were (not surprising) all younger than us, and all more GoPro, drone, and video oriented. We stuck with our still cameras mostly, and even so had magnificent failures. (We managed to drown two cameras while we were there.) I’m excited to share my video of swimming with sharks!
Another technical failure was all mine: not using the appropriate recording software to connect my plug-in microphone. But our friends at Travel Writers Radio worked with my poor quality recording anyway, and broadcast this segment featuring an interview with our Galapagos guide. Please allow this to be an introduction to our Galapagos stories; Pablo was an eloquent and inspiring guide.
Another Soundcloud episode will be coming up next week. Highlights of our Galapagos itinerary will follow in another post, or two or more. Thanks again to Galakiwi Tours!
And part two is here: