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Home Guides & Staff Staff Bios Mat Unger Galapagos by Land, Sea and Air

Galapagos by Land, Sea and Air

Here, my wife Julia and I pose atop a volcano in the Galápagos archipelago.  We hope you’ll enjoy our memories of this amazing spectacle of nature.  Back at ground level, the intimacy of the flora and fauna take hold.  Here a large Marine Iguana is basking in the sun as our group explores in the distance.What we found while exploring the islands was strikingly beautiful contrasts. While the volcanic rock provides a desolate Martian vista from afar, up close you’ll find colors never before seen on living creatures. There is something new to discover no matter which way you look. Here we find Sea Lions and ‘Shutterbugs’ peacefully coexisting on the island of Española.  In case you were curious as to what was being photographing one slide back. Here is the subject: a fearless Hood Mockingbird inspecting our water bottle.…and now one last photo with the Mockingbird, Sea Lion, and Homo Sapiens. Look at the water bottle and say “Perfect”.It turns out that Mockingbird was on the right track. You must find your way into the water to get the full Galápagos experience. On this day, the current had washed in a plethora of golf-ball-sized jellyfish and where the jellyfish go, the turtles and Manta Rays are sure to follow.  Considering the islands are directly on the equator, the water is a bit chilly. So much so, that the islands have their own Penguin colonies.  When snorkeling close to shore, these Penguins will come darting into the water as they look for their next meal. I would liken the experience to nothing else. Unless that is, you’ve have had someone throw bowling pins into the pool as you swim laps.   While we’re on the subject of small fearless birds, check out this Vampire Finch taking a bite out of my shoe. Good thing I left the sandals on the boat that day.Once back on the boat, our group was treated with some whale watching. Just another beautiful day on the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.Here’s Julia taking a moment to relax between shore landings on the observation deck of the Letty. During sunset, a Frigate bird catches a ride on the boat’s updraft as we journey on to the next landing.  Later we learned it’s best not to stand directly below these birds that fly just feet above the boat. That’s going to leave a stain.  Later I learned that Frigate birds have a reputation of causing trouble. Here you see an adult Blue-footed Booby feeding its young.  A few seconds later a Frigate bird swoops out of nowhere to make a play for the Blue-footed Booby’s lunch. Yum, looks like Calamari today!As spectacular as these nature encounters were, their true significance was only brought to light when coupled with the extraordinary guiding by Ruly and Roberto. My sincere thanks goes out to them for making the Galapagos a one-of-a-kind adventure.Thanks for stopping by to check out our slides. It was a marvelous trip and I would recommend it to anyone who has a passion for the natural world.Encore? I just couldn’t leave this Yellow Land Iguana out.And just what kind of Galapagos slideshow doesn’t have a photo of a Giant Tortoise? Although not shown here, it may interest you to know that after 25 years of trying, Lonesome George is finally mating.

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