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Galápagos–What They Never Tell You

April 11, 2019

Back from the Galápagos Islands, I’m still getting the “sea legs” feeling out of my brain. I’ll take just a moment to reveal things they never tell you in the nature books.

The animals of course are all protected, off limits. Many signs tell humans to keep six feet away from them. What does that look like?

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After three days of feeding us elegant ceviche (raw fish soup) we visited this outdoor market where the fishers were selling their catch of the day. With the help of a sea lion and three pelicans, one of them right on the counter with the cutting board. Most hygienic.

In actuality, there is a complex balance amongst the nature park, the long-time human inhabitants, and the tourists. Each constituency gets a portion of land and time available. 99% is off limits, protected park, but there is still plenty of access. And some of the animals don’t seem to mind.

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Every sea lion feels entitled to the nearest level ledge where it can haul off and rest, sometimes a mother nursing a pup. At the beaches, every bench is full of a sea lion. As a result, I avoided sitting on any outdoor bench everywhere (knowing what kind of poop had probably landed there).

Speaking of poop, that is an unexpected hazard of bird watching on the boat. We lay back for hours watching the frigate birds circle overhead, where they enjoyed the air bumped up by the moving boat. The two upper birds are male; you can see the red throat pouch if you look closely. I heard a scream, “Poop on my I-pad!”

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At night the boat attracted baby animals of all sorts–the light or the effluents, I’m not sure, but there they were, baby sharks, baby sea lions, and baby turtles. The baby sea turtles had probably hatched that very day, from the egg nests on the beach surrounded by protective signs.

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