First days are always exciting. Be it the first day of school or college, at a new job, visiting a new country, or moving to a new home; we’ve all had these sorts of exciting expectations. In the case of the Galapagos, every day feels like the first day. They are loaded with surprises, beautiful moments and joy. On our beloved Santa Cruz II, the first day aboard the boat is quite an experience. Not only are many of our guests new to Ecuador and the Galapagos, but some of them are even new to sailing on expedition vessels and experiencing wildlife that roams freely without a care in the world! And this first day aboard one of the archipelago’s most coveted cruises was no different.
After all our guests had checked in and shown to their cabins, we all headed down to the restaurant and had an amazing gourmet lunch before getting ready for our first outing. Little did they now that they were going to be greeted the only way Galapagos knows how to greet its guests: by displaying some of its most gorgeous BIG15 species the moment guests set foot outside their cabin. To be surrounded by life and beauty, that is a true Galapagos welcome!
Life at North Seymour
We started our outing very early in the afternoon, hopping off the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise and into our dinghy. Not 10 minutes had passed when, right before disembarking on North Seymour Island, we were met by something spectacular. As our dinghies approached the designated disembarking area, we realized the steps of the dock were occupied by a gorgeous yet lazy Galapagos sea lion. Because one of the main Galapagos rules is not to disturb wildlife in any way, we decided to find another spot to disembark.
In the Galapagos, human life constantly has to adapt to the natural world, so this wasn’t all that out-of-the-ordinary. While three groups were waiting behind us to come ashore, they had the most amazing view and were received by some of the Galapagos’ most iconic birds. Flying around, displaying their most wonderful colours and abilities, were some great and magnificent frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and gulls, to name a few. To have these amazing birds be the first thing you see on the islands is quite a sight, and guests are quickly mesmerized by how alive everything is around them.
The Galapagos Blessing
As we were regrouping to start the walk around the island, we were surrounded by a group of young frigates that were learning how to fly at a very low altitude. We literally felt we could just raise our hands and touch them mid-air, though of course we didn’t because it’s forbidden to touch the animals in the Galapagos! It was so exciting to watch them parade their elegant feathers and flashy gulls. One of the ladies from our group described the scene very accurately by saying: “It feels so unreal, being surrounded by this much wildlife and so close, too.”
And it truly did feel like a magical moment, being in such close proximity to so many different species at the same time. The interaction between us and them was so natural that, at one point, a frigate tried to steal a hat from one of our guests! And another guest got what we here in the islands call “the Galapagos Blessing” or being pooped on by a bird. Our guests hadn’t been in the Galapagos for more than fifteen minutes and they were already having the experience (and welcome) of a lifetime.
This, at the end of the day, is what we call: A TRUE Galapagos welcome!