We’re delighted to present guest blogger Dirk Komarnitsky, a 13-year-old from Boulder, Colorado, who recently returned from a week in the Galapagos with his family. He was so excited about his adventures that he wanted to share them with Good Nature readers, especially those of you who might contemplate taking your kids to the “Enchanted Isles”! Dirk’s mom, Wendy Klausner, is an NHA Adventure Specialist.

Dirk in Galapagos

Wendy Klausner with sons Dirk (left) and Kyle Komarnitsky, and Expedition Leader Gustavo, with a sleepy new friend in the Galapagos. Photo credit: Alek Komarnitsky.

I just returned from the Galapagos Islands, and it was a blast. My family and I arrived a day early in order to go to the Otavalo Indian Market, where I bought handicrafts including a great necklace for my mom. The next day we took a Quito city tour where I saw a colonial church with walls covered in gold, so much gold that my jaw dropped open. The next day it was time to set off for the Galapagos! Once off the plane we boarded our boat, the Letty, our home for the next week. We set sail, not to see civilization for a whole five days!


Dirk and his brother, Kyle, ready to meet some sea life! Photo credit: Alek Komarnitsky

On our first day and our first landing, after time at the beach, we set off to snorkel. In minutes I saw my first stingray, along with bright neon-colored fish and parrot fish. As I was heading into shore, a pair of baby sea lions came by to play. They were very playful and energetic. Eventually we had to say goodbye, as it was time to re-board our boat. One thing I was pleasantly surprised by was how much fun the crew was.



Snorkeling with sea lions

Snorkeling with a sea lion. Photo credit: Alek Komarnitsky

Cruising aboard our vessel after dinner, we approached Kicker Rock, where we got our first glimpse of the legendary blue-footed boobies.

Red-footed booby

Red-footed booby. Photo credit: Alek Komarnitsky

We traveled overnight and woke up at Genovesa Island, one of the most remote and least-visited islands. I found it truly amazing that we could get so close to the animals, particularly nesting birds with chicks. This was our one time to see red-footed boobies just feet from the trail. When we got to the end, we discovered a vast lava field filled with more birds than I’ve ever seen, at least a million! Our guides did a great job explaining and answering questions. I was shocked at how much they knew.

Snorkeling at Tagus Cove on Isabela revealed elusive sea horses along with many playful penguins. Later, we sighted flightless cormorants. We were all excited to see white-tipped reef sharks, and were really lucky to see them twice. They were a little scary at first, but we got used to them pretty quickly. They proved not dangerous, which I previously believed all sharks to be.

At Bartolome Island we got up very early in the morning to hike to the top, but it was totally worth it. After a short climb, we got to see a spectacular sunrise from a beautiful spot. The nearby sandy beach was great. The kids on our boat made sand castles and watched as curious sea lions came by to check out what we were doing.


Guide Gustavo discusses a beached whale skeleton with the Komarnitsky family. Photo credit: Alek Komarnitsky

I really looked forward to camping on Santa Cruz. Not only were the giant tortoises amazing, but just outside the camp we explored lava tunnels.

I found out the next day on our tour of a coffee farm that raw coffee beans are really tasty. Later, at the Darwin Research Center we visited Lonesome George, the most famous tortoise in the world. The last day of the trip proved to be my favorite — we got to see the blue-footed boobies doing their courtship dance, which really cool. It was soon time to leave, which was very sad, but I’ll cherish forever the memories from such a great trip!

Thanks for sharing my memories with me,


Want to discover the amazing wonders of the Galapagos Islands with your kids or grandkids? Check out NHA’s boat-based Family Galapagos Adventure or Family Galapagos by Land trip.