The Galapagos Gallery uploaded.... finally
Well I've finally managed to sort through my images from last November's visit to the Galapagos Islands (see the Galleries menu).
We were fortunate enough to participate in an 8 day / 7 night cruise around the western islands of the Galapagos archipelago, visiting the large islands of Santa Cruz, Isabella, Fernandina, and Santiago plus the smaller islands of Rabida and North Seymour. The western islands are the youngest and are dramatic both topographically and geologically. They are also home to the Galapagos Penguin and Flightless Cormorant, not seen in the eastern isles of the archipeligo, due to the cool ocean currents that sweep their shores.
If truth be told, I never thought we'd get to the Galapagos, but with some internet research and a bit of nerve it's possible to pick up good last minute deals. We travelled on the San Jose Yacht, a small 'superior tourist class' vessel that carries upto 16 passengers. It was excellent with superb food and a very proficient crew.
We snorkelled a lot, which was a first for Christine and me, opening our eyes to the stunning underwater world. Swimming with Green Turtles was the highlight for me, I only wish I had the photography kit and the skills to photograph it.
The fauna of the islands is so familiar thanks the amazing documentaries of David Attenborough, but it's still a shock to land on a beach to find it is excactly as depicted on TV, which is not something that you can say about other wildlife experiences. The animals are so relaxed in the presence of humans it's a delight - the enchanted islands is the most apt description.
On a photography note, the Galapagos is a tough place to take pictures. Due to very strict restrictions surrounding visiting times and duration ashore you are often taking pictures in the most harsh light. While this might seem frustrating it is essential to protect the very thing you are there to see. Once ashore you are not free to wander about, again to protect fragile ecosystems and nesting sites. You are guided around established routes but there is still plenty of time to take photos. Of course there is never enough time and there are places where you would desperately like to stay longer, but hey, you're in the Galapagos so just be grateful.
I hope you enjoy the images.