What made my Galapagos trip great?

I received a parcel today. It was unexpected and it came from the US. What on earth could it be? And then I remembered, one of my fellow travellers from the Galapagos trip, David, had emailed me some time back for my address as he wanted to post something to me. That something was this parcel, a photobook of his best moments on the trip.

It brought the memories – for those experiences have now receded into faulty middle-aged memory – flooding back, and I felt ashamed to realise that I hadn’t even finished processing my Galapagos pictures. Or writing about my experiences. I am just starting to realise how hard this travelling-blog-writing-stock-processing-social-media-posting deal is. A relentless sea of different levels of work – paid and unpaid – for which I haven’t yet found a rhythm that works.

The other thing it brought up for me was a real need to celebrate the people on the Galapagos trip. I had left that post until last and then it got subsumed by other more immediate calls on my time (see above), but actually it’s really important to me. The landscapes, the boat travel, the wildlife, the history were all incredibly interesting and were the point of coming on the trip. But the human company is what made it truly enjoyable.

There is research out there that says that we all need to belong somewhere; it’s a universal human need to feel like we belong to a tribe of some sort. Some people find it through football, others through their political persuasion, religion, or their own local community. We were a pretty disparate bunch of people who would probably never touch each other’s lives in the ‘real world’ – from Axel, the young German journalist to Doug, the American ER doctor – but for those few days we co-existed and I was so thankful for that sense of being part of a group. I really enjoyed the company, at times quiet and reserved, at others sociable and relaxed, and occasionally, engaging on a deeper level.

So thank you to everyone on the trip, the crew and captain, Silvia our lovely and indomitable guide, and all of the group: Mark and Cynthia, Lynn and Woody, Gerry and Dominique, David, Debbie, Axel, Isaac and Doug. You were brilliant and I hope we meet again some day.

Walking into the ravines and caves at Asilo de la Paz, Floreana. 
Crew of the Mary Anne hauling up the sails with some help from Cynthia.
Kudos to Cynthia – the only one of us women to volunteer to help with hauling up the sails.


David relaxing in the stern off the Mary Rose.
David relaxing in the stern.
First sight of a Galapagos penguin, Sphensicus mendiculus, in Elizabeth Bay, Isabela island. 
Engines off amongst the red mangroves (Rhizpora mangle) in the peaceful saltwater lagoon at Elizabeth Bay, Isabela. Darwin and Isaac paddling.
On our way around the northern tip of Isabela to Santiago island.
Misty morning beach walk at Espumilla, Santiago. 
Walking on the beach and lava rock grottoes at Puerto Egas, Santiago.
Last (wo)man standing: coming off the beach and lava rock grottoes at Puerto Egas, Santiago on our last evening.
The hard-working crew of the Mary Anne, with Silvia our guide.
The sun goes down on the lava rock at Punta Espinosa, Fernandina island.