Tag Archives: Galapagos Islands tours

Galapagos Guided Tour – Gardner Bay, Hood Island

During our Galapagos cruise we are delightfully surprised by the turquoise water and the white coralline sand beach that reaches around the point a kilometer away. We see a herd of sea lions all lined up basking in the sun along the beach.

As we round the point to head into the bay a giant manta ray surfaces for just a moment, long enough for us to realize it must be at least four meters from “wing tip to wing tip”. Mantas and other rays do seem to fly through the water. We slow our engines and cruise along beside it amazed at how graceful this sea creature is. With a few flaps of its wings it shoots out in front of us and disappears into the depths.

We cruise in toward a couple of small islets (eroded spatter cones) in the middle of the bay and drop anchor. It’s lunch time! As we eat and enjoy our cold drinks we are able to take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful bay. We hear the bull sea lions barking to defend their territory from other males.

Spotted Eagle Rays, Hood Island, Galapagos

This must be the day of the rays! A group of Spotted Eagle Rays swims by along side the boat and we hover over the railing to get a good view.

After lunch we are into the panga and out to the beach. The sand is wonderfully soft and the water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Some of the waves are even good for body surfing. Some of us just want to sit and relax with the sea lions, while others start to amble down the beach towards the point exploring. We find remains of sea turtle eggshells and some recent tracks. As we follow the tracks back from the beach we find a discreet pile of sand that hides the nest. This is a very important nesting area for the Green Sea Turtle.

Hatchinhling Green Sea Turtles, Hood Island, Galapagos

The Green Sea Turtles may nest as many as four times in a season, and each time may lay up to 80 eggs. You would think that would be enough to keep the population going. Unfortunately, they are faced with many predators that take a great many of the eggs and young. Feral pigs can smell a freshly laid nest and dig up the eggs. Once hatched, the young turtles are faced with having to make it to the sea from the beach.

Frigate birds and other scavengers consume large numbers before they make it to the water. Once in the ocean they face sharks and other oceanic predators.

I once sliced open a tuna that contained the undigested shells of five baby turtles! If the young make it to adulthood they face predation by man, both at sea and on land. Being a sea turtle is a tough life!

We spend the afternoon lazing around with the sea lions (keeping an eye out for the bull), wandering along the beach, exploring, swimming, and snorkeling.

Sea Lions on the beach, Hood Island, Galapagos

It’s been another wonderful day as we watch the sun sinking down into the sea.

Early in the morning the engines start, we turn over and go back to sleep knowing we are on our way to the next island…

Read more from our Galapagos Guided Tour

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The Galapagos Islands: A Retreat for Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Blue-Footed BoobiesThe Galapagos Islands are among the most special places on earth for nature lovers and animal lovers. There is a calm and peacefulness about this place that even after several decades living here, I still can’t quite explain in words. I understand and appreciate the excitement of city life, with countless places to go and people to see at any moment. But I also understand and appreciate that isn’t the life for me, and that many people who live that life every day benefit greatly from breaking away from it for a bit.

Many people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting through our tours have shared that this unique destination has affected them in ways they didn’t even know to want for. They knew they wanted a vacation from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives, but didn’t fully grasp how much they needed to retreat until they arrived. One woman in particular explained it in a way that I loved, comparing her everyday life to a loud casino or club, and Galapagos to the sound, or lack thereof, that you hear when you leave. You sometimes don’t realize how loud and overwhelming your surroundings have become until you step outside them and breathe a sigh of relief. You can hear yourself think again; you can truly take in all your surroundings. Without a million conflicting sights and sounds competing for your attention, you can bask in the harmony and see how everything is connected.

This tourist also shared how she came about choosing The Galapagos Islands as her vacation destination. She knew she wanted to go somewhere relaxing and rejuvenating, but also wanted to learn about things, animals and people beyond those she typically encounters. She told me about the popularity of spa-like retreats amongst her friends – places where you spend quite a bit of money to eat cleansing foods and do yoga. She admitted this sounded interesting, but that she wanted to do something less formal, and more authentic. She wanted to go somewhere she would encounter a greater variety of people – women, men, and children whose lives were likely to be much different from her own. She loved her life for sure, but wanted to try something completely different for a week. She overheard someone mention The Galapagos Islands while eating lunch one day, and her decision was made. And like so many others who have visited this place we’re so fortunate to call home, by the time her stay was done she felt as though she had visited one thousand spa-like retreats!

If you need a break from your everyday life as well, we hope you’ll consider booking one of our Galapagos Islands tours or a Galapagos cruise. We’d love to do our part in ensuring you have an unforgettable experience!